Is College for Us?

While we start to think about where we might be considering possibly sending Addy to Pre-K {can you tell I’m not ready?}, I actually find myself thinking about her going to college more. Way more. Like how much is college going to be in the future and are robot professors going to be nice.

In 2000, the average student loan debt was right around $17,000.

In 2014, the average student loan debt was $30,000.

I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath.

is college for us

When Tyrone and I discuss the possibilities of the future it ends up like the game of Life.  Yes, with the station wagons and blue or pink stick figures.  I went the job route in Life.  Tyrone went the college route. And the choices we made greatly affect our look on if we will actually expect/force our kid to choose the college route.

I took about 90 hours total between community college and classes at Texas Southern, but I always worked.  I had an in at a major oil company and worked around my school scheduled.  Then, I went to school around my work schedule.  Then, I would skip class to go to the bookstore {irony not lost on me}, and finally I decided I was just going to work.

Tyrone got into a school away from his home city.  He loaded up trash bags and packed them into a dorm and made life long friends and joined a fraternity.  He went to classes and did a work-study on campus and still insists on going to Homecoming festivities to this day.

We have these deep philosophical discussions based on how we spun the wheel and what that means for us today.  Could I make my salary if I didn’t have the experience and had the paper?  Would he have different expectations of a dream job if he hadn’t paid for the promise the degree gives?  How on earth will anyone afford college ten or twenty years from now?  But there’s no way to pluck my pink peg out of the white station wagon and start the game over.

Will I make my kid choose the college route?

In my industry, I see the amount of electricians and welders and other skilled workers steadily dwindling.  HVAC trained employees are in short supply.  Who will build homes?  Who will fix cars?

But I see people with lots of office experience who are great at what they do, continually held back because they don’t have the degree.

I don’t like the pressure it puts on kids.  I don’t like the idea of starting out in massive debt .  I love the idea of getting away from your home and finding out who you really are and what you really like.  I like the idea of accomplishment.  I don’t believe there is such a thing as “wasting” a degree.  I don’t believe everyone with a degree is inherently better than those without.

So my plan is to teach Addy that maybe it’s not about making the right decision, but being happy with the decisions that you made.  Learn your options.  Learn that the options change.  Learn that what you plan to do and what you end up doing might not always line up.

And to save. OMG do we need to save.

Did you graduate from college?  Are you expecting your kid{s} to go?  What terrifies you about it?


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4 Responses to Is College for Us?

  1. Avatar
    Angelique August 24, 2015 at 8:33 pm #

    You sum it up perfectly! Even though I have the degree, I feel like it was more worthwhile for the getting away from home, figuring things out, etc, than the actual piece of paper. I’m all for our kids figuring out what is best for them. And OMG the $$$$

  2. Avatar
    Ed Sinclair August 24, 2015 at 9:18 pm #

    Brilliant post.

  3. Avatar
    Melissa August 25, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    Bre. This is just brilliant.

    I am not for or against college. I am for the best plan of action for my (individual) girls!
    So good.

  4. Avatar
    Kristin July 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    My husband is convinced college won’t be the same in 15 years. If everyone has a degree, it no longer sets the individual apart or gives them an edge. Plus, the $$! Our generation won’t have the financial stability to help our kids through an expensive college system since we entered adulthood with so much debt. Sure it was fun to go off and have “the college experience” but those years are not worth the $700+ we pay each month for me and my husbands loans 6 years later. Something has to change.

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