Hi, friends! Welcome to Day 18 of our 40 Days of Birthday Gifts!
This one might be more of a “stuff Marla used to write” post (like with opinions and what have you) than a happy little give-away post. Feel free to scroll to the bottom if you’d like.
I don’t mind.
Why do you hate higher education??? they want to know.
I do not hate higher education. (I also do not hate America. Or cats. Or Christmas.)
Here’s what I have said (and will continue to say) about college:
If you are going to college “because it’s just what people do,” then I think it’s a big waste of time and money.
If you have no idea what you want to do with your life, or no idea if you will EVER be able to pay back your debt, or no idea if a college degree will translate into a job that will pay for those years of education, then I think you should explore alternative options.
And, ideally, that should start when you’re 12. Or 8. Or 3.
(I love Esther’s story. She picked up a camera at 8, was homeschooled and graduated at 16, took a photography course at a community college, and now travels the world and helps people through her photography, which is in super high demand. We got to meet her here in Cambodia last month, and I think she’s AMAZING.)
I just lament the fact that kids these days have no time or energy to pursue what they’re really passionate about. To read or draw or cook or care for animals or study the moon or play the piano or learn about the world or explore the woods (or etc etc etc).
Or just BE. Like soak up the world around them in a not-rushed, freeing sort of way.
I don’t hate college. And I’m not totally against it. I do think it’s over-rated. And certainly not for everyone. And not always worth the price tag.
(I AM for education, particularly education for girls, particularly particularly for girls in places around the world where girls are not expected or allowed to go to school & learn. This is a whole different conversation. My teenage Somali friends? I absolutely encourage them to go to college. Anyway.)
A few weeks ago I was reading a really old (but good) book called Girl of the Limberlost that Gabe’s Grandma Marilyn gave me for my birthday years ago. And a young man says these words to 19-year-old Elnora, the main character of the book:
“What you have to give is taught in no college, and I am not sure but you would spoil yourself if you tried to run your mind through a set groove with hundreds of others… I honestly believe it; give up the college idea. Your mind does not need that sort of development… I do not know why it is the fate of the world to always want something different from what life gives them… my girl, you are in college, and have been always. You are in the school of experience, and it has taught you to think and given you a heart… what you should do is to begin early to practice self-expression. College be confounded! Go to work and show people what there is in you!”
My oldest daughter has sworn off college (mostly because of the exorbitant cost & because she doesn’t want to learn about things she doesn’t care about & because she has no desire to leave Cambodia ever, except for short trips to the States), but she may end up going. Who knows? Either way is fine with her parents (if she does go, she will need to pay her own way–preferably without borrowing money).
She is OBSESSED with Khmer school right now. LOVES it with every fiber of her being. Is already lamenting the day a few months from now when she will have graduated from the whole thing, the youngest person ever to do so (she’s in a class with people from age 21 to 57).
WHAT WILL I DO THEN?? she wants to know.
She’d like to work as a translator. And do art on the side. And help people. And show them Jesus. And she’s right when she says she doesn’t need a college degree to do that. She’s already doing it at 14.
I’m all for pursuing dreams & doing things unconventionally & being brave enough to question the status quo. And last year I wrote an ebook (an unschooling manifesto) about it. It’s not the definitive word on any of that, but it’s a nice collection of my thoughts on the topic.
And Livi designed the cover. And charged me nothing. SCORE.
And I know people who don’t have kids (and, if they did, they have no plans to ever unschool them), and they still enjoyed the book.
Today, I’m giving away a copy of an unschooling manifesto to EVERYONE who leaves a comment. And ONE lucky winner will get this one-of-a-kind original freehand drawing by Olivia Joy Taviano.
(and you can’t tell from the pic, but the ocean is blue)
To be entered to win Livi’s drawing, tell me what you wanted/want to be when you grow up.
(And if you want the e-book–I know it’s not for everyone–just say, “e-book please.”)
And if you want Livi to make & sell more art, let her know.
See you tomorrow for another give-away!