College and Identity

Recently there has been a push for the federal government and public college combination to become cozier that ever before.  The Executive Branch seems to think everyone should get to go to college.  Really?  Why?

Once again, our leadership takes the biggest brush possible to make a sweeping stroke across the canvas of life.  Now, let’s take this to a practical, everyday level.

I am not an artist; please understand that.  So, let’s make this even more common sense.  Let’s paint a room.  Let’s assume you have already chosen a color and paint.  You have stirred the paint and are ready.  Not quite.  Lying before you are an assortment of tools:  rollers, trimmer brushes, edging tools, masking tape.

Step one (at least for me) is to apply masking tape.  Then edge or trim.  I use the roller last.  Is that how you do it?  Probably.  Upon entering a room, what does not see first?  Ah, one sees the walls and muses the color choice.  The only time someone might look at the ceiling edges or mop boards (we old people still call them mop boards) is if one stays in that room long enough, or is bored with conversation taking place.

Now, let’s go to a gathering place—say, Wal Mart.  Look at the people.  Try to pick out the college graduate and the factory worker.  Both are in the store.  Can’t really tell, can you?

Every person is important.  The cashier, the custodian, the one stocking the shelves, the meat cutters, all of them are important to the success of the store..  We have now looked at the broad stroke of the brush.  You have not seen the tiny cluttered office of the manager or assistant manager or even the zone managers.  They are the minority.  They probably do have a college degree or some sort in management.  They are the “detail” work of that room I described earlier.

Now, let’s step back and take a listen to the Federal Government making college available to everyone.  Yes, and no.  What the Executive Branch does not want to acknowledge is the small places of education that are also providing quality education.  Their prices are affordable.  Students can work on campus, in grocery stores, in fast-food, and summer employment (oooo, that’s another subject—employment) and make their way through college or trade school
with determination, and probably even good grades.

One more choice:  work your way up.  The store manager sitting in a tiny office overlooking the store may have one day started as a stock person.  Diligent, honest, courteous work promotions also educate. Once in a while, a job promotion may help by taking some night classes.

One’s identity does not lie between the glass and the college diploma hanging on a wall. Identity lies in character.

Put down that broad brush, Mr. President.



  1. Glenda

    I couldn’t agree more! While a college education might be necessary for one to even get his/her foot in the door at some places, I remember the days when a company would take a young person and train that person to do the job that needed to be done. My dad, who had to quit school in the fourth grade to help out on the family farm, was one of those individuals. The local utility company hired him and trained him to be a lineman. He learned enough that he was able to wire people’s homes and make the repairs necessary when our little electric appliances needed to be rewired. He did complete his elementary education by going to night school after he and Mother were married. Of course, later on, when his legs developed problems that kept him from climbing up those ladders, there was no “desk job” available to him because of his limited education. These days, he would be given an opportunity to take certain classes to qualify for those jobs.

    We all know how important it is to find a knowledgeable mechanic or a patient and skilled hairdresser, so why should those folks be expected to borrow large sums of money for a college degree that they do not need? With so many junior colleges, that offer a good education in a specified field with only a fraction of the expense, it just doesn’t make good sense to accumulate so much debt! Of course, nobody has accused this president of using good sense…. ;-(

  2. Thank you for your input here. It is what I really want on the blog–viewpoints and discussion. I am all for good education and you know I love well rounded conversation. Yet so much of social skills are learned OUTSIDE the classroom. Now, I love my eye doctor who is also a research doctor. He is well qualified. However, he is one of the “edges” to which I refer. While he has undoubtedly invested thousand and thousands of dollars in his profession, he also charges for those medical skills. Now, the Obama Administration (including Congress) wants to equalize him in payment. That is NOT fair. Not only does he have a practice, he has highly efficient equipment, some of which HE designed and developed on his research team. He is so dedicated, I don’t think anything will stop him, but such character does not exist much anymore. Now, on the other hand, I do not need a highly skilled and educated trash pick up man. I do expect him to turn my trash can upside down and in my driveway, not across or in the street, and I expect him to stop by sometime every Wednesday. Most of the time, that happens. I do expect that when I ask where the dog food is in a store, they will direct me or walk me to the product. That usually happens. And those folks are the broad brush strokes. My mom was a CNA in her day, on the job training and she was good at it. I can understand college scholarships granted by big companies–here in Indiana, Eli Lilly (Pharmaseutical) grants study and research money. But the Federal government–of that I am not in favor.
    Whew, I’d better stop. My comment is bigger than my original piece!
    Cuts in college funding, it seems to me, would be a good place to start slicing away at our national debt.
    Join in the fun and follow the comments. I’d love to see this blog go somewhere!

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