Sunday, November 4, 2012

Can You Get a Degree in the Art of Being a Hobo?

I attended "senior night" at my kids' high school last night. The evening was designed to give parents of seniors heart palpitations and cold sweats as the reality of college was drilled into our heads. The woman presenting the information must have said, "your kids will be graduating in only 26 short weeks" a dozen times.

 I realized just how far behind I am in the whole Get This Kid Off To College Process when she told us to turn in any acceptance letters our child had received. Acceptance letters?! You mean, we should have already applied? You mean, we should have visited colleges? You mean, we should at least know the name of a college or two, and maybe my son should have an inkling of what he’d like to study? As she spoke to the auditorium overflowing with parents eager to send their kids off to the world of higher education, I started breathing into a paper bag.

You see, we haven’t visited any colleges. We haven’t looked into funding, loans, scholarships, and financial aid. In fact, up until last night, Austin insisted he wanted to be a hobo! Honestly. Read this guest blog post from him and you’ll see what I mean. Really, you need to read it to fully understand. It’s worth it, I promise. My Son, the Hobo (otherwise entitled “I’m so Proud.”)

So you see, as creative as he is, he has no interest in school. Heck, I’ll be elated if he even makes it through the next 26 weeks in order to graduate.

When I got home from senior night I was shell-shocked. For one thing, I had no idea where to send my son to college. I mean, it’s not like they have an abundance of universities that teach professional whistling. I was also overwhelmed with the impossibility of paying for college for six kids. But mostly I was upset because as I looked around the auditorium, I felt very young (until I realized I’d be well into my 50s by the time Brooklyn graduates).

After senior night, I had a serious (well, as serious as you can get with Austin) talk about his future. He said he’d like to go to culinary school which is definitely a step up from being a hobo. In fact, I’ll happily volunteer to help him by sampling his homework. But having a kid getting ready for college sure makes me rethink those preschool days. I’ll take crayon-covered walls any day over this new brand of stress.

1 comment:

Feisty Irish Wench said...

I have a freshly graduated son who is a manager at McDonald's (at least as long as work drama doesn't change that fact) who took this semester off because management training classes would have interfered with college class schedules. He's planning on starting in January, and hoping our family situation lands him grants and scholarships.
I have a senior in high school this year. He is aiming at joining the Air Force.
I have 7 and 14 more years till the girls get to this point. Hopefully I'll have my shizit together by then, or their brothers can afford to pay the sisters' tuition for me. Maybe by then, *I* will have gone to college myself, and perhaps landed a job to afford me the opportunity to help the girls with their education.

It has been drilled into my head to never never never never never ever get student loans for college. I am so glad I didn't. I have a friend whose husband is leaving UMich with $100,000 in debt, 4 kids (triplets even!) and no job prospects at this moment. Their plan is to move to her grandparents' basement for a short time till he can find a job.

If Austin isn't interested in college, that's ok. Not everyone is wired for it. Not everyone SHOULD go right after high school. Life is a great educator too, and they often do better as an older student because they have focused priorities and take it seriously.

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