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The Value Of A College Education

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Value of College 1

Like many in this country, I came from a family of immigrants. My father was born in St. Paul, MN, but his parents were from Russia and Latvia. My mother was born and raised in London, England. She grew up in London's slums, and my father also grew up in poverty. He came of age during the depression and both fought in WWII. These were the defining experience of their generation. Growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, my family constantly struggled to make ends meet. Both of my parents dropped out of high school, as did my sister later on. I was the only one to graduate, and the only one to attend college. One would think this would have made them proud, but they were both stuck in the "get a job, any job, work 45 years, get a gold watch, and die" mentality. They saw college as a waste of time.

I was originally a music major and attended Los Angeles City College right out of high school. My parents constantly inveighed against my choice of both school and vocation. I commuted an hour-plus each way to and from school and worked a series of fast-food jobs to pay for books, tuition and transportation. The constant pressure and lack of support took its tool, and I dropped out in 1978 before receiving my AA degree.

About ten years later, I decided to return to school, this time a trade school. I was shocked to experience the open hostility from my employers, which made it difficult at that time to continue. I finally wound up going back to community college in 1991. Again, I began to experience hostility from employers (I worked as a security guard at the time, and found it difficult to obtain assignments that did not conflict with my class schedule). I had to drop more classes than I actually completed, but finally received that elusive AA degree in 1999.

Value of College 2

A college education seemed important to me as an 18-year old, and it took on even greater meaning when I entered my 30's, and even more when I entered my 40's. I had begun to establish a decent employment record, but also began to feel the presence of a "glass ceiling" as never seemed to be able to progress beyond a certain professional level. As I got older, I saw more and more corruption and nepotism, people who shot to the top only due to family connections or who kissed ass relentlessly. I would never have the blessing of the former and had no interest in participating in the latter. But even after receiving the AA degree, I was told by a school counselor that I would need to complete several more classes to be eligible to transfer into the UC University system and finally begin work on my BA degree. I was really starting to feel discouraged,



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