Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Question Millennials Didn't Ask

A friend of the family has a kid that is the right age to go to college.

As a friend my advice was asked.

Naturally my reply  was, "for fuck's sake don't go to college unless you have an actual reason to go there.  It's monumental waste of precious time.  You'll only end up enslaved to your student loan debt and I do mean enslaved.  Those damn things are non-dischargeable  Debt Bondage is the oldest type of slavery in the world so I when I said enslaved, I meant enslaved.  Why if..."

I want to be a veterinarian.  

(*Cataline gives a long tired sigh*)  Well I knew the kid had the brains for it and wasn't going to be dissuaded by me.

"Fine forget about the Pre-vet program, it's garbage to suck the money out of idiots who can't get into the grad school program.  Get a double major in Animal Science and Micro-biology.  Also get adopted by a Native American tribe because the Dean of Admission is a complete SJW who will turn you down flat just for being White.

"Also you'll want to interview your potential college while they are interviewing you."

What do you mean?

"Ask them questions, like..."  And here I gave the kid a list.  I was a little surprised I needed to.  That was pretty standard stuff when I was a kid.  It turned out that times had changed.

A lot.

I later asked the kid's mom how it went and she said, "Okay" in a manner that meant that it wasn't.

"What's wrong?" I wanted to know.

Plenty as it turned out.  When the kid had asked, "how much money can I expect to earn in the first year with this degree?

The answer from this major university was effectively, fucked if we know.

It turned out that that kid was first one to ask that question in fifteen years.  Think about that for a second.  They stopped, getting asked that question by potential students in 2002.  I honestly couldn't blame the college for not bothering to know what the answer was when it would cost money to survey the first year graduates.  Why spend that money for a question that isn't going to get asked.

How much is your degree worth? Is easily the most important question you can ask a college if like me, you neglected to be born into money.

And for the last fifteen years.  Every college freshmen was acting like they were born into money.  How on Earth was this very basic planning for post graduate survival ignored?

Cataline shall now quote Cataline:

Gen X frequently asks the question, what the hell is wrong with the Millennials?

They live in padded bubbles where nothing bad can reach them. Entirely free from the merciless ravages of reality.  How is this possible?

I recently ran across a statistic that shocked me.  I didn't believe it at first and then I started running it through the mazes of my mind.  And I realized it was perfectly true.

Almost everyone born before 1961 went through a period of malnutrition at some point in their lives. 

Think about that for a moment or two.  Almost everyone.

Food wasn't as plentiful or anywhere near as cheap as it is now.  Prior to 1961 if the meat was past it's sell by date and vegetables were wilted, you boiled them to death and seasoned the hell out of them.  You then tried not to think about the taste and you roared at your kids if they didn't finish everything on their plate because what was on their plate was it.  There was nothing else available, the cupboard was usually bare.  Making kids eat gone off food was a matter of survival.  It was also a matter of personal humiliation if you were their Dad.  Backyard gardens were everywhere and they had nothing to do with eating healthy other than it was healthy to eat.  A few backyard chickens were often an edge against non-survival.  Weasels and chicken-hawks were a threat to your family's existence. 

Those days were gone but not at all forgotten for Generation X, when we were kids. 

Saltine crackers and milk were still a treat when I was a kid, not the emergency rations they are now.  If Mom bought Ritz crackers you knew you were having company that night because they sure as hell weren't for you.  If you didn't eat everything on your plate, you were morally bankrupt as a seven year old human. 

Generation X was the first generation born and raised without the physical threat of starvation hanging over their heads.  But the societal memory was still there.  We were raised in an environment where there was always the question in the back of our parents minds, 'will there be enough to eat tonight?'

There always was of course but the demands of a clean plate at the end of every meal lead to Gen X's notorious problem with it's waist line.  Fat cell numbers are set in childhood but stay constant in adulthood.  If you are fat as a kid you are going to be fighting a weight problem your whole life.

But as I said we were raised in the memory of hard times. Hungry times.  Survival urgency was real for us as a threat, even if it was a threat held in the abeyance all of our lives.

A real threat to your survival is the ultimate reality.  It keeps you grounded.

When the Millennials came along, even the memory of real hunger had faded.

Think about really beautiful girls and I don't mean good looking.  I mean no shit actual TENs.  Can you name one that isn't ditzy as hell?  Of course you can't.  Beautiful girls are raised in a bubble where everyone is kind to them and smiles at them whenever they walk into a room.  They are insulated from the harshness of casual cruelty because everyone wants to keep beautiful girls smiling beautifully.  No one wants to hurt their feelings, (*notable exception of course being other beautiful girls.  Hurting a beautiful girl's feelings are very much on the table then*).


They grew up in a world where there hasn't been want for two generations.  They don't have anyone in their family who was in danger of starving to death ever.

But they could be first.  And sooner than they think.


RobM said...

Good oh. And to your point about growing up and what we ate, I think you could easily push that date to born after 1972 or something. I was born in 63 and we had a big family and the food issues the author mentions were same at our house, cept no chickens. That would have been cool.

Mom cooked lots of casseroles and pasta. Liver and onions or round-steak that was about to completely turn brown in the wrapper were pounded , dusted with flour and meat in general , was a infrequent treat.

I do know youngers that grew up, same area, same income bracket, but born in early 70's and by then, there seemed a noticeable change, even in our house. Most incomes really improved in the early 70s' too it seems. In any event, I think growing up treasuring getting Ritz crackers or meat has made me much better grounded. I wouldn't trade it... and plus, back then, we knew we didn't have money, but neither did anyone in our neighborhood or school.

Benjamin van der Voorn said...

Hi Cataline, I'm a student starting university (which is college to you yanks) this year. Can I ask what all your other questions for the universities are? They sound very useful. Cheers.

Cataline Sergius said...

You are better off interviewing departments than the university per say at this point but here are a few off the top of my head.

How hard is it to get into upper-level courses as a freshman?

Is there opportunity for independent study within this major?

Is there an opportunity to be involved with advanced research within my major?

What kinds of internship experiences would be possible if I majored in this field?

What percentage of students from last year’s class found jobs in their field? Last 5 years currently employed in this field

How many students from last year's senior class went on to graduate school?

NAMEHERE is my first choice for housing. What chance do I have getting it as a first-year?

How many upperclassmen live off campus?

What kind of student is unhappy here?

What are the required Freshman classes for all students?

How is the advising system set up for freshmen and who does the advising?

Good luck!