Thursday, 31 July 2014 10:23
I am writing in response to Paul Manton’s letter “Are College Degrees Worth It?” (Weekend,” July 16-22)
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.
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.
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, new fields springing up on a daily basis. Most 12 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 interests and develop this “plan.”
While in high school, students should pursue their interests, try different clubs and activities. 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. Meet people. Look those people in the eye and shake their hand. Be accountable. Be goal-oriented. Develop a work ethic. Start by putting down the video game remote and the smart phone.
The ability to read and write, along with a strong work ethic will never go out of style. When interviewing, dress appropriately, keep the phone in the car, and speak clearly. If the job goes to someone else, maybe the 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.
As parents, part of our goal should be to nurture and develop “hirable” offspring. Having an education will always be better than not having one. It is unrealistic to think that children can always know their career path and spend all of their school years preparing for that one specific field.
It would be more beneficial to prepare 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.