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NYTimes freaks out as HS grads take $50k/year jobs rather than paying $50k/year for bullshit diplomas blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2012/12/28…
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) December 29, 2012
The NY Times has an article today about recent high school grads opting for jobs in the oil fields instead of heading off to the academic industrial complex:
SIDNEY, Mont. — For most high school seniors, a college degree is the surest path to a decent job and a stable future. But here in oil country, some teenagers are choosing the oil fields over universities, forgoing higher education for jobs with salaries that can start at $50,000 a year.
It is a lucrative but risky decision for any 18-year-old to make, one that could foreclose on his future if the frenzied pace of oil and gas drilling from here to North Dakota to Texas falters and work dries up. But with unemployment at more than 12 percent nationwide for young adults and college tuition soaring, students here on the snow-glazed plains of eastern Montana said they were ready to take their chances.
“I just figured, the oil field is here and I’d make the money while I could,” said Tegan Sivertson, 19, who monitors pipelines for a gas company, sometimes working 15-hour days. “I didn’t want to waste the money and go to school when I could make just as much.”
Of course, as Heather Mac Donald points out over at National Review, the NY Times writes from the angle that kids heading off to work in a tough blue collar industry instead of heading off to the Liberal indoctrination camps (colleges and universities) is something to be concerned about.
And why would this be alarming to Liberals? Because a young man who heads off to do a hard-days work in a man’s world, and then seeing how big a chunk of their hard-earned pay check the folks in D.C. are stealing from their checks — while at the same time avoiding the brainwashing indoctrination of Liberal academia — is likely to become a lifelong Conservative (assuming he doesn’t get sucked into forced union membership).
Heather gets it:
Let’s see. Where is a teenager more likely to learn the basic and transferable virtue of showing up every day and on time, not to mention how to get along with a boss and fit into an organization — as a communications and binge-drinking double major at Missoula State University, or as a mechanic fixing broken rig equipment? Too many high-school graduates are reflexively going to college as it is, without a clue what they are doing there or how to take advantage of higher education. Mandatory stints in the private economy before college enrollment could do wonders for study skills. If, by deferring or maybe even skipping college entirely, students were foregoing their one hope for immersion in Western civilization, there would indeed be grounds for regret. But colleges’ own curricular decisions have long since destroyed their right to present themselves as a gateway for precious knowledge of the past.
Been there, done that
Right after high school, I headed off to college at Baylor University in Waco, TX. I was able to afford this private school tuition thanks to a combination of grants and scholarships, supplemented by a full-time job at the local Steak-n-Ale restaurant.
However, after two years of school, my scholarship money was depleted, and the grants and my meagerly income as a waiter were simply not enough to continue my education at what was at the time my dream school. Not willing to go into insane debt from student loans, I withdrew from school and got a job as a deck hand on off-shore black oil barges and tankers.
After just a few hitches, I sat for the test and earned my Merchant Marines Tankerman’s license. I worked as a tankerman, a job which earned this 19-year old kid about $40k/year, for the next 2 1/2 years (until I joined the US Army in 1991).
Upon discharge from the US Army, I went back to work on sea-going black oil barges for about a year until deciding to use my military benefits to re-enroll in college and finally complete my degree, which I did just after my 30th birthday.
So few 18-19 year old kids are truly ready for college. They’re simply too young to really know what they want to do or be for the rest of their lives (indicative of the number of kids enrolling in useless degree programs in the Liberal arts). Many kids do not have the financial ability to afford rising college costs without going deeply into debt. And many more simply are not mature or disciplined enough for college.
If I were an 18-19 year old recent high-school graduate today? I’d either head straight for the military (which I think most able-bodied young men should do), or head for the oil fields in Montanan, North Dakota, or Louisiana) and earn a damned fine living for a young kid. They can always head off to college later in life to earn their degrees, if they grow tired of the physically taxing labor.