Thursday, July 11, 2013

Further in response

A comment on yesterday's post (from my daughter, no less) deserves a response. 
She states that she was fortunate to be able to go to university without her own or her parents' debt because tuition was half (father works at the university) and because she went to a university in her own city and could live at home.  That is true and that does need to be clarified. Not everyone is so lucky.

What provoked my rant, if you can call it that, was the man I mentioned who re-mortgaged his house to pay for his son's education. What I didn't reveal is that this son is not terribly grateful for this, he doesn't have a clue what he wants to do for work, and he has spent a good part of his first year under the influence. That is wasted money in my opinion.

And another woman told me that her sister had just taken out a $25,000 loan to pay for her daughter's first year at St. Francis Xavier University, a campus notorious for its student night life, while the daughter could go to school here in Halifax, and also works at Old Navy. She doesn't contribute one cent towards her costs, but is allowed to spend all of the money she earns on herself. And the mother's remark to her sister is very telling: "I hope she doesn't spend this year just partying." This is completely counter-productive. What that mother is producing is a young woman with a sense of entitlement. If life is given to her like this at the age of 19, how can she possibly be expected to be a responsible adult by the age of 23?  In order to have responsible kids, one has to actually give them responsibility in gradual doses so that they will be able to take it on.

The result is a generation with delayed maturity. Only in the western world do we have people in their 20's who are still behaving as if they are 15.  In fact, elsewhere in the world, 15 year-olds aren't given such license.

Yes, many kids will need help to go to college and there are ways to help them without producing people who are not grateful or, worse still, feel entitled to these benefits. Perhaps it would be good for a lot of kids to spend a year doing some kind of service before they proceed to college, so that they will get some idea of how fortunate they are to have been born into a prosperous society.


Lindsay said...


I figured I might as well comment as I have a lot of experience with university (11 years of post-secondary education and three degrees) and have lived at home and also on the other side of the country. In both cases, though my mom helped tremedously, I knew it was my responsibility to pay for the thing, particularly when I was away in BC. In each case I received minimium to no help from the schools themselves.

How did I do this? I worked, lived frugally, got textbooks out of the library (as well as books and DVDs for entertainment), cooked my own food and learned where to buy good-quality cheap groceries, avoided the vices of student life (binge drinking, drugs, sex) and used the facilities that the university provided (gyms, the full-city bus pass, discount tickets/free shows). As Mrs. Culshaw says, this takes discipline to realise you have this much and you need to pay rent, food, tuition, and other expenses. There are some things you are going to have to live without, some experiences that some people believe make up university life that you are going to have to skip. Yet, there can be an excitement in doing for yourself, discovering what is out there. Dare I say, it's the act of growing up and becoming an adult.

I remember walking through campus in Vancouver one day and hearing a Marxist group screaming that we (students) are all massively in debt and I wanted to yell back: 'speak for yourself'. As for me, I graduated in May 2012 and as of this week, I have paid off all my student related debts through my own efforts. It's hard but rewarding and to those parents who think they should pay for their children's education, help where you can but don't pay everything. When your children pay the price and feel the pain of that, they will value it all the more.

-Lindsay O'rourke

Julie Culshaw said...

Wow, you are to be commended highly.