May 04, 2007

Clutch it

A college diploma is the tangible evidence of having been adjudged to have received an education. An education, a college education, is what all parents in the United States want for their children. I say "all parents" but it probably isn't all, just the majority. You probably heard it all the time from your parents so much -- "if you don't buckle down, you'll never get into college and then see what your life will become!" -- that it became a joke to you -- "if you can't shotgun that beer, dude, you'll never succeed in college".

So, college, the ultimate American escape (from high school, from parents, from the life you led prior to college, etc.), looms large in your mind. It shimmers on the horizon like a vision of, what, fear (thanks to your parents), escape, and, for the lucky few, the chance to expand their minds. But, I wonder, do you ever really get away from the fear?

Every so often, when you see a homeless person, do you clutch your education to your chest and rub it like a talisman, saying to yourself, I have my education, I will never be like that?

Posted by Random Penseur at May 4, 2007 01:34 PM | TrackBack

But, I wonder, do you ever really get away from the fear?"

Fear of not succeeding? Don't know.

What is success? I went to college, but didn't finish. I chose a different path. I am certainly happy, we do okay, but I'm not wildly successful. Does that bring success, or just more bills and headaches?

ARRGH! Now my head hurts, RP!


Posted by: Mark at May 4, 2007 10:57 PM

Well said.
We're all doing many of the things we do to get away from the fear.

I left school early. Never been inside a college. But I make very good money as a self-taught webtrepreneur. Of course your mileage may vary.

Posted by: Eolake at May 7, 2007 11:02 AM

Usually I think that I'm glad to have all of my marbles.

Posted by: magpie at May 7, 2007 11:41 AM

Urgh. We spend sooo much time in the classroom, drilling the message "you have to go to college ... you have to go to college..." into the heads of kids who, in reality, have all the chance of succeeding in college that I have in the NBA.

I'm five feet tall.

Yes, sometimes I think my education 'protects' me from the vagaries of real life ... but there are no guarantees.

Posted by: Caroline at May 7, 2007 01:20 PM

Wow... you have a pretty low expectation of kids abilities, Caroline.

Of course College doesn't ensure anything, it doesn't say you will flourish, it doesn't say you will get a career in your chosen field. College/University sometimes only opens up your mind to see that there are other things in life than your little circle of influence. That there are other perspectives, things to question, and that questioning is good. I grew up in a world where it wasn't good to question things, or you were seen as a troublemaker/unbeliever. I was being prepared for the world of the clones and the unthinkers.

On a different note I remember my last month or so of University, and thinking to myself 'What if they find out I'm really a sham? What if I didn't learn anything in actuality and this has all been for none?', "What the hell am I going to be doing next year?"

Absolutely no guarantees.

Posted by: Oorgo at May 7, 2007 02:16 PM

Yeah, particularly when I was regularly asking people, "Would you like to try a flavor shot in your latte? It's only a quarter extra."


Posted by: Kathy at May 7, 2007 02:24 PM

Y'know, I've hit the "comment" button a time or ten as I try to formulate an adequate response.

Were it not for family grace and federal student aid (loans), my children and I would be homeless. The alternative was quite intolerable.

Although I am a highly skilled worker and already have an AA, I fall into the category of "the underemployed". I've gone back to school to get my BA, and to refocus my skills in a different direction.

But no, to answer your OP - education is no talisman against homelessness. A great deal of it is how you handle what's been done TO you.

Posted by: Emily at May 8, 2007 12:45 PM

My education has been a quest. I've worked for it for a long time and beyond odds since I come from two parents who don't have a high-school education, let alone a college education. Still, I think nothing of that when I see a homeless person. What I see is lack of resilience. Innately, education has little to do with that.

Posted by: Linda at May 9, 2007 09:20 PM
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