Q: I’m about to graduate from high school. Why should I go to college? It doesn’t make sense to bury yourself in debt just because everyone else expects you to pursue “higher education.” Why waste several years of your life earning a worthless piece of paper only to end up working the same job alongside your high school-graduate friends?
Jim: You’re absolutely right: The fact that “everyone else” is doing it is not a good reason to spend tens of thousands of dollars and four or five years of your life on higher education. College isn’t for everyone. It has its advantages and disadvantages. A great deal depends on your personal inclinations, your outlook on life and what you intend to do.
For some careers, college is an indispensable part of professional training. For others, it’s a far less important piece of the puzzle. Some people view a university course primarily as a source of intellectual nourishment and an opportunity to gain rich cultural experience. You need to figure out where you fall along this continuum before deciding whether to embark upon a college career. Only you can make that choice.
That said, a college education might be well worth pursuing, regardless of your occupational goals. A local state or community college could make the option more affordable. A degree can open doors that won’t be opened in any other way. Among other things, many employers regard it as proof that you’re a responsible, hard-working individual.
As I see it, there’s an important sense in which higher education ought to be treasured for its own sake, quite apart from considerations of career or job market viability. The broader our grasp of human culture, the more we can connect with and touch other people in very specific and practical ways.
Q: My husband is a compulsive and addicted video gamer. It seems all he does is go to work and then come home and play video games. I wish it were one of our three children with this problem — at least then I’d know I have options. But with my husband, I feel helpless. Is there anything I can do?
Bob Waliszewski, Director, Plugged In: I can certainly understand your frustration, especially when you see no end in sight. But there are some things you can do.
First, I’m assuming your husband knows how you feel in a general sense. He’s probably seen you roll your eyes or heard you tell a friend/family member how disappointed you are.
Have you ever had a respectful heart-to-heart conversation with him about your frustration? I’m not talking about a “You’ve got to quit all this video gaming; it’s driving me crazy!” zinger.
I’m talking about a private dialogue when you say something like this: “Honey, I love you very much. In all of our years of marriage, that hasn’t changed. What has changed is the time we used to talk about life and our shared interests together. I feel that I’ve dropped in importance on your priority list, even below your gaming. That’s not what I signed up for. It’s not what you signed up for. Tell me, how can we change this?”
In addition, be ready to help him with ideas that will improve the situation. Do you feel you need a weekly date night, or an after-dinner walk together? How much video gaming are you comfortable with? Those thoughts can help guide the conversation.
If you have this discussion and feel you’re not getting anywhere, I’d suggest the two of you meet with a counselor. Feel free to give our staff counselors a call at 1-855-771-HELP (4357) for further help or a referral.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.