There should be no limits to your success
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” was a question most of us were asked frequently as children. I used to answer with things like a country singer, an Olympic athlete and even the President of the United States. Now maybe I was just a really ambitious kid, but I’m pretty sure we can all relate to having big dreams about who we were going to be as adults.
I can recall lots of chuckles as a common response to my antics about being the first female president, but eventually I would always hear something along the lines of, “If you work hard, you can be whatever you want.” And while I now know I am not going to be the President of the United States, I am a firm believer in that statement; If I put my mind to it, I can be whatever I want to be.
However, education secretary Michael Gove believes that because of income inequalities, most students coming from lower income households will not likely benefit from education. He says politicians need to stop lying to children about their career chances.
According to The Guardian, “Those children who were unfortunate enough to grow up in poverty, without a stable family background, without access to those connections, find it increasingly difficult to benefit from education,” Gove said.
The part in his statement that says “increasingly difficult” is the problem I have with his view. I agree with him, students that come from lower income households probably will have a harder time getting through school than students that don’t, but it won’t be impossible. And if they want to become a doctor or a lawyer, they can do it. Will it be hard? Of course it will, but it is not impossible to achieve.
Sure, college isn’t for everyone. But if a person wants to continue their education past high school, they have every right to do so. And if they find that college isn’t for them, then they can stop when they realize it. But no one should ever be told that they aren’t cut out for college. If they aren’t, they can figure that out on their own.
I think by telling children they won’t become a doctor because they won’t make it through college is only setting them up for disaster in other endeavors in their life. If they are told at a young age they aren’t smart enough or not good enough to do something they want to, why would they ever pursue any of their other dreams? They would quit at the first sign of difficulty because they would think they couldn’t achieve it. Adults should be encouraging students to shoot for their goals even if it is unlikely they won’t reach them.
I can see where Gove is coming from. It may not be a financially smart move for a student relying on loans to go to college if they can barely pass entry-level courses. But if going to school and getting a degree is going to make them happy, then they should do it. Why sell yourself short for something else that will not make you happy? And if they end up not making it through school, maybe financially they would have been better off if they didn’t go to school, but they would never know if they didn’t try.
The amount of Americans earning a bachelor’s degree is higher than ever, making the job market even more competitive. But I think that is a great thing. Americans are becoming more educated and bettering themselves. But I don’t think that with more people earning a degree, the value of the bachelor’s degree will go down, a concern Gove expressed. They are still putting in the work to obtain the degree; it is just more common for people to have them. It won’t be a glorified high school diploma; America is just becoming more educated. And if students want a college education, they should get it, no matter what kind of household they come from.
Call me an idealist, an optimist or whatever, but I will never tell a child they won’t make it through school or achieve their goals. I believe in the American Dream and there is no greater example of an American Dream success story than Michael Jordan’s.
And like Michael Jordan once said, “If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.”
Kristi Demonbreun is a junior broadcast journalism major and Editor-In-Chief of The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding her column can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be realistic, know your limits in the classroom
When we were young kids, it was fun to envision what we could potentially be later on in life. We dreamed of being doctors, scientists, professional baseball players — you name it. Our parents and elementary teachers constantly assured us we could be absolutely anything we wanted if we put our minds to it. Kids are dreamers, and most of them dream big. We watched TV shows and movies glamourizing certain occupations and aspired to be just like those on the screen.
With all this being said, Michael Gove (who draws much criticism in the education community) recently spoke at the National Summit on Education Reform in Boston. Without getting too technical, he basically demanded that the government should stop lying to young adults about their career chances.
Not only should the government stop lying to teens, but the parents of these teens should as well. There comes an age where a young adult should know his/her strengths in the classroom and pursue something realistic to their abilities. We are not saying all dreams by young adults should be quelled immediately. Some people really do achieve their dreams academically and professionally, but other factors should be evaluated before making a rational decision. For example, if you grew up in a low-income household and are relying solely on financial aid to pay for your higher education, and you are struggling in entry-level anatomy, it might not be a good idea to pursue the dream of being a doctor.
Gove expresses some valid concerns. Because of this warped vision some students have of their future, more and more Americans are obtaining higher education. This sounds like a good thing initially. But, according to a NY Times article published in 2012, the Census Bureau reported that more than 30 percent of young Americans now possess a bachelor’s degree, which is the highest it has ever been in America.
This makes the higher education job market incredibly competitive. It’s hard enough to find a job fresh out of college, and if this percent rises relative to the recent trend, the bachelor’s degree is going to turn into a glorified high school diploma. Trade school is an option, but based on this statistic, it is fair to assume young adults see trade school as a second option if a four-year university education does not come through.
Trade schools do not deserve this reputation. Young adults should recognize that trade schools are a completely viable option to make money. According to money.cnn.com, graduates of Wilbur Wright Trade School’s Computer Numerical Control (CNC) program in Chicago average a starting salary of $45,000, and this is after only a nine-month program.
And, last year’s job placement for the program was a perfect 100 percent after graduation.
Young adults should recognize that higher education is not for everyone. Our parents and teachers have told us for years that it is essential to acquire a higher-level education in order to be successful, but some people are not wired to attend a four-year university. If we understood our academic strengths more accurately, it would be beneficial to academia here in America.
There is a difference between obtaining a diploma and actually being qualified to work.
Chris Chipman is a junior english major and columnist at The Vidette. Any questions or comments regarding his column can be sent to email@example.com.