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A Mother’s Story About Why Her Kid Won’t Be Forced Into College

By: Krystle Crossman

I have decided that I do not want my son to go to college. Before you react, let me explain.

It started around sophomore year in high school. The pressure to pick a college and pick your major was on. Pamphlets would be strewn about on various tables at school. The guidance counselor’s office had books galore about how to choose the right college, how to apply to college, and how to ace entrance essays. Senior year was all about where you were heading. Some students chose Ivy League schools. Others chose community or state colleges. Those who chose not to go were given sideways glances by their educators for not wanting to further their education. I felt the pressure and then gave in to the pressure.

Right out of high school I went to college. I enrolled in the criminal justice program at Hesser College in Manchester, NH. I wanted to be a crime scene investigator like I had seen on television. It looked like a lot of fun. As I went through my first year of school I realized that no, I did not want to do this for a living as many states required you to be a police officer before you could be an investigator. Since I was nowhere near assertive enough or brave enough to be an officer that was out. One year of school and $11,000 wasted.

Next I moved on to an EMT program in the area. I became an EMT-Basic and then moved on to an EMT-Intermediate. After searching for jobs in the area and finding none and realizing that again, it was not something that I was truly passionate about, my licensure lapsed. Two more years and a few thousand dollars again, wasted.

I went to the community college the following year and got my certificate in phlebotomy. This I turned into a seven year career but there was no money in it and I was not happy. I had to have a full time job as a manager at Pizza Hut while being a phlebotomist to pay the bills. The few months that I spent in this course I would not call a waste as I did enjoy the work, it just didn’t pay enough.

Finally I continued at the community college again and was striving for a nursing degree. I made it through my Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts and the quickly realized that nursing school with a full-time job and being a now-single parent was not going to work at all. Another two years and thousands of dollars wasted. Still I felt the pressure to get a college education. My last stop was back at Hesser College again for a medical coding and billing degree. It was not what I wanted to do at all but I felt that if I didn’t settle for a career now, it would be too late. After a year the course load and work became too much. Another year and another $11,000 wasted.

Through all of these years I continued to feel the pressure to go to college, get a degree, and get a career. Even if it meant that I wasn’t doing what I loved I felt that I would be failing everyone if I didn’t. But I gave up because it just was not what was making me happy. I was miserable. I know that gaining new knowledge is never a waste. After all, thanks to the EMT courses I now know how to deliver a baby, intubate someone who isn’t breathing, insert an IV, and do CPR. But I feel like thanks to the pressure of having to go to college right away I wasted a lot of time and money that I didn’t need to. I found out that my true passion and talent was in photography. How did I learn this? Experience. I got a camera, practiced, picked up clients here and there and now I am a full-fledged professional. I love it. I love what I do and love the memories that I capture. No college necessary.

I want to pass this knowledge on to my son. He is only eight years old now but when he is older he is going to feel that pressure at school. I want him to know that it is okay if he doesn’t know what he wants. I want him to know that if he wants to wait on college and go out to explore different careers by getting jobs first I am behind him 100%. I don’t ever want him to feel like he needs to go to college to please me or anyone else if he is not ready for it. If he chooses to go to college and knows what he wants right out of high school I am behind him every step of the way but I feel it would be more beneficial if he tested the waters in the real world first.

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8 thoughts on “A Mother’s Story About Why Her Kid Won’t Be Forced Into College

  1. Joyxe

    Why not help him search now for what he wants to go to college to be. I get your thinking if a person is rich. If you are now rich and can be there for your child financially while your child is finding himself then by all means tell him he doesn’t have to strive to go too college.

    Reply
    • Krystle Crossman Post author

      Hi Joyxe,

      I am not sure what being rich has to do with it. After high school he will be working if he isn’t going to college. He will be out in the job force finding out what careers interest him.

      Reply
  2. D's dad

    This article seems to be more about wasting money because the person didn’t know wanted to do for a living. I always tell my students (I work at a major university) if you find something you love to do you’ll never have a job, only happiness in the workplace. Maybe someone should have given the author a career assessment before they started down the road towards spending thousand of dollars. That might be better advice to give their child because no one should be forced to go to college even if their peers are doing so. But with the leading statement being what it is, I feel I should ask “shouldn’t it be your child’s choice whether they go to college?” I have a 10 year old and I’ve decided to help him with his choices, but ultimately when he becomes 18 it’s really his choice to go to college or pursue something else.

    Reply
  3. Bren

    There are many like her that entered with good intentions on choosing an education and career path, only to find out that it doesn’t make them happy. Once you begin studying it or have a chance to work the profession itself some can suddenly realize their once, clear career choice, doesn’t live up to their expectation. It is not what they thought it would be. So I can see how she jumped from one career to the next. Some people seek happiness in what they do for a living. She wasn’t happy and didn’t settle and continued to seek until she found something that suited her. Yes, a lot of money wasted. It’s life lesson she can pass on to her son. Some can stick with their original choice, education and career and decide to tough it out. But know full-well they aren’t happy. Happiness in what you do for a living is the true goal and for some it’s harder to discover.

    Reply
  4. DeeBee

    I wouldn’t advise you to allow anyone to force your child into college. But you are doing your child a disservice if you don’t encourage him to acquire additional skills after high school. A high school diploma alone don’t take you very far these days. It doesn’t have to be a college education, but additional training/skills would be beneficial.

    Reply
  5. Joyce

    Basing your poor choices should not be a framework for the child. This person was indecisive about their education, and have now place that mindset on the son.

    The is the parent’s story, there are more than 20+ “I’s” which make one know it is not about the son it is about the parent’s issues. The parent gained $11k worth of knowledge, so there is no waste.

    Let’s look back in what may have been a game changer, if the parent have begun saving $100 monthly toward the son’s education this would be a mute point.

    College degrees are in part a weeding source for the employment market; even more, the idiocy of a parent to think all experience and knowledge is free should rethink their life choices.

    Reply
  6. Fee

    Attending college and choosing what to study should not be taken lightly. It is obvious by this woman’s post that she was very undecisive in her educational pursuits and does not want her son to follow the same path which I can respect. Honestly, college should not be the option considered. Degrees do not make you rich and only set you up for a life of debt if you are not careful with financial planning. The degree often times ends up a ticket in the door for a miserable job. The rich teach their kids to go to college and create their own businesses. The middle class and the poor teach their kids to go to college and get a good paying job. Just a little food for thought.

    Reply

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