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.


  1. Nana,

    From the way you put this it would put me in the middle between you and this young woman (who would be but a few yours older than my Oldest).

    First, Old is in the eye or the body of the person. You are old only if you let yourself be (my take on that matter). So I personally intend to never grow Old.

    Second, I went back to school a few years back and, Honestly, the kids today entering college *shaking head* are not what college material was 20 years ago or more.
    When I first started attending courses again it was 15 years out of High School, I had only been married to J a few years, one baby and another on the way, working nights and attending school during the day and weekends. 15 years out of school and I remembered more of what I had been taught than these kids fresh out of High School. Got my Associates and then went to UTEP and started taking classes there for my Physics, Math, and Secondary Education. Same schedule working nights and taking classes during the day. UTEP was even worse. Everything was "Group" and all got a "Collective" Grade. They got their grades off of MY Work. Complained to the Dept. Heads and the Dean and the President of the University -- Guess what I was told? I had no idea what life was like, that things were no longer competitive but Cooperative. That is when I stopped working on my degrees. Our Society is Coddling these kids to believe that all should be handed to them with little to No work on their own.

    Sorry - Sore Subject. Sorry to rant on you blog.


  2. You've told me more than once that I can say what's on my mind. It was on your mind that the girl needed to get a grip and jump through the hoops for her money. I would have thought exactly the same thing. I hope I would also have said it.

    The not knowing how to fill out forms does sound, well, not very tactful. Even though it's very, very true.

    I suspect she said you were old because she was feeling defensive and wanted to put the onus of responsibility on someone other than her.

    Or maybe we're just old!

  3. A great topic. Having spent the last six year in higher ed, I could tell you horror stories that would support your thesis that many who attend do not seem to be great college material. I think the scary part is that they are taking our loans to finance their delusions.

  4. You're probably the only one to tell her the truth. We tend to encourage and protect our youth way too much.

  5. Well, someone has to fight with young fools, in the name of common sense. Better you than me.

  6. I am bonafide OLD (68 next week) and I too wonder about the current system. I saw the documentary "Waiting for Superman" about our school system and know we are in trouble. You are obviously still learning and won't let some kid get your goat next time! Kudos to you for saying it out loud on the forum.

  7. It's good that you tried to open her eyes and stop her temper tantrum. Hopefully, she'll think before she speaks next time. It is scary that she felt so entitled to that money.

  8. Eh, age is just a number. Old or young a sense of entitlement is something that's running rampant in this world nowadays. Nowhere is this more evident than malls, parking garages and general admission concert halls (in my personal opinion anyway). Its sad but just knowing there are people out there like you who know that having that attitude is wrong make me more encouraged for humanity as a whole :-)

  9. You always make me laugh and make me thing about what it's like to be at this stage of life. So glad we're on this road together.

  10. I know young 60 year olds and old 18 year olds, numbers are not the main thing. Some people on forums annoy me so much, I keep arguing about things I don't even care about just because they are so stupid.

    I will have paid my student loan off by March, most exciting.


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