Manna From Heaven

Alphabet Blocks and Chalkboard
Manna From Heaven

America is a land of opportunity. I love the fact that someone can rise to his or her level of happiness regardless of social or financial status. Of this, I am proud.

Much of the success of so many citizens comes as the direct result of our system of education. There are problems inherent in any academic plan because human beings are not made with cookie cutters. I accept the differences in approaches to education.

What I find hard to fathom is any attempt, intentional or otherwise, to convince young people that the path to whatever they envision as success is the acquisition of a diploma alone. I frown upon any Chicken Little theory that leads students to believe that they need not do more. When I witness college graduates waving their sheepskins in the air waiting for cushy jobs to fall from the sky as they leave academic institutions, I can’t help but think we let them down. They must be told that they must do more.

What else should they do to achieve their dreams?
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Comments

  1. Amen and right on. People have seem to have forgotten that part about working.

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  2. I believe most graduates want to work, want a job. Perhaps not cushy, but they do want the opportunity to earn fair wages.

    In the last few years, it seems more is paid for an education than is earned from the jobs available. We are struggling here in the USA (the world, too) to earn a living. The graduates with their sheepskins are demanding what we all want: work with decent wages. They are entering one of the worst job markets in years....

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  3. You are absolutely right JJ. It is the same all over!

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  4. Karen: Understood.

    A-M: I don't think anyone will disagree. However, you and I both work very hard. It takes more than paper. There is some toil involved.

    FanaticoUm: Yes it is. I hope it does not get so out of control that more opportunities are lost. The job market in the USA is awful right now. Graduates should take nothing for granted.

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  5. I just read your post to my husband and he said, 'Well, there's always grad school.'

    (He got his PhD in Physics. I only got my bachelor's and I'm a momma. And a girl struggling to get her words out there.)

    Very stimulating post, JJ.

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  6. Suze: Yup. The diploma alone will not fly, especially in a limited job market. It is not an insurance policy. One needs more. College students must be made aware. Your husband is right - and you can write. The struggle is called "life." Enjoy it.

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  7. In this economy, I knew finding a job woould not be easy, what I didn't know was how unreceptive some people would be. In the last two months, I have sent out 30 resumes or more. And I have only recieved 2 replies, both kindly noting how I could imagine how many resumes they recieved and that the position has been filled. No interviews, not asking for references, just assumptions that I can imagine the mountain of resumes that were piled on their desk.

    Now, I'm only in this mood because I just got done doing a whole bunch of work FOR FREE! I'm busting my butt volunteering and working through an internship. I get tons of gratification from it. The people I "work" for love me, but I'm getting tired of hearing. "You're going to have a job in no time. What are we going to do without you? How is that job search going by the way?"

    Ok, rant over. Time to get productive once again. I'd love any advice!!!

    AubrieAnne
    http://whosyoureditor.blogspot.com/

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  8. AubrieAnne: Exactly! That was the motivation behind this post. I agree with Angeline-Marie. We must fix this economy and create jobs or we are all in trouble. However, bright people like you must be made aware of the reality that is the present job market - before graduation. High end and low end jobs are available for the highly skilled or those without skills. Everyone else is stuck in the middle. It is impossible for employers to make good hiring choices when everyone graduates college with good grades - even if their reading and writing skills are wanting. You must stand out, so think outside the box.

    There appears to be two schools of thought:

    1. Competition destroys motivation.
    2. Competition fuels motivation.

    To which school do you subscribe?

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  9. Keil, my youngest son, is going to prove you right, JJ. Although he has a much higher than average I.Q., he has mild neurological disorders that would have made college Hell on Earth for him. He did go to ITT Tech and got an associates degree, but even that was very tough, given his attention span. He excells at working alone. He is not afraid of hard work, however, and is always excited to learn new skills. Everyone likes him, because he is so sweet, friendly, and helpful, and a great conversationalist. A couple of days ago, he brought home a letter written by a hotel guest after a lengthy stay, praising certain members of the management team, and Keil, for making his family's stay a memorable one.

    So what does it take to get ahead? Drive and attitude, and both must be very good! Anyone can do it if they really want to.

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  10. Ah yes the university degree then the job at McDonalds drive through!

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  11. Tough choice, but I am usually one to believe that competition fuels motivation instead of destroying it, but you have to be the type of person to not give up, not allow frustration to drag you down. Also, the type of person to rceive joy from other peoples' accomplishments. There are so many factors, allowing both schools of thought to live in the same world.

    I know competition fuels my motivation though, because as soon as I wasn't simply handed my dream job, I started finding an alternate way to get there. I started volunteering at my chamber of commerce, immersing myself in a slew of networking. So far, it has given me more jobs to apply to, an internship, and a few contracted jobs in which I was paid one lump sum.

    It would have been nice to learn other avenues to finding work and networking in school though. They just always taught me to find an opening, send in a resume, get interviewed, get job. It's NOTHING like that though.

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  12. There is so much competition for jobs out there. I don't envy them at all.

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  13. I think the trick is working your way through college (instead of having your parents pay your way), even if it takes working 2 and 3 jobs (been there). It builds character and gives you lots of experience (not to mention developing your work ethic, something employers care a lot about).
    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  14. Anyone, not just students should be true to themselves. Learning and school are wonderful opportunities that should be taken for just that. An opportunity to get to know yourself and see what you are all about. There are many ways to do this, not only school.
    I will say going to extended schooling is a great way to show that you are willing to do more than what you 'have to do'. I see it as a marker of wanting more than just a basic life. And as I said before, there are many ways to pursue more from this life. School just happens to be a convenient way to sample the smorgasbord that is this life we are all a part of. Whatever way you want to explore, just don't expect the rest of the world to hand you anything just because you are in the process of getting to know yourself. We all owe the world the best we have to offer and schooling is a nice way to figure out what that is.
    -from someone who worked more than full time through college while participating in dance and music up to 30 hours per week. All the while being told that college, dance and music were a waste of time by a very UN-supportive family.
    I didn't get to live on campus or enjoy many of the perks of college life, but I truly believe my university experience saved me from the mediocre existence that so many of my family members have settled for.

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  15. Judie: Absolutely! I have the same situation with my youngest, and after much tribulation, she just landed a terrific job all by herself. I could not be more proud.

    Whitesnake: Ah, yes. Work your way to the floor register to pay back those school loans.

    AubrieAnne: You got it. However, I am a pretty good judge of personality, and you do have what it takes. You will make it, and when you do, people will say, "You're lucky." Don't believe them.

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  16. KB: You are right. All over the world.

    Miriam: That was the only choice I was ever given.

    'Yellow Rose' Jasmine: I agree. I just think college students should be told the truth about what to expect when they get out.

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  17. Very well put JJ... Great post indeed!

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  18. It's been such a long time since I was in college that I don't even know how to ask this. Is it just my old fashioned thinking or are some degrees absolutely useless when applying for a job. For instance..... womens studies. What does that mean? Where would you apply for a job? I had a dance student who had a degree in dance. Why would you need a degree in dance? You have talent or you don't. Do some universities paint the picture too rosy?

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  19. Manzi: You are on the money, as usual. It is not necessarily the universities, but our society. We tell students that all they need is the diploma. In reality, they also need the skill set associated with the degree. A piece of paper is worthless without an aplicable skill to accompany it.

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  20. I was reminded of a Doonesbury cartoon of two college grads bemoaning their useless liberal arts degrees and wondering what to do. Suddenly they look at each other and wail, "Oh no, law school!" It was so funny to me because that was precisely why I wnt to law school. How lucky for me that I loved it and managed to make a successful carreer out of that diploma. But a diploma doesn't mean much by itself, and a college education is not for everyone. Only one of my five kids will end up with a 4 year degree, and that's fine.

    But back to your question, my first thought was about something you have written about before--that sense of entitlement that so many kids are growing up with now. So what more do kids need to do? Grow up and take responsibility for their lives.

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  21. PS--Maybe they all need to train in martial arts!

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  22. Galen: "Grow up and take responsibility for their lives." Well said. I am not absolutely convinced it is not our fault as a society. From this point forward, we had better tell them the truth. And yes, maybe they should all train!

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  23. Some members of my extended family take great joy in waving their degrees in the air as a sort of proclamation of their greatness. I choose an alternate path, where my own degree is but a starting point.

    I was privileged to have had access to higher education, but I ended up educated enough to realize this was only a means to an end. I wish more folks realized this, too. The real education never really ends.

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  24. Carmi: We must be related to the same family members. I agree with you. Real education never ends, and a diploma is only the beginning of a journey. Those who miss the point get blindsided by reality.

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