General thoughts about college education (and jobs)

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Mona Pereth
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06 Aug 2021, 8:32 pm

Elsewhere on WP, a couple of younger people alleged that most older folks (like me) think that going to college guarantees people a good job.

I don't know how many older folks actually believe this, but not all of us do. It's obviously not the case, to anyone who has been paying attention.

However, going to college does greatly improve one's chances. Also, it makes a big difference what one majors in. STEM majors, business-related majors, and psychology majors are much more in-demand than humanities majors.

College is, alas, expensive. One possible way to save money is to take at least a year or two off from school, after high school, to learn as much as you can on your own, using online resources, and then take a placement exam -- if the college you eventually want to attend allows that. These days there are a lot of excellent videos out there teaching college-level math and science. So you might be able to place out of all the intro courses and take only advanced courses and complete your degree that way -- thereby getting a 4-year degree but paying (hopefully with the help of a Pell grant) for only maybe 2 years' worth of classes.

I would NOT recommend going to college without a specific major and career goal in mind.

Anyhow, college isn't for everyone. Those who can't do academics should consider getting into skilled trades (e.g. plumber, electrician, auto mechanic).

Alas, in today's world, decent jobs aren't easy to find, even with a marketable skill. But, to have any chance at all of finding one, it is absolutely necessary to have a marketable skill.


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Texasmoneyman300
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06 Aug 2021, 10:49 pm

Well when i was coming up through the public school system in the 90's and 2000's the schools said if you study hard got good grades graduated from college you would get a good job and have a good life no matter the degree.My generation thought that justified all the student loans.Many of those college grads are now working at places like Starbucks Walmart and McDonalds for min wage.

I went to college and got degrees and now I consider it not worth it in my case.I would only recommend college for the the following generations if they wanted to do something that required it like doctor,teacher, or lawyer or engineer.I think trade schools are a great option for many. would also advise them to work while they are in college so they can get needed experience since no office job will hire a college grad with no experince.I wish i would of never gone to college personally.I would do a lot of research on degree majors and trends for jobs and careers.Junior college is a great choice.I would not go to college at all if you have to take out any student loans.I had a specific degree and job in mind but things didnt work out.So things can still go wrong even if you are doing some planning.



StrayCat81
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06 Aug 2021, 11:55 pm

Texasmoneyman300 wrote:
Many of those college grads are now working at places like Starbucks Walmart and McDonalds for min wage.

You've been duped by rich old geezers. On many fronts, not only education. Maybe time to do something about it, instead of letting them continuously walk over you? I mean, thinking outside of the box and all... :3



Texasmoneyman300
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07 Aug 2021, 12:05 am

StrayCat81 wrote:
Texasmoneyman300 wrote:
Many of those college grads are now working at places like Starbucks Walmart and McDonalds for min wage.

You've been duped by rich old geezers. On many fronts, not only education. Maybe time to do something about it, instead of letting them continuously walk over you? I mean, thinking outside of the box and all... :3

Well i am working on that but its gonna take time.



StrayCat81
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07 Aug 2021, 1:08 am

Texasmoneyman300 wrote:
Well i am working on that but its gonna take time.

Working on a guillotine? What model? Or do you have something else in mind? :3

Curious how people want to deal with those rich old geezers... I'm old myself so I lost all hope, but you are still young, you can fight! :3



Texasmoneyman300
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07 Aug 2021, 1:19 am

StrayCat81 wrote:
Texasmoneyman300 wrote:
Well i am working on that but its gonna take time.

Working on a guillotine? What model? Or do you have something else in mind? :3

Curious how people want to deal with those rich old geezers... I'm old myself so I lost all hope, but you are still young, you can fight! :3

Oh i was not thinking along those lines.I was just thinking about how i would at least give myself a modest living by being self-employed.



StrayCat81
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07 Aug 2021, 1:22 am

By beeing good slave then, working hard for the glory of rich old geezers? Yeah, that works too, I still sometimes do it. Although hoped that new generation will be more ambitious...



Texasmoneyman300
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07 Aug 2021, 1:33 am

StrayCat81 wrote:
By beeing good slave then, working hard for the glory of rich old geezers? Yeah, that works too, I still sometimes do it. Although hoped that new generation will be more ambitious...

I am planning on never getting a job StrayCat81.



Last edited by Texasmoneyman300 on 07 Aug 2021, 3:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

hurtloam
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07 Aug 2021, 2:41 am

Bit of a different perspective because am in the UK. When I was at high school I was suspicious of higher education. I thought it was a scam to get money out of me. I was poor so thought it would waste money when I could just get a job and make money instead.

Anyway, I couldn't find a job, so had to go to college.

Then I discovered that they didn't actually explain higher education to me very well at school and I got a grant for my course and a bursary. This was back in the 90s. You don't get that now. It didn't coat me anything.

College in the UK is for vocational skills like accounting, computer skills, programming, though you can do art type courses like Graphic design. If you reach a certain level you can go on and finish a degree through a university.

University is for degrees. STEM, Arts, literature, humanities.

I was being pushed into the arts in high school and didn't see how I could get a job doing that, so that's why I never bothered going to university, although I would have got in.

Those of us from poor families need money now. It's hard to see the value of getting into debt so that you maybe will get a good job. I found they "maybe" off-putting.


I did return to college in my mid 20s and learned computer skills. I'm a programmer now. That wasn't as much of an option when I left school in the 90s. Well, it maybe was, but again, the value wasn't explained to me. I had a PC in the house so I figured I could use a computer. When I saw those courses available I jumped at the chance because they framed it in terms of what you could accomplish like building websites. I don't think I knew what a website was when I left high school.

I do have a good job now because of that course. I also have a student loan too; by the time I went back bursaries were long gone. But in the UK your student loan comes out of your salary based on earnings and is cancelled when you turn 65. I am currently paying £10 a month. I was paying £50, but they recently changed the threshold.



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07 Aug 2021, 11:14 am

Lots of older people do seem to believe that education is all it takes to get a job, and some even that if you don't have a job, it only means you haven't tried hard enough. Not that I can entirely blame them; my aunt said that when she was my age (she's around 70 now, I'm in my mid twenties), people pretty much got dragged to jobs, education or not. She made an entire career in one of those places where she was pretty much begged to come to work to. So in a way, it's understandable that some people in her generation don't understand that getting a job isn't as easy these days.

When it comes to the importance of education, all I got from home was to study hard in whatever school I entered and, from mom, the advice to not educate myself in farming as it's a dying industry here. Not that I could've done that with my disabled body anyway, but still.

I'd actually like to go to college to study language and literature, I'd probably get in through entrance exams with some studying, but I have an apartment loan and a steady job now, so it feels like a huge risk that might not pay off. Or more like, it is a huge risk that might not pay off. I'd have to pay for the loan and living somehow while studying too, so I'd have to work while in school since taking more debt is so risky, but I haven't been able to get a full time job while just being unemployed, so getting any kind of job while studying would be hard for me... or maybe it'd be easier now that I have a work history of several years in one place? If I continued my studies, I'd probably have to drop my current job since the hours are anything but flexible...



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07 Aug 2021, 4:53 pm

There are those who should not go the college/university route based upon pure financial data or poor academic ability. My youngest nephew had severe difficulties with mathematics, so he trained to become a licensed plumber instead. He now makes as much (or more) as me without the massive student loans lurking over his head.

If you are going for 4 years of parties, it will likely not end well for you. I have seen it countless times in my students’ eyes and later their grades. However if you are serious at learning a needed area (STEM) and work hard, it can pay off over a lifetime. The choice is yours to make, but realize nothing is guaranteed.



QuantumChemist
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07 Aug 2021, 5:03 pm

hurtloam wrote:
I am currently paying £10 a month.


That is not too bad for a loan payment. My student loan payments are usually 100 times that amount per month. It is part of the price I pay for enjoying the career that I have.



crstlgls
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07 Aug 2021, 5:41 pm

I am not someone that attends crowded events, and I really push myself with the studying. I love doing math and the hard sciences and want an environmental career that I am capable of doing. I am definitely a hard worker, even if I do not have a lot of income to start with. I have so far earned a 3.63 GPA, earning honors at the community college. I am now at a State University, about to take my first semester of classes and getting advising on majors and careers. I want to say to the comment on skilled trades, some people with ASDs cannot drive a vehicle and these trades would require it so you can go to different job sites.



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07 Aug 2021, 7:51 pm

To illustrate how a person's history can affect their chances of employment and their salary, here is a very simple simulation I learned back in high school.  I have left out references to age, disability, height, gender, race, religion, and weight.

Remember: This Is Only A Simulation!

1. Roll 2 six-sided dice.

2. Modify the result according to the following table (the modifications are cumulative):

-2 for registration as a Sex Offender.
-2 for each involuntary termination of employment.
-2 for desertion from Military Service.
-1 for Less-Than Honorable Military Service.
-1 for failure to register for The Draft (except women).
-1 for each visible piercing or tattoo (except earrings on women).
-1 for visible pregnancy (except men).
-1 for each month of unemployment in the last 10 years.
-1 for each Felony Conviction.
-1 for each Bankruptcy.
-1 for being a single parent (except men).
+1 for Preschool.
+1 for grades K-12.
+1 for each Associate Degree.
+1 for each Bachelor's Degree.
+1 for each Master's Degree.
+1 for each Philosopher's Degree.
+1 for each STEM Degree.
+2 for each Patent in your name.
+2 for Honorable Military Service.
+2 for each Silver Star, Gold Star, or Medal of Honor.

3. If the result is 8 or greater, then congratulations!  You have a job!

4. Determine the second dice modifier from the first dice roll according to the following table:

2D:   DM:
 <1   -3
  1   -3
  2   -2
  3   -2
  4   -1
  5   -1
  6   0
  7   0
  8   0
  9   +1
10   +1
11   +2
12   +2
13   +3
14   +3
>14   +5

5. Roll the dice again.

6. Modify the second dice roll by the value found in Step 4.

7. Multiply the result by $10,000.

8, The final result is your yearly salary.

Example: My first dice roll was 7 (an average roll for an average Joe).  I added 2 for my degrees, and 2 more because they were both STEM degrees.  I added 2 for my time in the Navy, but this was reduced by 1 for a bankruptcy.  My final result was 12 -- Employment.  The second dice roll was 10, adjusted by +1 for 11 -- $110,000 per year.

We played with this a lot in class, using as examples the people we knew, successful or not.  When the first dice roll was assumed to be 7 in every case, the final results were spookily close to reality

I do not understand why people dismiss secondary degrees so blithely -- although I have noted that those who dismiss a secondary degree usually do not have one of their own (jealousy, perhaps?).  While having such a degree does not guaranty a job, the lack of a secondary degree makes having a job less likely, and certainly reduces one's chances of earning higher pay.  There are some rare exceptions, of course; but that is what they are, exceptions.



StrayCat81
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07 Aug 2021, 10:14 pm

Hmm, nowadays it's more important who you know, networking I think? People just employ friends and acquaintances.

I've heard a theory that you do not go to university to study, but to network with future employers... :3



hurtloam
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08 Aug 2021, 1:27 am

Yeah, I got my first decent job after college through someone I went to college with.