College. Everyone needs to go to college. This is what the media, the president, and most teachers tell young people.
In grade school, they start talking to you about college. What college are you considering? What do you want to be when you grow up? Yes, you need a college degree to be a fireman. Yes, you need a college degree to be a doctor.
Everyone should want to go to college. Wrong. False expectation. All America is doing by putting this expectation on their children is damaging them. Especially at a super-young (pre-teen) age.
Do I think it’s wrong to talk about college to seventh and eighth grade students? Of course not! It’s time for them to think about it. They are old enough and mature enough (sometimes) to consider the future.
When you get to high school, you have some control over your class schedule. Knowing what you think you want to do later in life will help you make decisions about that.
Know what? A huge percentage of high school students have no idea what they want to be when they grow up or what they’re going to do after high school. Some forty-year-olds have neither grown up nor figured out their future plans.
Yet, this pressure for them to make a decision exists. Don’t they have enough stress? Give them a few years to figure it out. This expectation that young people need to know what they’re going to do with their lives by the time they’re 12 so they can be shaped into that pathway often defeats the underlying purpose.
When we force this issue, here’s what happens: Kid: “I like skateboarding. I like riding my bike and doing tricks. I’m going to be the next Tony Hawk.” (I have actually heard seventh-grade boys say this.) Adult: “No, you’re not. Less than one percent of people can go pro in that field.” (Kid effectively discouraged from dreaming but not even a millimeter closer to discovering the true ambition for his future.) Read more