Sunday, November 21, 2010
Nana Faces Reality
I got into one of those stupid war of words with a youngster on a blogger forum. She was complaining about not getting a check for her junior college financial aid and having to fill out a form to receive it on a debit card, and after clicking a button to "complete later" the money still wasn't there and it's just so unfair! I told her to get a grip and jump through the hoops to get her free government money. Okay, I also said that anyone who couldn't figure out how to fill out the forms might not be college material.
There was a time that college kids were grateful for scholarships and financial aid but now they treat it as an entitlement. She wrote back that I was OLD and college has changed and adults just don't understand how hard it is now. Like I said, it was a stupid little exchange. But, it did make me stop and question...Am I that OLD?
I don't feel old. The reality is that I have an AARP card in my wallet and I qualify for the senior discount at many stores. I have grandchildren and I collect a pension, but not social security. I'm still learning new things every day.
It has been less than 10 years since I last took a graduate level college course. Have things changed that much? I think that you get out of college what you put into it. So much of the value of a college education depends on how much the participant invests in the experience. I've known some uneducated people who went to college...and four years later they were just as dense as when they started. On the other hand, college can be a life altering experience if the student is open to new ideas and experiences. I've also know some highly intelligent and wise people who had little formal schooling.
A college education is not just about what is presented in a classroom. It is the exchange of ideas with other students from diverse backgrounds. It is living on your own and accepting responsibility for your own learning. For many students, college is adulthood with training wheels. And one of the things you learn how to do is jump through the hoops to get what you want.
So, yes, I guess I am old and I have a wealth of experience that isn't much valued these days. But, I do have a graduate degree and my student loans were paid off long ago...and I'm smart enough not to get into anymore of these online pissing matches with kids. I didn't learn that in college. I try to learn from my mistakes.