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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, June 27 2001

Higher education, 2

Presumably, my motivation in discussing and touting higher education here is to encourage any younger people who may encounter this to pursue any opportunities available. I mentioned a couple of months ago, in our series on the teachers in our lives, that I thought while in high school that college would be easier. And despite the nearly violent reaction of my homeroom teacher to that assertion, it did work out that way for me. In fact, every time I'm confronted with "lower education," I'm reimpressed by how difficult a row it is for youngsters to hoe.

I believe the difficulty arises from the fact that there are few choices in how it's undertaken and endured. There's no choice in what school to attend (for the great majority), there's no choice about particulars like homeroom assignments, and few choices about the curriculum, especially if the student has chosen a particular path in life ("academic" or "vocational," for example). There's no choice of teachers; you can't choose to wait out the course this year and take it next year. You can't be a fulltime student one year and part-time the next.

Every one of these factors is different in higher education, especially if the student is willing to put some effort into creative approaches (I think my own now-adult children probably felt they had little or no choice about what college to attend, because they could "afford" only the nearby community college. But I couldn't afford any of the colleges and universities I attended. Yet getting into them and doing well there was one of the most educational experiences in my life.)

This is not to say that college is a "piece of cake," as some of the exams will be described; there can be gruelling courses and maddening instructors there, too, and impossible schedules. And as in most life choices, once a choice is made it's closed at least for a while. Colleges can be switched, but once classes are initiated, for the most part they have to be completed. (I did resign one course, before the "drop" option expired, in my whole higher education experience, a computer programming course in the English department at UCLA, in which I was totally "lost" from the introductory lecture onward. It turned out a good choice, because the course I then enrolled in instead was one of the most profitable ones in my whole college experience.)

Probably some prefer to have their lives planned and run by others. Some volunteer for military service thinking their hitch will be a few more years of coasting by. Those people may prefer high school to college. I wouldn't know; can hardly even imagine it.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

26 signs you're now an adult (collect 'em all!)

p. You no longer take naps from noon to 6 p.m.

q. Dinner and a movie - The whole date instead of the beginning of one.

r. MTV News is no longer your primary source for information.

s. You go to the drugstore for Ibuprofen and antacids, not condoms and pregnancy test kits.

t. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "pretty good stuff."

Sent by Zan

Five more to grow on

"I've learned most of the things I know how to do well by screwing them up the first time." Dr. Thomas Sowell

"The terms 'man' and 'woman' describe a person's gender. But 'lady' and 'gentleman' describe a person's character." Phil Steffen

"There is much to be said in favor of modern journalism. By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, it keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community." Oscar Wilde

"Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you recognize a mistake when you make it again." F.P. Jones

"One can live in the shadow of an idea without grasping it." Elizabeth Bowen


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