Just Say No to Saying No

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When I read yet another article minimizing the value of a college education I am challenged by thoughts of privilege.  Yes, Steve Jobs, an individual I greatly admire, was a college dropout, but at least he had the opportunity to give it a try. Mark Zuckerberg’s intelligence and initiative is without question, but how many students can realistically include Harvard on their college wish list? And then walk away from the opportunity?

I do not discount hard work, enterprise, and determination. But for those of us who are simply above-average, or first-generation, or of a marginalized population, college is the pathway to get a step ahead, a leg up, a move toward potential success. Yes, student loan debt and college costs demand answers, but denying the value of learning, but for an elite few, is not the answer. Just say Go. Go to college.

Open Doors

Happy Anniversary to to the eighteen and life blog!

Much has happened here in the last four years. Each post reminds me of the events, coursework, research, and friendships that have framed this blog. The topic cloud on the right highlights my work and my passions: student affairs, higher education, first-year students. As the posts have been sparse this year while I work on my dissertation, I appreciate that you are sticking with me.

Here’s a video reminder that as doors open for you, be sure to pay it forward and open doors for others.

Thirteen Rules

I caught a segment on my favorite morning program last week featuring General Colin Powell promoting his new book. The book includes thoughts on life and leadership including thirteen rules that have framed Powell’s leadership vision. I am not certain if I was having an introspective moment, but the words resonated with me so much that I picked up the book later that day. I am still reading, but here are the basics. Think about a challenging situation that you have recently faced…the rules may have meaning for you, as well.

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done.
  5. Be careful what you choose: You may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make some else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.

Is College Worth It?

I have written before about how challenging I find suggestions that college has no value. When research suggests that learning or critical thinking is not occurring on the college campus, I know that I see otherwise at my university, with my students. Does the academe have work to do? You bet. But creating a society of education privilege where only certain individuals are encouraged to pursue a degree is not an answer.

This Chronicle editorial suggests we are already creating that privilege by pricing a large portion of the population out of the higher education pool.

…going to college is worth it, but going to any college at any price may no longer be worth it. ~Jeff Selingo

But for another viewpoint here is an interesting debate of whether too many students are attending college. It highlights the argument that increased access to higher education has little influence on economic growth. And although I find this argument insulting to education and our students, it is worthy for discussion. Who decides who attends college?

To ask whether too many people are going to college begs another question: If too many people are going to college, then who are these people?  How should we as a society ration a more restricted level of educational opportunity?  ~Peter Sacks

Consider the students in your office today. Which ones could you single out as not being eligible for higher education?

Outside the lines.

It’s like you come onto this planet with a crayon box. Now you may get the 8-pack, you may get the 16-pack but it’s all in what you do with the crayons – the colors – that you’re given. Don’t worry about coloring within the lines or coloring outside the lines – I say color outside the lines, you know what I mean? Color all over the page; don’t box me in! We’re in motion to the ocean. We are not land locked, I’ll tell you that.  ~Boat Car Guy, Waking Life

Jesus. Ghandi. Mother Teresa. Martin Luther King, Jr. Amelia Earhart. Walt Disney. Harriet Tubman. John Lennon. Joan of Arc. George Washington. The greatest, most inspiring figures in the history of mankind have one thing in common: they were non-conformists. They colored WAY outside the lines.  ~Jason Kotecki

Keep the Ball Rolling

There are those occasional days when perhaps it is raining buckets and you are in back to back meetings making your head spin and you finally make it home and just need something to make you smile. And as today was one of those days, what made me smile was this post on the zen wisdom found in a video of a little horse chasing a giant ball. Thanks to Jennifer Blackwell for sharing.

Read more about Einstein and be sure to check out the video and his Twitter. You’ll smile too.

Future Earnings

As a student affairs professional and higher education advocate, I am exhausted by recent events discounting the value of a college degree. Yes, I am looking at you, Mr. Stanford Educated Peter Thiel. Thankfully, there are enough critical thinkers in the media who are willing to defend the value of education from stories such as:  Debt-Laden Graduates Wonder Why They Bothered With College.

Why the Media is Always Wrong About the Value of a College Degree

The Long, Sad History Of ‘College Not Worth It Anymore’ Articles

Does College Still Pay?

And my logical thinking favorite:

Where is the Best Place to Invest $102,000–In Stocks, Bonds, or a College Degree?

…the recession has not fundamentally changed the math: although a college degree has upfront costs, it is important to remember that it is an investment that pays off over time.

Choose another street

I enjoy finding forgotten resources while organizing my computer files on a rainy Friday afternoon.


From There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk
By Portia Nelson

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There’s a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Not the Alice you were looking for

My partner and I have daily conversations about who can depart work at what time and transport our children from school to home to soccer/piano/library/name your favorite miscellaneous activity. I mentioned that we need an “Alice” to help keep our busy schedules.

The Dad: Alice? Do we have zombies running around?

Me: Huh? You know, Alice. Alice from The Brady Bunch.

The Dad: Oh, I thought you meant Alice from Resident Evil.