19 votes

Need some DP advice! Help a future college student out!

Hey there everyone!

This is my first post on the DP. I've been reading and visiting this site for well over a year now and recently decided to join to get in on the discussions. The community is great :)

To business. I am a junior in high school and, as I'm sure you well know, all of these colleges and federal aid offers are being thrown everywhere. Being the Ron Paul guy I am, whenever I hear anything about "federal student aid" I usually ignore it. That's another issue, though.

In my list of decisions I've mentally made for myself for my life after high school, one of my options I'm considering is something called a "gap year." For those who don't know what that is, it's essentially taking a year off before college and either deferring your start until a later date or applying exactly a year after high school ends.

The only reason I've even considered a gap year is due to the fact I believe it is extremely immature to borrow a massive amount of money for college and then go in not knowing what I'll likely end up doing or if I'll even get a decent job to pay it all back. My peers tend to think they'll be alright, you know, they'll graduate college, get their dream job, and pay it all back quickly. I guess I know that's too good to be true these days.

I should also note that my parents run their own apparel business and my gap year would be spent entirely working for them. That's approximately $800-$1000 a month, more in the summer. I don't believe in laziness, so the idea of be never returning or continuing my education would never happen. I am open to anything. I just have an issue of spending money I don't have (I can thank Dr. Paul for that :-))

I am just looking for some advice on this. I've seen how knowledgeable and amazing some people are on here and thought it'd be a good place to ask.

In liberty!

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Michael Nystrom's picture

I think that is a great idea

Back in my day, college wasn't that expensive. If I recall, it was about $650 per quarter, for instate tuition at a public university. I worked on campus and made $10 per hour, so tuition wasn't more of an inconvenience than anything else. I realize that times have changed.

I think a gap year, or two, is a great idea. School is a sheltered existence. Working is great experience. But if I may suggest further, I'd say don't just work for your parents. You probably already know that business. Unless they really need you, then I'd say look at other options, in a field you might be interested in working in.

My first job was at McDonald's. I worked there for a couple of years, and learned a great deal. Then I worked as a secretary in an architect's office. Then I got into the temp pool at the University, and got to work in all kinds of different places on campus. One of my jobs was driving brain surgeons who were in town for a conference from their hotel downtown to the conference on campus. Even I thought that was a bad idea: A 20 year old kid driving a van full of the top brain surgeons in the country! But it sure was interesting.

Here is the thing: Once you get out of school and get tracked into a job, and a family, etc, your freedom and options get very limited. This is one of the few times you get to be really, really free. Unfortunately, most people don't recognize it or take advantage of it at the time.

Don't worry about being "on schedule." Everyone has their own schedule. Take a couple years off. And if possible, go travel!

When I was 19, after my first year of college, I dropped out and went to go teach English in Japan. That was another complete trip.

I tell you these things as a reminder that you are the architect of your own life. You can really do whatever you want to, if you put your mind to it.

If you haven't seen it, watch Steve Job's 2005 Stanford University commencement speech. If you haven't seen it, it is awesome:

Steve starts talking around 7:00.


Best of luck, and welcome to the Daily Paul!

Thank You, Fool!

Beautiful speech from Jobs.

Love, Death and Foolishness. These are the elements of the True Philosophy of Life. By the way the key elements also of Plato's Philosophy.

"Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish."

"Air is the very substance of our freedom, the substance of superhuman joy....aerial joy is freedom."--Gaston Bachelard--

Michael Nystrom's picture

There is indeed wisdom in foolishness

Actually I forgot about how he ended it. "Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish." Thanks for the reminder.

Love, Death and Foolishness. These are the elements of the True Philosophy of Life. By the way the key elements also of Plato's Philosophy.

Excellent. I'll try to remain as foolish as possible.

Great advice

I am a current college student who is doing it the opposite of the OP as I see college getting more expensive by the year...so why delay it? You, however, lost me at the Steve jobs video, since the person that Steve jobs was is the exact definition of a tyrannical leader...and yes they exist in the private sector!

Jury Nullification is a power of the last resort against tyranny.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Absolutely a tyrannical leader

And of course they exist in the private sector! That is how you get things done, and that is what the private sector is all about. Noam Chomsky calls corporations "Private Tyrannies:"

Just remember that when you graduate from college, you'll be expected to join up with one of those "private tyrannies." And depending on which one you join, expect to check your "rights" at the door, and expect:

- dress codes
- drug tests
- no freedom of speech
- having your hours tightly controlled and monitored ("At your desk by 8:00am, son!")
- having your electronic communications tightly monitored and controlled via keystroke loggers.

The Constitution doesn't apply inside those private tyrannies.

Once you check in, you may as well be a slave. The only difference is they throw you some FRNs every two weeks in exchange for your freedom.

I'll bet you didn't learn that in college!

Thanks for the vid, Michael

I've never seen that speech until now. It made me cry. Jobs is not the most charismatic speaker, but wow, he packs a punch. I also did not know he was adopted. I think most adults many years past college age could learn something from that.
Thanks again!

Michael Nystrom's picture

I'm glad you liked it

That is a great speech, and has been an inspiration to me throughout the years.

Glad I was able to share that with you.

reedr3v's picture

Your analysis of your options is clear-headed.

You've already educated yourself beyond the scope of most of your peers. One of your many options is to continue as an autodidact until you are sure you want to invest your time in a particular educational institution with a specific goal that requires a degree.

Michael Nystrom's picture

Hi Reed!

Long time no see. Nice to see you back around these parts. I've missed you.

reedr3v's picture

Hi Michael, I can't be as activist as previously

due to a disastrous pedestrian/car accident my daughter suffered in October. She's in an acute rehab hospital. It has turned all our lives upside down, inside out. An excruciating, steep learning curve that demands nearly total focus of my energy toward her recovery.