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I have made an appointment for surgery at the end of summer. I haven’t chosen which operation to have yet, but I know it’s going to be costly. I don’t mean that I have to choose between two similar operations. I mean I don’t have a clue in the world what kind of surgery I am going to get. But I look at it like this: nearly everyone gets some kind of surgery at some point in their life, right? So I went ahead and made an appointment on the assumption that I will eventually figure out what is the right kind of surgery for me. I’m sure the hospital will have a guidance counselor or patient advisor who will make a good suggestion as to what kind of surgery would be a good fit for me. There’s a government loan program for this, and if it turns out that the surgery was totally unnecessary, maybe I can convince some politicians to let me off the hook on repaying the loan.
The above paragraph is satire, of course. I was listening to the latest episode of The Ricochet Podcast and at the end of it @peterrobinson talks about a conversation he had with a gentleman who went to Princeton. Not knowing what he should do at Princeton, he let people talk him into getting a major in Hispanic Studies. This degree was good for getting him a job driving a taxi. This — in my opinion — is not an anomalous situation. I have heard of many young people who have gone off to college with no idea of what they want to do with their life. They just know that everyone goes to college, except for those . . . well, you know . . . dumb people who just aren’t smart enough to get in. Usually, though, at least these young people are going to a more affordable school than Princeton.
I realize that some people may believe they know what they want to do with their life, then change their mind. Charles Krauthammer, as a famous example, was a psychiatrist and decided he didn’t really care for it and became a writer and political pundit. So I’m not criticizing young people for not knowing where they really want to be 20 years down the road. But doesn’t it seem foolish to sign up for tens of thousands of dollars in debt (or get your parents to shell out that money) when you don’t know what you are going to use your education for? I guess I’ve just seen too many people with a college degree, who then went on to sell carpeting, insurance, shoes, or cars for a living. Or get a degree in mass communications and wind up dealing blackjack, before deciding to go through college again and get a nursing degree. Has it always been like this? Or has the easy money — either from generous parents or easy-to-get loans — taken pressure off of students to only go to school if they know what their goal is?Published in