May 2011

There’s a scene in “Good Will Hunting” when Will (Matt Damon) says to an arrogant Harvard student at a bar that one day he’s going to realize when he’s older that he will have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on his degree, which he could have earned for a “dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library.”

To a large extent, Will was right. Of course, you don’t want to be sitting in your doctor’s office, look up at the wall and see a framed copy of his library card as his credentials, but most occupations, including mine, can be learned by study and hard work, particularly in the Internet age where it’s so much easier to get information than it used to be — and you don’t need to know the Dewey Decimal System, anymore?

Colleges and people who espouse the virtues of an outrageously overpriced higher education system cite studies that reveal those who graduated college make “X” amount of dollars more throughout their career than do people who did not. That’s simply not true; I’ve known many people who did not go to college and have done well for themselves. I think many of the people who advocate college (including those who sponsored the study) just want people to incur the same ridiculous amount of debt they did. It’s kind of like a silly club — “I joined so everybody should.” Bottom line is if you’re smart, hard-working and love what you do, you can still achieve just about anything you want to achieve. Examples? How many people have you known who went to college but didn’t do anything with their degree? Conversely, take a look at Bill Gates and many others who didn’t graduate college and did extraordinarily well for themselves.

I’ll confess that as one of my daughters is creeping closer and closer to college decision time, I’m starting to get nervous about how to pay for it, just as so many of you have had to do. And, again, unless she wants to go to med school, I just don’t see the value in it. I feel I’m sending her to college because everybody else is doing it and I fear she’ll be left behind, which, in this society, it would be viewed that way. So I have to do it, which will keep college prices high — with apparently no end in sight for the escalating cost.

No lesson here; just a nervous father’s rant. I needed to vent a little.

P


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