Everyone looks forward to graduation. For the high school senior it seemed like the day would never come. The college graduate breathes a sigh of relief that several years of hard work have finally passed. The medical, law, or other various post college graduate may have spent more than one third of their lives achieving their milestone commencement ceremony. Families rejoice at the accomplishment and the graduate is now ready to embark on what the education has been all about – work and often lots of debt to repay.
Statistics vary on educational debt in America. I’ve read sources that say the average college graduate has debt over $50,000 and some stats are closer to $40,000 with some graduates having debt over $100,000. Most sources seem to agree that about 70 percent of college graduates have debt and over 40 million Americans owe $1.4 trillion in student loans.
High school seniors should spend some time talking with parents and high school counselors. College is not for everyone. Seriously consider spending the first year at a community college. That is typically a savings of thousands of dollars. Also, seriously consider a trade school. Trade school studies can typically be completed in one to two years. The savings has been estimated to be as much as $75,000 compared to a four-year degree. You will also have a two-year early entry into the workforce.
I’m grateful I had the opportunity to complete a college degree and beyond. I wanted to and it’s worked out great for me. A college education is a very rewarding option for many of America’s young adults but not everybody. Think about it. Make a plan. Talk to others. Don’t just arbitrarily go into debt. If you have a dream and a passion that a college degree will help you fulfill then you won’t feel so bad paying off debt.
It’s your life and your future. Make the best of it and happy graduation!
And now that summer is on the horizon, here are some tips for an enjoyable summer.
Turn off the television. Seriously how much of your life have you spent staring at the television? I grew up watching one channel most of the time and have surely parked a lot of my life in front of the tube. Television is good for a little entertainment, news and salvaging a boring day. However, life has to be more than television.
Limit yourself to no more than 15 to 20 minutes of social media every day. Actually every other day might be better. Wish your friends happy birthday. Stay in touch with significant people in your life and then turn it off.
Unplug yourself from negative people. Do you really need negativity in your life? You may be stuck with some at work and even family. However, stop catering to those people who drain you, resent and are envious of you. Spending time with people who constantly badmouth others and are angry about something is not enhancing your life.
This summer, be involved in doing. Visit your local state parks. Sit by a lake somewhere. Go fishing. Picnic. Take lots of walks. Sit on a porch with a friend or family member. Use your telephone for conversations. Garden some. Mow your grass. Sing in your church choir. Connect with a local exercise class. Shoot some basketball. Take some mini one or two day trips. Connect with people. Find a way to smell the roses and enjoy summer.
There is something about participating in life that makes life more like life. It doesn’t have to be on a grand scale or in a grand arena. However, it can be in your arena and it’s our individual lives we are talking about and that’s what will matter to you at the end of your summer.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books. His syndicated column is read in all 50 states. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of this paper or its corporate ownership.