Of college and graduations, Dan Rather says, “A college degree is the key to realizing the essence of the American Dream. It is well worth the financial sacrifice because it is supposed to open the door to a world of opportunity.” This is advice I wish I had taken heed to earlier than I did. For me, getting out of high school was so exasperating I jumped on the first bus to the military. It wasn’t until well into my twenties that I hit the preverbal glass ceiling without a degree. I learned quickly that life without a college degree was a cycle of hearing I had great skillset but not enough education for the promotion.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to see a stark contrast of my mentality. As I attending the high school commencement of my youngest daughter, I was filled with all types of emotions. At the top was extreme pride for her commitment and zeal to get into a good college. For her, college is an avenue to solidify a career, gain further independence and pursue her passions. For the past year our conversations have been a mix of cautious optimism and gentle warnings about the trappings of the “college life”. Right at the top was sharing how many freshmen around the world ruin themselves in a few months because they haven’t been properly trained for navigating the pitfalls of finances.
Here are a few things I shared with her that may benefit you or your budding newcomer to academia:
It seems I was just getting my daughter off to preschool and worried if she will make friends on the playground. Now I am dealing with the parental thoughts of her safety as she drives, navigates new places and deals with her professors. Times have surely changed. I have so many great expectations for her, and at the forefront of my list is for her to complete college successful; educationally and financially. I remember the dumb mistakes I made and I am wishing better for my freshman, and yours.
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