Time to get a haircut — and a real job

If you haven’t heard, our fearless leaders in Sacramento have finally struck a deal on the state budget. Approximately $3 billion will be cut from the California State University and University of California system. It may sound harsh, but I’m OK with that.
I cringe to think it, but college is becoming irrelevant. For many students, it’s more about navigating the system and attending wild parties than it is about bookwork. I’ve known a number of upper-classmen who had no idea what they were doing in school besides fulfilling their parents’ wishes. I’d be a rich man if I were paid a dime each time a state-funded college student told me, “I don’t know man, I’m just taking a few classes, just experimenting for now.” This isn’t a realistic approach. Attending college isn’t necessarily a right, though most students seem to think so. 
State tax dollars should be spent elsewhere, on well-managed and properly governed programs (if they exist).  Now is not the time to experiment with a few classes. These are the students who should be productive in the workforce.
Because it’s a fact: very few kids out of high school are entering trade fields. In effect, the market is entirely too flooded with degrees, some more useless than others. What becomes of the trades if every last high school kid enters the collegiate system? Last I checked we still need plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, and the like.
More and more, it seems as if we live in a welfare state. Can’t afford college? Let the state pay. Can’t afford health care? Let the state pay. Can’t afford to feed your kids? You get where I’m going. Newsflash, people: California is in massive debt. Having the state fund your college education is like pleading with a broke uncle to pay for your car insurance. What happened to working hard for something?
Let’s make one thing clear: college is a great means to find oneself, explore various options, study intriguing coursework, develop personal integrity, enhance a social life, and hopefully contribute to society upon graduation. This was the original, true intent of a higher education.
However, a staggering number of college grads do not enter their chosen fields, simply because (1) the market is flooded and (2) they lack the long-term stamina required to obtain a job related to their degree. The state essentially paid $20,000 for a student to wait tables. 
And what’s with this strange sense of entitlement a college graduate possesses? These kids are living a twisted fantasy, believing a piece of paper buys you a good job and a nice house. What college grads conveniently forget is that thousands of more qualified employees are without jobs. 
Yes, I’m a complete hypocrite. I successfully earned a college degree, paid for by student grants and loans. But what I regret was my complete lack of direction. In retrospect, I could be free of several thousand dollars of student loan debt if I hadn’t screwed around with a few classes. My college career wasn’t mapped out effectively or entrusted to just one mentor. Like many students, I was all over the place and indecisive, and the university didn’t seem to mind as long as my grades were up. Sounds like a waste of time and money, personally. Fortunately, I found a job related to my degree.  
If we are to find our way out of this statewide financial mess, we must begin with government handouts.


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