College Costs & Ideas

I was lucky and made some good decisions about college. The lucky part is I failed out of Clarkson. Three semesters there cost just over $21,000, a paltry figure today but overwhelming then. I had a grant or two and my parents absorbed the majority of the bill. God bless 'em. On the way home from failing out with all my stuff in the back of the station wagon, I sat nervously waiting for Dad to go off on me. Instead, he said, "the next school is on you."

So it was. I went to Onondaga Community College for two semesters, total cost $1,340. I paid out of pocket. Then I paid for SUNY Oswego without incurring much more debt, maybe a couple thousand dollars. I got into a graduate school that, for one out-of-state student (me!), waived tuition and gave me a teaching fellowship that allowed me to make money while attending full time. Within five years of graduation I had paid it all off.

My kids shouldn't have to depend on luck and penny-pinching. It's in everyone's best interests that children be educated and come out of school as something more than indentured servants.

Elizabeth Warren is talking about debt forgiveness. She'll be labeled whacko for that (Americans can't allow women to voice ideas without first belittling the women and the ideas) but the idea makes sense. College and university have become ludicrously expensive and not because professors and adjuncts make so much money. The system is broken and needs a radical fix.

I'm suspicious of free college tuition. I was more engaged when my money was involved and tuition is only a fraction of total costs. I don't have the solutions, so I'll vote for someone who is thinking well about them. Elizabeth Warren is talking the talk so far. I'm listening.

Childish Contradictions

EDIT: I posted this late at night using a bluetooth keyboard attached to my phone. It did not go well. There was no alcohol involved, but five hours of driving, no sleep, a cold, and a bad keyboard took their toll. I've noticed and hopefully corrected the typos that were littered all over this.

I'm in a hotel room near the Univerity Of Vermont while my girls and wife explore the hotel in search of a bubbler for water. I woke this morning at 4:40 and wrote Morning Pages as always, had some breakfast, went to the job (last day before break!), stopped for gas, bread for sandwiches, and a book from the library on the way home, made sandwiches, helped pack the car, and drove for just shy of five hours from Syracuse. I'm tired now. Ready for sleep.

Tomorrow we tour St. Michael's College, an institution that has been heavily courting our girl. We will have to see what she thinks of the place and what our financial situation thinks about it.

There is also the question of distance. I'm not sure how she feels about being five hours from home. I know how my wife feels. I'm curious what it would be like for me. I've been thinking about distance and closeness throughout most of the drive.

Seems to me it's not that far away even as it is a long drive. It might be the sort of thing that would be good for her and therefore good for us. I like the idea of her going out into the world even as I hope that she will come right back.

I know this much about raising children (and probably not much more): I can't predict what tomorrow will be like even as I have some ideas. This is a good balance like being far away from and close to understanding. Raising kids is an act of faith and of discipline. It requires vigilance and turning a blind eye. It is holding tight and letting them slip out of sight.

Does parenting contradict itself? Very well then, it contradicts itself. it is large. It contains multitudes.

One other thing about taking our kid to tour colleges: watching our daughters grow up is heavenly wonderful and absolutely terrible. I suppose that's exactly how things are supposed to balance.