College in the Twenty-First Century

A short poem about the millennial college experience.

College seems like a given
Through tournaments and mom’s taxi service driving here and there
Research papers that almost were not
Finished only in the minutes before the school day began
Yet, endured for the promise of one day
Over yonder, a good job and a move away

Pay Here ImageThe parent, nostalgic for carefree days, fully engages in the college search
Rearranging vacations to expose their young to the possibilities
All, soon enchanted by the alluring
Shiny, new recreation centers and location near the beach
Wouldn’t this be a great place to study for the next four years?
Fulfilling a lifetime of work?

Yet, parents (and increasingly students) wonder, “How will we pay?”
Especially with other siblings expecting the family’s support
College is shifting from a rite of passage–
Paid for by good grades, increasing wages, and confidence to borrow
To a question of value

Is the the next generation ready, who are qualified on paper for admissions–
Yet, when faced with defining their vision for their college essays, stammer, “Ummm…”
To define the value of college at 17?

Perhaps this unknowing has always been true for previous college freshmen
And, the 4 years, the opportunity to figure out an answer…
But, the millennials have the (mis)fortune of a $250,000 price tag highlighting
The need to define
Rather than later.

Photo Credit: Art Baird, Creative Marbles Consultancy 2012