Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Dear Ma'am: "I Don't Want to Go to College..."

Quinelle's column (usurped after her mother and father abandon Quinelle and Qeah) is now called "Dear Ma'am."

Keep in mind that Quinelle and Qeah, as de facto emancipated minors, are supporting themselves with freelance work. (Quinelle with her mother's column and Qeah selling domain names and setting up websites).

Quinelle offers a piece of advice that disagrees with a recent "Dear Abby" column:
Dear Ma'am,

Next year, I will graduate from high school. I'm a good student who works hard, but I'm not about to set the academic world on fire. More than anything, I want to be an artist.

My problem: I don't want to go to college, at least not yet, but go to work and paint on the side.

My parents insist that I MUST go to college or leave home, but maybe they're just trying to scare me into applying to colleges.

My mom recently showed me a "Dear Abby" column which says that young people ought to listen to their parents because they know best, but my heart isn't in it.

I know all the arguments: I need college to get a good job, and if I don't go now, I never will.

I'm not ruling college out entirely, just postponing it.

I'm so confused.

What should I do?
--A Reluctant Scholar
Dear Reluctant Scholar,

I know for a fact that parents aren't always right.

In this case, you should do what you want, which, if I'm hearing you correctly, includes working at a menial job for a while, while painting on the side, maybe college later (or not).

With all due respect, Abby is full of baloney and ought to be lashed with a wet noodle: at this point, your going to college could be a financial disaster for your parents because of your apathetic attitude toward higher education. College is difficult enough when you are enthusiastic about it, but your tepid feelings should be a warning to your parents.

College isn't for everyone, even for the very brilliant. For example, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates never graduated from college, and they haven't done too shabbily, right?

If your parents kick you out, you CAN make it on your own.

I know a story about a girl whose parents just up and left one day. She and her baby sister are doing just fine, thank you, paying all the bills and making a good living freelancing and going to high school at the same time (I can't be more specific because the girls are still minors).

I suspect that your parents will NOT kick you out, but if you suspect the opposite, now is the time to start looking for a job (and painting, I'm afraid, will not pay the bills, unless you are incredibly lucky). Start part time, after school and weekends; perhaps after high school you'll get a full time spot there or somewhere else. Employers like their potential employees to present a solid work record, so do your best.

And here's where I would take the parental side: under no circumstances should you live off your parents like a leech. After graduation, if you can't find a job, I would suggest a course or two at the community college, just as a good faith effort, and to find out where your interests lie. Also, you should do everything possible to help your parents around the house, such as boring old house and yard work. You need to learn early on that every action (or non-action) has consequences.

Your parents seem to love you very much, and you should be grateful to them for that.

You are SO lucky.
Every column will reveal something important about the Quinella family.

I may change the title to "Dear Ma'am," but I haven't made up my mind yet.

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