All Articles Tagged "college"
In light of the happenings at Mizzou and other college campuses around the U.S., it was ignorantly implied over the last few weeks that the solution would be for the students to “just come on back home.” Or in other words, just attend a Historically Black Campus and University (HBCU). But that suggestion does nothing more than sweep the issues of racism and a lack of campus diversity under the rug, only for things to bubble up and have to be dealt with down the road.
I didn’t attend an HBCU. In fact, I attended a state university, a predominantly White school. I grew up in Trenton, New Jersey where about 50 percent of the population is Black. For all I, and other residents knew, it was just a Black city. Not Haitian, Jamaican or filled with proud cultures–just Black. And the other 50 percent of the city is Hispanic. Not Puerto Rican, Dominican–just Hispanic. You get it.
In Trenton, there is only ONE high school. It’s the same high school my mom went to, as well as my aunts and my uncles. The population of Blacks and Hispanics were about the same in the high school as they were in the city. An even divide of families living well below the poverty line and some fortunate enough to just make it over. This was my whole life.
Growing up in Trenton with little Black kids in elementary school to pre-pubescent Black kids in middle school and adolescent Black kids in high school, to me and my friends, I was just Black, and everyone was just Black or Hispanic. We had adopted the notion that if we saw White people in this urban city, it was for three reasons: either they worked here, they were poor like everyone else, or they sold drugs in the area but didn’t live in it. Trenton just wasn’t that diverse.
So naturally, by the time I made it to my senior year in high school, all of my teachers and some guidance counselors who were Black (and Greeks) tried to persuade me to go to a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). So I applied. I filled out an application for Howard University, Shaw University, and Elizabeth City State University, but none of them were where I really wanted to go because, honestly, with my mindset at that time, I was tired of being surrounded by Black people all day every day. My rationale was that I wanted more diversity in my life. I wanted to experience other cultures and travel abroad like in the stories I’d heard. You know, the stories where high school alumni come back and speak to the graduating seniors and share tales of how they spent their spring break overseas in some place like India or China with a roommate’s family? I decided I wasn’t going to go to an HBCU. My parents didn’t really care since neither of them went to college. And at the end of the day, they just wanted me to go to college, didn’t matter which one as long as we could afford it.
And despite the fact that so many people were advocating for me to attend an HBCU, I found it ironic that I got the most money in financial aid and scholarships from PWIs.
So in August of 2007, I packed my bags and traveled about 60 miles to Rutgers University in Newark. And despite the sea of White faces, it was there where I developed Black pride. I didn’t realize how much western whitewashing had brainwashed me from grades K-12, so I went into this PWI with my white-washed glasses on. I felt bamboozled when I really started to learn the history of my people and the history of others. It was at Rutgers that I learned how to appreciate the different threads of blackness, the different threads of being Hispanic, the different threads of being Asian. I learned that people were more than just what I called them back in Trenton: Black or Hispanic or Asian. There were some serious levels to this sh-t.
There was a Haitian Student Association, a West Indian Student Association, a Black Student Organization, an Organization of African Students, a Filipino Student Association and a South Asian Student Group. The list went on! All organizations meant to teach, embrace culture, and provide a place of comfort amongst people who look the same. I was so in love with it all and I wanted to be a part of it so bad. I wanted to learn more about being Black and all its intricacies. I wanted to learn about everybody. There was a sense of pride and unity that developed amongst the students of the African diaspora and I was a part of creating and nurturing that culture on my campus. I loved attending Rutgers, and I learned so much about myself and others culturally. I don’t believe I would have had such an experience at an HBCU. But that’s just my perspective.
People ask why I chose Rutgers over Shaw or Howard and I think of an interview with James Baldwin in a 1977 issue of the New York Times where he states, “A lot of young American’s white or black, rich or poor, have wanted to get away, as a means of getting closer to themselves.” Ain’t that the truth?
He discussed how he had to leave his people and travel thousands of miles away with nothing but $40 in order to better assess what was happening and why, to better understand. And that’s why I believe that I attended a PWI, and I don’t regret it. Because I couldn’t have felt more pride watching Blacks and all of the diaspora coming together as a unified body on campus in times of crisis, leading a revolution in a place that wasn’t built to understand us. And yet, we MADE them understand us. We made our presence known. We made an impact.
If someone says or does something you don’t agree with, what is your reaction? Do you shrug your shoulders in a let’s-agree-to-disagree kind of way, or do you write them off — never to give them another chance?
When it comes to colleges, President Obama believes the more differing viewpoints, the greater the opportunity for discussion. In fact, he thinks those campuses turn away speakers because students don’t agree with their views are, in many ways, doing a disservice to themselves.
Much of his sentiments about the matter are in an article on the Vanity Fair website that reveals POTUS isn’t always down with being politically correct.
I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative. Or they don’t want to read a book if it has language that is offensive to African Americans, or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women.
I don’t agree that you, when you become students at colleges, have to be coddled and protected from different points of views.
Should college campuses stop being so PC and turn away individuals — and anything else for that matter — that don’t align with their values, or beliefs? Is there no room at the table for those to serve up an opposing viewpoint? Ideally, the answer seems simple: Allow for others to express their opinions — and if you don’t like it, don’t attend the next event. At least if you hear or read something you don’t agree with, you can use it to fuel your argument.
Then again what can be said about certain individuals who some believe have crossed the line?
Is it reasonable to say individuals like Donald Trump who referred to Mexicans as thugs and rapists — not to mention, continues to disrespect women time and time again — get banned from a campuses who don’t need to hear anything else about what he stands on certain issues? Or should he still receive an invitation in the mail just because he has a “conservative viewpoint” (I use that term lightly as not all conservatives agree with Trump) that needs to be studied more in depth? Or what about a figure like Bill Cosby who has yet to be found guilty of the crimes he’s been accused of, but admits to more than questionable behavior? Are students “coddled” for not wanting him at their school?
Even though President Obama was talking about political views, you have to wonder if the sentiments of banning a speaker for the sake of political correctness translate elsewhere. Given most public speakers require a fee, or some sort of financial incentive, should an institution’s money fund that individual’s agenda, or invite them with open arms for students to come to their own conclusions?
Where do you stand?
In addition to having an opinion on whether or not black lives matter, it seems there’s also some discussion about historically black colleges and universities — and whether or not they’re still relevant, or will survive for that matter. As you might expect, those outside “the community” have quite a bit to stay, but what’s interesting is this Newsweek article that heavily critiques another article and book that take jabs at the importance of HBCUs. What’s even more astonishing is both articles hail from Newsweek. Talk about keeping it real in the workplace.
Three authors have no problem going toe-to-toe with a fellow colleague who constantly tries to make the assumption that HBCUs will be a thing of the past, and has come to a crossroads where a lack of funding will make them extinct. Fighting point by point, Felecia, Andrés and Marybeth debunk common generalizations about black institutions that will hopefully encourage more to purse their higher education at one of these historic establishments.
Simply put, HBCUs have proven to be resilient and continue to stand the test of time. Whether dealing with limited funding and resources, or working to serve those who don’t come from pedigree, there are plenty of reasons why a historically black college or university might appear to be on the outs — but that doesn’t automatically make it doomed to fail.
One of the biggest areas this article highlights is something opposing authors failed to realize: Prejudice and racism can affect perception. It’s clear as day that Alexander Nazaryan (author of the Newsweek article in question) feels HBCUs miss the mark when stacked up against PWIs (predominately white institutions), but what he doesn’t seem to understand is that his constant criticism further reiterates the sentiment that everyone needs to fall in line with a “white standard” — as if that’s a desirable end game for everyone who wants to obtain a college degree.
Whether or not you believe HBCUs are still relevant is your opinion. Assuming all will have a negative financial fate based on one or two colleges, however, can be a damaging generalization. Who knows what the answer is, but it’s certainly not some finger waging comparison to ivy league institutions that singles out HBCUs, when the average non-black college or university would have a tough time meeting the same thresholds.
What do you think about HBCUs?
Student loan debt is no joke as many millennials look for ways to pay back their IOU for advancing their education. One can only hope there’s a great job in your forecast with a chance of promotion or high earning potential so you stay on top of those monthly bills.
They say kids are smarter than ever these days because of all the access they have to technology and that appears to be true as college students look to crowdfund their education. Yes, you heard right: College students today are taking to sites like GoFundMe to get others to finance their education — without strings or repayments — and are unashamed.
Honestly, I’m not too surprised considering all the stuff you see on crowdfunding sites these days. Even celebrities have used them to finance upcoming projects that had some giving the side eye. So Should college students be any different?
It’s one thing if you’re ambitious and don’t have access to any financial means of attending college (i.e. denied a loan because your parents have really bad credit), but it’s a completely different story in my book to try and solely rely on the kindness of others to get you through those four years (in some cases two).
Perhaps Uncle Sam and other institutions should take note of this growing trend and rethink some of their own practices. College tuition has grown a bit out of hand, to say the least, so much so that it’s no longer makes a realistic option for some to even consider. Couple that with grants and scholarships drying up and you have a very serious problem — one prospective students are trying to remedy with crowdfunding.
My younger sister is now in her junior year of college. Thankfully it’s completely financed thanks to her high school hustle to maintain a desirable GPA for her university’s honors program. Considering I dang near researched my finger tips off trying to scrounge up enough scholarships to make my dreams real (I had good grades but apparently not her luck), I personally wouldn’t want my sis to try and get an education off the assumption someone else will pay for it.
Now who am I to say a student can’t raise money however they can? If people believe in your goals and want to help pay for them, by all means, do you boo boo. But that doesn’t automatically make me kosher with the idea when you consider others use crowdfunding to pay for those they’re unable to bury due to lack of insurance — or super expensive medical procedures. I guess that’s actually the beauty of crowdfunding sites, you get to pick and choose who you want to support. *Kanye shrug*
What do you think about using crowdfunding sites to pay for college? Nothing wrong or overstepping boundaries of kindness?
College is a pretty big deal. It’s a time when students advance to the next level of their academic careers and begin their lives as adults. In the midst of trying to hold back tears, it’s important to equip your college-bound student with as many items to help make their years on campus pleasant. Here are some practical things they’ll need.
Let’s keep it real, safety is a big concern no matter what college you go to. Equip your ladies with pepper spray that’s always good to have around for those “just in case” scenarios. You’ll never see a prettier pepper spray quite like this one from Blingsting.
Note: Double check with your kid’s college campus to make sure this is OK.
$22, available at Blingsting
I really don’t want to relive my 20s, as I’m a firm believer things get better with age. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t jump at the chance to send a Post-It or message in a bottle to my younger self.
College was an unforgettable experience that marked the first time I was on my own. Sure I had my parents and all, but living in the dorm and being about that higher education life really influenced who I am today. Obviously there were good times and bad, but overall I’m thankful for the opportunity to become a college graduate.
Thinking about the back to school season and all of those incoming freshmen makes me picture their journey and the similar experiences they’ll have. Even though folks need to discover things on their own, it’s good for us older peeps (we’re not that old) to drop some knowledge on these youngsters. Here are a few things I would tell my younger self.
Follow your heart. I got clowned for getting a bachelor’s degree in Art History, and while I didn’t “use it” the way people thought I should, I’m happy I got it. I can still remember days heading into the lecture hall and art history library to do research. Those are fond memories I have that made learning at the time very enjoyable. I know too many people who were told to get a “Huxtable degree” (medical or law) and did so — only to regret their decision down the road. If you’re going to accumulate debt for school, you should at least pursue a degree that truly interests you. Otherwise, you might run the risk of getting so tired of the job you’re in that you make a complete 360 and never use your degree. You can always take classes outside your area of study as a way to supplement. I know this is not the traditional way of thought, but know too many people who found themselves in the unemployment line no matter what degree they obtained. These days, nothing is foolproof.
Stay away from credit cards. Thankfully, more campuses are saying no to lenders setting up tent, but that doesn’t mean college students won’t feel enticed to use plastic. Credit card debt is a serious issue in this country with the average household owing close to $16,000. Sure it’s easy to swipe and pay later but is it really worth it? It’s too easy to overuse your credit card.
Hold off on purchasing books. Oh man do I wish someone told me this. I’ll admit I geeked out when it came to getting my supplies and materials ready for an upcoming class. Too bad the average art history book for me was over $75, which made it a pain to purchase. I would search both online and around campus for the opportunity to buy a used book, but while I thought I was saving money, I could’ve dedicated more time to the library as one was always on reserve for free. It’s crazy how much you pay for books and the amount you get back. Don’t be in a rush to buy a book; you might not even use it.
Watch who you call roomie. Thankfully I never had any issues with my off-campus roommates, but some of my friends did. I made the decision early on to live with graduate students as I thought they were more likely to either have a job or their coins in order. No one wants to deal with roommate drama that could have you both in the streets. Think twice about who you couple your money with as the wrong decision can be costly. Don’t mess your credit up trying to keep a friendship.
Working is a good thing. Sometimes I feel like I could’ve been more social in college. It’s not that I was a hermit or anything, but working a part-time job (I landed a salaried full-time position my senior year) and studying can remove you from the social scene. Some 40 million Americans have student loan debt that can follow you to the grave if you’re not too careful. Working in college definitely helped to keep my bills low.
Get involved and look for benefits. Not everyone is meant to be a resident assistant. During my sophomore year of college, I was able to find a leadership position on my floor that covered room and board. There are opportunities available if you take the time to look.
Pay what you owe sooner than later. Even though college grads have a grace period to pay back their loan, that oftentimes doesn’t include interest. Don’t get into the habit of pushing off any student loan repayments.
There are tons more I could say but who has that much time to stroll down memory lane? We got bills to pay!
What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
When I got to college in 2007, I had a list of things that I knew I wanted to complete before I graduated. I wanted to be active on my campus, and I was. I was a sprinter for the girls’ track and field team and worked my way up to vice president of the Black student union my senior year. I was involved all right, but I was missing one thing that meant a lot to me, and that was inclusion into a Greek-letter organization. A sorority. I thought that it would complete my college experience, to be able to take part in sorority life on a very diverse campus. I wanted in for the sisterhood, the community service, as well as the promise of great networking opportunities.
I knew a lot about Black Greek-letter organizations by the time I started college, but I didn’t know that Greek life was so much broader than just Black Greeks: I discovered fraternities and sororities that were Latina based; ones that were culturally based; some that were ‘historically white”; some in the form of honor societies; some alternative ones that focused on LGBT life; and even some faith-based organizations. I remember wondering how one figured out which one is the right fit when there are so many options, so I started doing lots of research on the ones that did interest me. I also started attending informational sessions and meetings to interact with sisters from these organizations and to meet other girls who were also looking for some answers.
By my senior year, my life began to transition so much. I ended up deciding on an organization I believed would offer me the sisterhood I wanted, as well as some clarity on the direction my life was heading in. I joined a faith-based sorority. I pledged in the spring of 2012 and was immediately eager to be involved. I came into my chapter wearing many hats and thought that I was getting the best of both worlds. I had the opportunity to make a difference in my community while at the same time cultivate my own spiritual life. But I was soon faced with disappointment when things didn’t quite work out like that.
Struggling with my own faith and identity, I found it difficult to be “branded” or affiliated with a faith-based organization after a while. My line sisters and I received the occasional church jokes from our peers, but while they shrugged them off, I found myself torn. “I really want to go to this campus party, but people know I’m in a Christian sorority and it would look bad,” I found myself saying. As well as “I would love to have a drink at this party, but then I would get, ‘Aren’t you in a Christian sorority?'” I found myself getting tired of explaining myself to people. I grew weary of teaching people about my sorority because no one seemed to know about anything other than Black Greeks on campus.
Still, I tried to make it work. Wanting desperately to be a voice in my community and campus through service, I found myself at odds with my sorority sisters when it came to addressing the needs of the people we were meant to target. As someone who lives life as a learning experience and tries to be relatable in order to reach people, I found myself frustrated. My ideas were unheard because they often didn’t have a Bible-backing or didn’t relate directly to Biblical ministry. My idea of meeting the needs of people was completely different from the majority of my chapter. It was disappointing.
This wasn’t the Greek experience I planned on getting when I first entered college. I asked myself, where was the sorority pride? The networking experiences I thought I would get?
I soon realized that I wasn’t having the experience I hoped for because I joined my organization for the wrong reasons. I joined a Christian sorority because, at the time, I found myself struggling with my faith and Christianity as a whole. I believed that if I had support, I would find my way back. Not to mention that I was hellbent on making connections that could help me in the future. But through my many frustrations I began to question my choice. I started feel the pressure of living up to a certain standard that resulted in me not being true to who I am and what I believe.
I wanted sisterhood, but I found that I didn’t relate to many of my sorority sisters. I wanted to have genuine conversations about life, hang out, and build bonds and friendship, but I felt as though I didn’t fit in. Not only that, I felt I was judged harshly. So instead of being drawn closer to my faith, during my spiritual journey, I found that I had to learn to start accepting myself and stop trying to conform to what others said and did. As someone who is extremely independent and who hates labels, it’s hard for me to find my place within my sorority to this day, an organization that operates in ways that I don’t agree with. I joined because I was searching for answers, searching for myself even. But when I learned to just be myself, I felt so much better.
I appreciate and respect the work my sorority does for the community, but I have to admit that I now realize, it’s not for me…
According to the CDC, one in five women are sexually assaulted while in college, and many question how many assaults go unreported. The fact is clear millions of young women are at risk and must make empowering choices for themselves and others. Across the nation, states including New York and Texas, are introducing legislation specifically for implementing sexual assault policies on college campuses. Author Lacey C. Clark! is committed to changing the culture for young women and adds to the solutions with her new book, Phenomenally U: A Young Woman’s Guide to Being Safe, Smart, and Successful in College. Phenomenally U empowers pre-college and college women to make smart choices, practice self-respect and self -love via the eight S’s of Phenomenally U for success.
Safety, Sex, and Sisterhood are three of the eight S’es presented in Phenomenally U that will prepare students for avoiding sexual misconduct on campus. Clark!, an NYU Founder’s Scholar encourages safety around alcoholism with her “Learn to have sober fun” message. Lessons like “Always practice the Sister System when going to parties” encourage bystander intervention during unsafe situations, while “Learn to say no with love” informs women on how to love themselves before saying yes to sex and to clearly communicate consent. “Many young women lose themselves in college because they are exploring their identity. Phenomenally U equips them with a solid foundation that will help them navigate their world with a greater sense of focus, wisdom and strength,” Clark stated.
Readers will learn from candid clear language what it means to value yourself and those around you when facing incidents of dating violence, abuse, and sexual misconduct. Phenomenally U supports young women in making smart choices not just in college but establishing a healthy foundation for life.
“It was refreshing to have someone give the facts to me straight without all of the sugar coating. This book helped to awaken a stronger sense of responsibility in myself. I see the importance of taking my personal and professional image seriously in order to get where I want to be in life. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all young ladies,” remarked Sydney, a college Sophomore who read Phenomenally U.
Phenomenally U can be ordered Clark!’s website at http://phenomenally-u.com. For retail orders visit Amazon.com for Kindle and paperback editions.
Lacey C. Clark! is an award-winning author and public speaker committed to helping women make the healthy choices in college and in life. As a brand for empowering young women, Lacey C. Clark! offers guidance through talks, books, seminars, radio shows, artistic experiences and online education classes. As CEO of Sisters’ Sanctuary LLC, Clark! helps young women live positive lifestyles in a dominate and influencial negative media culture. For more information on Lacey C. Clark! and her work or to have Lacey C. Clark! speak to your organization please visit http://phenomenally-u.com.
The summer before a child enters his or her freshman year of college is filled with excitement and consternation, happiness and remorse, confidence and concern. This period of anticipation is parents’ best chance to help their child with his or her final preparation – academically, emotionally and financially.
Family Mission Planning is a cornerstone of McManus & Associates, a top-rated estate planning law firm with offices in New York and New Jersey. So, the firm came up with these great ideas that can help families stay on track with their individual mission statements as soon to be college freshmen leave the nest.
Balance – take it easy: Pre-med, Pre-law, Engineering, Science and Math majors frequently require challenging courses in the first semester. Many schools, however, have core requirements, as well as mandatory courses in areas outside your child’s expertise. For the first semester, encourage your child to take at least one or two courses that have a lighter workload in areas that they really enjoy; the adjustment to college life and all of its demands will be significant enough without an overwhelming amount of work. Some schools such as MIT and Johns Hopkins have “covered grades” for freshmen, meaning students take courses PASS/FAIL for the first semester or first year, taking the GPA pressure off and making the transition into college more sustainable.
Grades – yes, they do matter: A wise man once said, “College is a great time to have fabulous memories that you take with you the rest of your life, but grades also travel with you the rest of your life.” There are many significant aspects of learning both inside and outside the classroom that enrich the college experience and make for better human beings; there is no question your child should embrace every aspect of the college experience. That said, your child’s course load (over four years) and GPA will be leading indicators for the first job your child will land or the graduate program into which your child will gain admission. Surely one’s first job or graduate program is not the dispositive indicator for a rich full life, but a strong start is advantageous.
Walk, walk, walk and take public transport (and a cab/Uber when it’s late at night!): If your child’s campus and surrounding town are walkable and/or have ample public transportation, do not have your new college student bring a car to school the first year, if it can be avoided (McManus & Associates would encourage equal restraint in the following years, unless having a car is absolutely necessary). Walking and taking public transportation will enable your children to further enhance the college experience as they enjoy their surroundings and appreciate the life they have. When it comes to a night out, your child impaired behind the wheel is a horrible risk, but your child in a car with an impaired friend driving is equally unacceptable – lives can be ruined in an instant. Encourage your child to plan ahead and take a cab or an Uber.
How much did you spend?! For many children, college is a liberating time marked by freedom from the shackles of typical parenting when they lived at home. Parents may avoid putting their child on a budget because they feel as though they are constraining their child’s experience – until the first credit card statement arrives. It’s important in advance to discuss expectations of budget and to monitor the monthly burn. It’s the best lesson you can give your children in managing finances and helps prepare them for the time when they are truly out on their own and providing for themselves.
My child is not returning my calls, my texts or my FaceTime efforts. Should I call his or her roommates? Let your child lead on the communications front. In time, if you make the conversations interesting and supportive, your college freshman will likely want to communicate with you as much as you want to communicate with your child. Let them volunteer what’s going on in their lives. Update them on the positive stuff going on back home so that you’re not viewed as clinging to their lives, trying to vicariously share college with them.
Yes, you can enjoy college with your child, too! Stay plugged in with your children and gently give them confidence during periods when they feel homesick. Look through the event calendar at your child’s school and propose going to see a performance, premiere or lecture, to which you also invite your child (beyond Parents’ or Family Weekend). Save up for a hotel and schedule a special dinner, allowing them to break away from the now routine cramped quarters of a dorm room and cafeteria food. It may wind up being the best night of the month for both of you.
Oh dear, my child is a legal adult, but I have learned that the frontal lobe doesn’t fully develop until age 25. Strong high school grades, solid ACT/SAT scores and acceptance into a good school do not mean that a child has developed the full discerning ability to make the best decisions all the time, especially when out at a celebration (and, particularly, if alcohol is involved). Whether your children like it or not, they need your guidance and expertise (help them come to that conclusion with you). Be that sage advice giver, but use it sparingly and be laser-focused about the issue being addressed.
Your child may be consciously excited AND consciously anxious to leave the nest: If parents think it’s tough watching their child leave the nest and spread his or her wings, imagine the confusion and consternation of that child who daily seeks to fly, but periodically seems so vulnerable and uncertain. He or she boldly, and possibly insolently, demands independence but occasionally looks over the top of the nest to see how far the drop is. This push and pull of confidence and vulnerability will be the paradigm for many years. Put aside, therefore, the less memorable times during the demand periods and be ready to welcome your child when he or she seeks the compassion and warmth that only a parent can provide.
Your chick is growing alongside chicks from other nests, too: A mature and understanding relationship with your child as he or she starts a new adult life away from home is the goal. But keep in mind that your child’s roommates and friends may not have that same relationship with their own parents. Showing affection and interest in your child’s friends’ and roommates’ lives will not only win your child’s companions’ affection who come to see you as a great parent, but your child will view this as support of their friendships and life choices, strengthening your bond during their maturation process. Your child may also view this open acceptance as an opportunity to share more frequently the events that occur in their social life, which will enrich your appreciation for your child’s experience and may also provide you opportunities to offer them wisdom.
Let’s get legal (So, who is in charge when your child is in danger?): While your child is an adult who can enter into a legal contract, vote for a public official, and choose his or her path in life, this does not mean he or she is immune from making sub-optimal choices. The fickle fate of life means that they can get sick or hurt, resulting in hospitalization. At age 18, our kids are adults in the eyes of the law, and parents do not have the legal right to make decisions on behalf of an infirm child. The only way to protect against this is for your newly adult children to elect individuals to act on their behalf if incapacitated. This includes a Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, Living Will and Release of Medical Information documents. Each time McManus & Associates learns about a child turning 18, the firm recommends that they come to its offices to prepare and execute these documents naming their parents and other loved ones to act on their behalf in case of an emergency. When John McManus’ daughter left for John Hopkins, she was no exception; indeed she wanted to know the relevance of every paragraph and negotiate every term before signing but, in the end, the whole family knew that this was in her best interest.
“Your child is like a kite that you fly on the beach,” observed McManus. “Sometimes you have to run with them to get lift off, sometimes you have to hold them back to avoid them getting swept away, but always you must enjoy their beauty as they soar through the sky. Most of the time you cannot fly alongside them, but never let go of that mighty rope and always be prepared to make that occasional save when there might be a temporary nose dive.”
It’s that time of year, high school graduation! For those of us with almost 20-year-olds, it probably seems like just yesterday we were weeping in front of the school on the child’s first day of kindergarten. Then, literally, fast forward 11-12 years and you’ve got a rising or graduating senior. Good gracious. Now, what? College would be the most obvious choice for our generation but for these guys, not so much! In their defense, it sort of seems like cruel and unusual punishment to expect an 18-year-old to invest time, effort and money in a four year college degree after four years of high school. We’re talking coming of age, to a degree, building character integrity, standardized scholastic testing, social skill, peer pressure and like in the age of the internet and social media. So what about when your high school graduate doesn’t want to go to college?
Would it be so wrong to allow the kid to take a breather to piece together his or her own direction to a fulfilling future? And to be completely honest, the pathways to success are limitless in this digital world. To give this notion credence, think Mr. Cory’s Cookies, an 11-year-old CEO from New Jersey who makes big buck selling cookies to high-end clients including his local Chase banks and Porsche dealerships. Point being, while he may eventually go to college, he’s a business owner since the age of six!
Speaking to my own personal experience, I am the second of four girls in my tight knit family. I have a set of committed parents who are both college educated and after 36 years of marriage, they continue to push each other to strive for the highest appointed chairs of their occupational positions. Growing up, college wasn’t an option. It was not only assumed but inventible that once we walked the stage as seniors, we were to prepare for our first fall semester at a four year college or university. My oldest sister did everything according to their plan. She was straight-laced, shrewd and quite boring at times but her mission was to do what our parents had envisioned for her and her future. Me, the rouge seed, was a social butterfly with an innate desire to draft my own blueprint and if I had it my way, I would’ve opted to go to an art school or apprentice with a furniture craftsman. I like to work with my hands and do something different everyday – as monotony is, for me, a slow kill.
Saying all this to say that you know your child well enough to know that they will choose what’s best for themselves, and if they’re not quite sure, give them the time to discover their path themselves. It’s not about making sure your child is out of the house by the age of 18 especially of they return home with a college degree without a clue of how they plan to use it to their advantage, right? If your graduate wants to learn a trade for a skill with endless supply and demand by default, why not?
For example, if your son has an affinity for fixing up vintage cars, he might be the kind of guy to own body shop. While the idea of blue collar, manual labor jobs don’t quite match what you had in mind for him – it may be what’s best for him and why not encourage him getting his license, put in some quality work at a quality shop and then open his own? Or, on the other hand, you might have a daughter who’s flirting with the idea of becoming a makeup artist, present to her the options of cosmetology schools in or around the area.
In short, the days of getting a degree and finding a job that’s going to retire you with generous pensions and retirement accounts are becoming obsolete! Therefore, our ideals surrounding success have to align with the times in some ways. Every child has a dream and as long as we support, encourage and believe in it with them, you can expect nothing less than a successful business minded young adult who knows you have their back. Who knows, it may even create an avenue for the family to build an empire. Never know! Best thing to do is this – stay as open as your child’s mind!