Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Major Financial Issues

Son Number Two has beaten the odds and graduated from high school without being expelled for selling knives on campus or for getting caught transporting knives internationally for school administrators. Long story, but suffice to say, we’re breathing a sigh of relief.

Had he been caught in either of those activities, we undoubtedly would have incurred heavy legal fees, but I doubt it would have added up to the bill we’re facing for his next four years, so I’m a little conflicted. All things considered, I guess higher education is a better path than incarceration, so I’ll let it go.

He is off to Boise State in the fall. Boise is in Idaho, and seems to be the capital of the state, based on the domed, capitol-shaped building we saw in the middle of town. We visited this past weekend for his orientation days, and the locals insist that the correct pronunciation of Boise is not “boy-zee” like everyone I’ve ever met says it, but rather, “boy-see.”

We heard our share of orientation speakers saying “boy-see,” but I remain convinced this is a masterful long con to make the transplanting Californians look and sound stupid. I’m sticking with the “zee” sound.

The two-day orientation program was well run overall, and informative and productive for the incoming freshmen. They ended with a great idea of what campus life will be like and fully registered for their fall semester classes. Some of the orientation content, however, was a little less than stellar. I am, of course, talking about the current Boise State junior who was tasked with speaking to all of the parents and students in one of our joint sessions about her college experience.

She was actually a fairly decent public speaker, holding her own in front of hundreds of her peers and her parents’ peers. That’s not the easiest thing to do, so I give her full credit for that, but I can’t abide her message at all.

Somehow, Boise State made the decision to put a junior up in front of us that probably has three to four more years of college to get through before she receives her bachelor’s degree in a likely yet undetermined major.

Her message was this: It’s OK to come here not having any clue what you want to major in, and it’s just fine – even great – to change your major as often and as many times as you need to to figure out your life path. I believe she was on her third major, and confessed that she was again having some doubts about whether she was going to stick with it.

I’m guessing if you were behind her in the buffet line, you’d still be there.

Now, like I said, the program was largely well-run and obviously thoroughly planned out, so I’m not sure how the orientation coordinators let the Typhoid Mary of educational planning slip past them onto the stage. But there she was.

And there we were, along with a vast majority of the parents in the room, staring down their child and telling them, NOPE. Sorry, pal. I don’t know who’s paying the bill for this young lady’s tuition, but I do know they aren’t at all like your parents.

I would rather you go get a job and take the next ten years to figure out what you want to do before starting college, than show up here thinking Mary’s Extended Idaho Vacation Plan is an option for you.

You get 120 credits and four years to complete them. That’s the deal. College, while almost assuredly being some of the best years of your life, was never meant to be a vocation. This is a problem that has evolved in two main areas – higher education and government. Neither were meant to be a career, and the folks that treat them that way are largely scared to produce results that they might be judged on.

Those aren’t the people we’re looking for out here. Don’t be them.

Don’t get me wrong. We’re not too worried about you, Son Number Two. You’ve always been focused, and that’s putting it mildly. We just needed to make it clear.

Now, all that being said, extending your college experience a few more years isn’t the end of the world, and would probably be pretty fun, especially in Boise with a “zee.” So, I guess you can feel free to change your major as often as you’d like. You’ll just need to find someone besides you or us to pay for it.

Maybe talk to Mary’s parents. They seem generous.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2024 Marc Schmatjen


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