Taken to school

Occasionally when people knowingly blow a bunch of money, they can get away with it by calling it a long-term “investment.” When they knowingly do something stupid for an extended period of time – they were only “experimenting.”

When parents send their kids to college, they should sign the tuition check knowing that – even if the kid gets a 3.5 GPA all four years – a higher education can be a BIG investment, and an even BIGGER experiment.

My advice to the youngsters who are aspiring to go to college: you should know why you want a degree before you get it. And don’t say because “I need one to get ahead in today’s world.” That’s like simply stating, “I need a motorcycle to ride with the Hell’s Angels.” Because not just any old bike will do, Johnny – I know for a fact there weren’t any Hondas parked at Altamont. Meaning that like motorcycles, not all degrees will get you where you need to be – even if they look like they can. They’ve got to have character, and that extra punch. Without that a degree isn’t worth a damn. It’s more like a mo-ped.

Take my Vespa for instance; Ithaca College, Bachelor of the Arts, History, Cum Laude, received May 2004. Doesn’t exactly jump off the page, does it? Employers didn’t think so either. Fresh off of graduation, apparently the top job opportunities for a history major include Health and Beauty department team leader at Target, assistant parts manager for a fuel company, and seasonal package handler for UPS. I might have been better off majoring in Jeopardy – which, ironically, was the reason I chose the major in the first place. Professor Trebek, how you mock me!

However, understanding and grateful that I’m a product of sacrifice, hard work and trust – the three rocks my parents lived on so I could get a higher education – I eventually learned that a degree doesn’t achieve real success; real success takes guts.

These days it takes guts to say that college isn’t for everybody – because everybody is expected to go!

You need a degree (s) to practice medicine and the law, to teach, to be an engineer, a therapist, or an architect. If you’re hoping for a career in a specialized field than obviously college is right up your alley.

You do not need a four-year degree to learn a trade or to start a business. You don’t need a professor to tell you how to begin at the bottom of a company and work your way up. You don’t need a college to certify you as a writer or an artist – you either are or you aren’t! You don’t need to take out student loans to become an expert on something – all you need is to buy Matthew Lesko’s book, “Free Money for Everybody.”

Just kidding.

You can go far with loyalty and dedication – farther than you can with a four-year degree.

You most certainly don’t need to waste over $30K a year to funnel beer, do drugs, have one-night stands, lose your self respect, and experiment with stupidity on a daily basis. That can be done anywhere, with no investment required.

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