Tuesday, May 6, 2008

live from the plantation

I'm sipping dark beer. The box had Hunter Thomspon on it. Good marketing. Some of the money goes to build the Gonzo Monument, that two-thumbed fist. I'm for it. I'm on the fence about the beer, though. Dark beer is foreign to me. I fear it. I'm intrigued by it. I make faces when I drink it.

Speaking of foreign, I had my Spanish final today. I passed it. I may even get a B in the class. I'm a horrible student. With my student loan count tipping the scales at about $8,000, I'm thinking it might be time to cut my losses.

My boss, Regina, is a woman who at times is hard to understand. The other day, however, she imparted advice to me that rang crystal clear: "Unless you need the degree for a specific job, college is mostly pointless."

She's right. My mother went to college and got a degree so that she could become a teacher. My dad completed college to be an officer, but when he got out of the military, what good was a Bachelor's in English?

My uncle has a degree in History. He works for BMW.

At Kirkland's, I work with two ladies that have their Bachelor's. At one time, I worked with a woman who had her Master's. These people make the same money I do, give or take a few bucks an hour. None of them make what Regina makes, and she has no college education.

What good is my Communication bachelor's going to be if I want to write for a living? What good, for that matter, would a Creative Writing degree be? Rob Vollmar, a gentleman I greatly respect and a writer himself, told me that "No one ever became a better writer by going to college."

Unless, I suppose, you want to write about colleges.

Now, don't get me wrong. College was fun. Anyone who says, "It's not about the destination, it's about the journey" with regards to higher education has a point. That is, if you don't have to pay for it. The first few years of my matriculation in El Paso were paid for by my grandparents, and they were awesome. I'm already nostalgic for them, and they only ended a year ago.

But the fun ends where the bill begins. And I have quite a bill.

I wonder how long it would take to pay $8,000 off? With my earnings, probably five years.

Is anybody else having similar crises? Anyone feeling crippled by the cost of college? Anyone picking up their diploma and finding that they have nowhere to go with it?

I've been finding a lot of comfort and understanding in Mr. Lif's "I, Phantom". That album has been spinning in my car consistently. Specifically number 4, "Live From the Plantation." I can relate.

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