Today many tearful mothers and stoic fathers will pack the car and for the first time haul yesterday’s babies off to an “institution of higher learning.”
Tonight the babies will sleep in a strange bed; tomorrow a stranger will make their breakfast. But no one will wake them up or do their laundry when the time comes. They will have unaccustomed responsibilities. No one will nag them to do anything; they will be expected to get to class on time and to the infirmary if they are sick.
A few lucky ones know exactly why they are there; they have known since they were children what they wanted to be when they grew up and now they are ready to learn how.
Others will figure it out in the next two years before it is time to declare a major.
But four years from now, some will be wondering “Now what?” And others will have made a false start only to discover that what they thought they wanted to be was in fact not what they wanted at all.
But for all of them, the four-year college will serve as a half way house on the road to independence. And that’s no small thing, although in most cases, it’s a pretty expensive way to learn to do the laundry.
The fact is that college today is too expensive—absurdly expensive. Young people (or their parents) should not be burdened with debt in order to prepare themselves for the adult world of work. Last year, 69% of graduating seniors took out loans, graduating with an average debt of $29,800. That’s just not right; it’s really wrong. It can’t go on—and so it won’t.
It will take a long time, of course. Cultural change happens slowly. Still there are already signs that the four year college as a necessary path to the adult world of work and social status is undergoing slow transformation.
But for now, for families who can swing it, it seems the obvious course of action.
So good luck to all those young people who are starting the four-year journey. May you choose wisely and make your parents proud.
Herb’s easel calls; he’ll be spending most of his time painting and also posting in a separate blog titled “Paintings and Poems.” The first post is up. Go here if you’d like read it.
As for me: this blog made its debut on May 3, 2012. One of our colleagues at the Merchant’s House Museum had died prematurely and I wanted to publicly acknowledge the contribution she had made to the Museum. It occurred to me that I could do that if I had a blog . . . .
Since then there have been 242 posts, about any number of topics, some of them contributed by Herb who joined me two years ago. They’re all still here—tucked away in the archives, retrievable by category in the right sidebar. Almost all of the posts have had to do with the way the past affects our present lives as well as what’s coming in the future. And that’s why the blog is called “Hints and Echoes.”
When you reach a certain age (and by 2012 I had certainly reached it) you begin to see the truth of Shakespeare’s observation “What’s past is prologue,” as you look back and see how the events of your own life fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s remarkable, really.
Tomorrow begins the new chapter of observations. I hope you’ll join me. Sign up above if you want to receive the posts in your email. And join the conversation. Just click “leave a comment,” and we’ll talk.
Somehow the digits discovered that I am an interloper from another age, trespassing on their territory where I have absolutely no business being.
This morning they took away my wi-fi network. What do you mean “You’re not connected to the internet”? Why not! And my in box! What happened to my in box?? How can I check my email without my in box? Maybe the exercise guy has a special offer on How to Strengthen My Core. What if Dr whatshisname is trying to alert me to the vegetable I must never eat!
With no internet and no in box, what’s a girl to do for distraction? Well, here’s what you do if you’re me. You CALL STEVEN!!
Some women think they are lucky because their daughter married a doctor, or an attorney. There’s probably some fortunate soul somewhere who has a geriatrician for a son-in-law. Well eat your heart out, ladies. My daughter had the intelligence to marry a friend of the digits! They’re very close.
Steven Alper is a fixer, so of course he fixed it. And here I am back, serving as your favorite distractor.
I have no doubt, however, that the digits will be back, exercising their intolerant authority over their domain. You know they have their sneaky ways of learning what you’re up to—algorithims and all that.
A middle-aged man strolling by, fringe surrounding his bald head and a little pot belly—shorts, flowered sports shirt—led by one of those darling fluffy lap dogs. Coming from the opposite direction another man exactly like the first: fringe surrounding his bald head, a little pot belly—shorts, flowered sports shirt—led by the same breed of little dog.
The men wave; they stop on my corner to chat, and the dogs go wild! They climb all over each other, exchange licks, run around in circles tangling the leashes. After a few minutes the men untangle the leashes with difficulty and move on. What’s the explanation? Twin men with dogs from the same litter? Very strange.
What in the hell are we teaching to our children? How is it that a young woman can reach the threshold of adulthood, be enrolled in an institution of higher learning and be so ignorant—so innocent—that she has no concept at all of our American heritage, of our judicial system, or for that matter of the ten commandments.
At first, because I am pro-life, my reaction was anger—at her. But when I saw her face, I realized that it is she who has suffered a great wrong and it is we who have failed her. How on earth did this happen? And what can we do about it? We had better figure this out, and quick, because she is our future.
She believes (she knows) she is right and that’s what matters to her. If you have the courage of your convictions, apparently, anything goes. Reason, argument, debate, abiding by the law—none of that matters.
The entire educational system needs to be revamped—from top to bottom. And maybe what we need is another Great Awakening!
You’ve got to hand it to this cop. He tried to explain. Treated her with respect. He probably feels the same way I do.