I conclude this series of notes on leaving home by speaking to kids who go to College or pursue other endeavors. This is an important issue to address. Most people know how important it is to encourage college students to stay connected to church and to be part of an OCF group on campus. However, I would like to focus on the issue of student debt and ways this might be mitigated. It is not unusual today to have people obtain a bachelor’s degree and finish school in debt $30k to $80k from student loans. This is just undergraduate debt.
First, I would ask parents to consider the idea of their kids living at home and commuting to school for the first two years. This is for several reasons. I have often found the first two years of college can be a difficult adjustment time for kids being away from home. A lot of acting out occurs among some college students, especially in the first year. Sexual acting out and substance abuse can be a problem. Could this be why so many drop out of church during this time? I also wonder if some of this might be due to the fact that our kids are not as mature as we think, to live away from home when they begin college study.
The first two years involve taking more required courses than electives, which might contribute to a lack of motivation, especially when kids are undecided in their major. Staying home and working part time can noticeably reduce the cost of college. So if people need to apply for student loans, the debt would hopefully be less. Students can maintain their connection to their home church as well.
Once college students have picked their majors and know what they want to do, perhaps they could finish the remaining two years at a campus-based school. Hopefully they will be more mature and able to cope properly with the temptations faced in going to a public secular university. They can graduate from school with a debt of only $15k to $20k instead.
Finally, if prospective college students want to delay studies and maybe work for a year, this may not be a bad idea. It would be a great reality check, giving them a taste of working in the “real world” and what is involved in supporting oneself. Depending on what kind of work they get, this may help prospective students figure out why they want to go college. Or they may want to learn a trade or skill and not pursue college study.
People may consider enlisting in the military instead of college. There are perks for enlisting, such as financial support for future university/college study. People who enlist also receive valuable education and on the job training in certain fields that may assist them in determining what they want to do over the long run.
Speaking for myself, I was by far a better college student when I knew why I was attending Wayne State University in Detroit back in the 1970’s. It took me a couple of years to figure that out. Once I did, it made a big difference in my studies and gave me a solid direction for the future. I welcome any questions or issues you may want to speak on regarding this theme.
The blessing of the Lord be upon you,
The unworthy +Paul