Ditch-Diggers Make the World Go Around

So, I usually share links to articles that have made me think wonderful things based upon their content. While this article’s content is meaningful, my real reason for sharing it has to do with the attitudes expressed in comments 1 and 4.

The ‘Ditch-Diggers’ Argument Resurfaces

I’ve engaged in many conversations with colleagues at my home institution who don’t understand what we do in academic advising. They somehow feel our work is better suited for a community college and not a four-year institution. The rationale seems to suggest there exists some hierarchical relationship between the two types of educational entities and that if students aren’t ready for college, they should treat community college as a sort of finishing school. Well, I’ve taught at a community college and that’s not their function (not in California, at any rate). The author of Comment #1 from the linked article went one step further and suggested that “B” and “C” students should forgo college all together and run straight for “the trades.”

These arguments enrage me, especially as we consider how an overwhelming number of high school students are coming to us from educational environments focusing more on filling in the correct bubbles on standardized testing forms than they are on actually teaching students to read, write and think critically. Further, I was a “B” and “C” (and sometimes even lower) high school student–I’m thankful everyday that my teenage motivation and engagement didn’t bar me from earning a college education. This is why I’m very happy that VCU still considers itself a “university of opportunity”

Money Makes the World Go Around

In 75 (very small) words, the author of Comment #4 suggests that the only way to be happy (and find love and have children?) is to earn great piles of money AND reduces a college education to job training–two of the top ten misguided beliefs that make the vein in my head go into overdrive! I’m sure my fellow colleagues reading this post can leap in with a multitude of fact-based arguments to refute the assertions made in Comment #4, so I won’t waste the space adding them in for you. To my student-readers, I offer you advice I’ve deliver so many times that I should publish it so I can stop repeating it. If you’re studying a subject that reflects your interests, abilities and long-term goals, you’ll find a way to make a plan for success. If that plan involves an area within the world of work that also reflects your interests, abilities and long-term goals, you are far more likely to achieve happiness than you would be by chasing some goal that is set for you by anyone but you.

While it’s true unemployment rate is at a staggeringly high and that, sadly, money does make the world go around, you’ll be no more successful in an educational or career field that doesn’t suit you than you would be at winning the New York Marathon in a pair of business shoes. And, unless you’ve a crystal ball floating around in your cupboard, I don’t like your chances of forecasting the next “sure thing” of a career by the time you’re out of college. Finally, the road from point A to point B is rarely one that runs in a straight line or in the direction you were expecting.

Thoughts?

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About Art

I've been a higher education professional for over 15 years and an Academic Advising administrator for the past eight of those. I have a background in exploratory student advising and have spent a great deal of time guiding students through contemplating their personal college-to-career pathways. I've published, presented, and consulted on the intersection of social media and academia and am a firm believer in social media's power as a tool for engagement rather than solely information delivery. I've worked at public and private institutions as well as 2-year colleges and 4-year universities. I believe in Academic Advising as a teaching and learning activity, that learner-centered education is the key to students' academic success, and that as long as we keep students' individual goals and success at the center of our decision-making process, the problem of college-level student attrition can be solved.
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One Response to Ditch-Diggers Make the World Go Around

  1. JimmyBean says:

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

    Like

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