Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dropouts, Please Report to the Registrar's Office

Yahoo has an article up about how, in a recent poll, students overwhelming believe that high school doesn’t prepare them for College or “the real world.”  I read the article for the same reason I read anything on Yahoo – pure habit.  Anyway, I found a stat in the article that I found interesting:

The majority of high school students probably won't end up with a college degree, however. Among those a few years ahead of them — today's 25- to 34-year-olds — only about a third hold a bachelor's or higher degree, according to the Census Bureau. Less than 10 percent get an associate's degree.

Can this be right?  Only 1/3 of people 25 to 34 have college degrees.  WTF!  It got me to thinking: How many people go to school for a semester or two and don’t get a degree?  When did I get my lousy college degrees?  2007.  I was 24.  I was late to the whole college party because I was running around overseas fighting wars and what not.  Still, it only took me three years.  I don’t think college is hard.  I didn’t go to Harvard or anything, but still it’s not particularly hard to pass courses.  Hard to book them, yes, but pass?  Not at all!  One big problem that I remember causing people problems in undergrad was the amount of time they spent flip flopping over which degree to choose.  This is a point that the poll from the Yahoo article brings up.  I guess kids are upset that they don’t get good advice about career planning in high school.    Another related problem is that kids sit around, and make bad choices.  For example, I knew a kid who thought he needed to be a dual major Biology and Philosophy.  He planned on being a doctor, and he thought that the dual major would make him better doctor.  In actuality, he could have just been a philosophy major and took the necessary pre-med classes.  Instead, he packed on as many upper level philosophy classes as he could while attempting to take on the grueling requirements needed to earn a degree in biology/pre-med.  He did graduate after nearly seven years, but he didn’t go off to med school.  I actually don’t know what he is doing, but the last time I talked to him he was planning some type of start-up and he was assuring me that he, like Bill Gates, could make it out in Silicon Valley fucking around with computers.  Good Luck!

Another kid I used to hang out with in undergrad decided he not only wanted to grab up a BA in philosophy, but he also needed to compliment it with a degree in mathematics.  He was a decent enough philosophy student, but math was not his forte.  Unfortunately, you couldn’t tell him this.  He worked extremely hard.  But regrettably, he is still a student.  The better part of a decade working on a BA that would be shitty credentials anyway. 

This isn’t to say that earning dual majors is a hard task.  I have a dual major history/philosophy (both of mine our worthless).  Many of my friends have dual majors.  Philosophy/Poly Sci.  Art History/PHI.  And a few Math/PHI.  But what seems to be a mistake is to go after a degree that you obviously have no real ability in (not that you really need ability, on my view you can do most anything in college as long as you put the time in).  But if you take a semester in a subject and you aren’t doing well, drop the class my friend and find something else to do.  The only classes you have to take are the ones that are required by the college or university.  Change your major to one you don’t mind doing the work.  And the most important rule is hurry up and finish.

I do agree with the Yahoo article.  Plan and research your future.  If you care about money, or reasonably believe one day you will care about money, then make sure you are on a path to one day be able to make some money.  Also, maybe parents should get involved.  What happened to the days when parents would decide that their kid should be a doctor, and then pressured their ass to become a doctor.  I understand that sometimes this will backfire, but who gives a shit.  Better than standing by, idly, while your kid goes from engineer, to pre-med, to art history, to English, to Africana studies or women’s studies, then finally to drop out.  

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