Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00
I enjoyed reading Paul Manton’s opinion on the value of the college degree for today’s youth in the July 16-22 edition of the Levittown Tribune and would like to share my opinion on this topic as well. I believe that for most high school graduates, college is the appropriate next step.
While college educations can be very expensive, and accumulating debt is never a good thing, Nassau Community College provides an extremely affordable and valuable option for high school graduates who are not certain of specific career paths or who are not financially able to attend private liberal arts colleges.
Many public service jobs, including law enforcement and the FDNY, now require college degrees or a specific amount of college credits. Chances are that members of your family tree who received the pensions of which you wrote, were members of either NYPD or FDNY, and today would need at least a two years of college.
Apparently, someone thinks it is valuable. I agree that there are many successful people who did not obtain a college degree. Most of them became successful by finding an interest or a passion, acquiring knowledge, and developing a work ethic to become successful in their chosen field.
I also agree that every parent should work with their children on developing a career plan, or “a business plan” as you wrote. The problem with this thinking is that
it is no longer the 1950’s when career choices were more limited.
Today, our young people have more options than ever before, with new fields springing up on a daily basis. Most twelve year olds are not able to zero in on a general field of interest.
You feel that finding oneself as late as high school or college will lead to a career earning minimum wage, however high school is the perfect time for parents and children to explore all possible interests and develop this “plan.”
When the bell rings to end the school day, students should not be running to the exit doors. While in high school, students should pursue their interests, try different clubs and activities, and explore what the schools have to offer. Volunteer in a field that you want to learn more about. Ask questions of neighbors, family, and friends in a variety of careers. Build a real life resume filled with action words such as: developed, created, initiated, pioneered, chaired, and led.
Meet people. Look those people in the eye and shake their hand. Be accountable. Be goal oriented. Develop a work ethic. Don’t be above unpaid internships and low paying, entry level positions because these can lead to all types of connections with all types of people.
Lose the sense of entitlement. Always continue to acquire knowledge. Make yourself marketable and hirable. Start by putting down the video game remote and the smart phone.
Yes, the job market is constantly changing and people need to keep up with the latest trends in the job market and technology, but jobs are out there.
The ability to read and write, along with a strong work ethic will never go out of style no matter the year.
When interviewing, dress appropriately, keep the phone in the car, and speak clearly. If the coveted job goes to someone else, look at yourself in the mirror. Maybe the “freedom of speech” tattoo, body piercing, or “unique” hairstyle was not what the company was looking for. Maybe wearing a belt to keep your underwear from showing would have been a better choice.
Regardless of the year on the calendar, as parents, part of our goal should be to nurture and develop hirable offspring. Yes, the job market has become very competitive, but having an education will always be better than not having one.
It is unrealistic to think that a young child can always know what career path they want to pursue and spend their middle, high school, and college careers preparing for that one specific field. It would be more beneficial to prepare in general to be a flexible person, a hard worker, and a decent human being.
If young people master these skills, and are educated as well, opportunities are sure to present themselves.