A Generation of American Men Give Up on College: ‘I Just Feel Lost’

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Dustin, Sep 6, 2021.

  1. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    Hmmm. I've said before that going into certain trades is like earning an associate's degree, at the very least. In some cases, people do earn a one-year certificate or associate's degree, and then they start working as an apprentice. You can get hired on with a union and get paid a living wage right away, but the unions in my area work in conjunction with the community colleges. Texas has standardized the training for electricians, plumbers, and HVAC-R technicians. To become a journeyman electrician or plumber, you need 8,000 hours of experience. Still, you don't need four years of post-secondary education, it's free to get your initial training through a union, and it's cheap to get your training from a community or public technical college. Where people usually screw up is paying tens of thousands of dollars to a for-profit trade school. SCI Texas charges $20,000 for its HVAC program.
    Acolyte likes this.
  2. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    I thought hard about doing an electrical apprenticeship when I was young and foolish. It takes four years and you get paid the whole time. But as I say, I was foolish and so opted for college instead.
  3. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    People leave out that the trades are very hard on your body. Same thing as "Just join the military for 20 years and you'll be set for life", and while that might be true - assuming you survive that long - you'll also have to put up with the physical toll that all those years takes on your body in a way that sitting at a desk does not.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Dustin makes a good point using this as an example, but I'm going to go after this particular notion really hard. Because it is nonsense.

    There was a time when it was ordinary to have served in the military. And if you didn't, you likely had close relatives who did. This was primarily through the draft, which went on in both times of peace and war. And from 1941 to 1975, we saw almost continuous general war--as opposed to regional skirmishes with occasional flare-ups. But with the end of the draft in 1971, plus the country's revulsion over Vietnam, military service became more and more remote from society in general. As a result, it has become mythologized--egged on by its portrayals in popular media. But it ain't so.

    Military life is not cushy, nor do they "take care of you" for life. (Or anything resembling it.) The vast majority of those who serve do not do so to retirement. Sure, they often leave with some benefits, but the life itself is hard. Imagine being sent to a foreign land for a year without your family or, as my son experienced, a war zone for months on end. They pay isn't very good (although it's better than when I served), and the benefits aren't all they're cracked up to be. (No, you don't get half-pay for life for serving 20 years. Far from it.) The GI Bill is cool, but not everyone gets it. (Neither my wife nor I--she served a decade and I served for a career--ever got it.) Then there's the difficulty in transitioning back to civilian life--as virtually everyone does.

    Don't get me wrong; I served and I benefitted greatly from it. But I don't even want to dwell on the personal and financial costs of doing so. And hardly anyone truly understands anymore. Instead, it's platitudes like, "Thank you for your service." They mean well, but I wish they'd take a moment to find out.
    nosborne48 and Dustin like this.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    Honestly, I think they need to find a job for the first two years upon high school graduation to see what they want to do in their life before attending college. Most of the high school graduates have no idea what they want as a career except passions. The problem is that most passions do not help to find good-paying jobs.
  6. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Well-Known Member

    I started an electrical apprenticeship at 19. While that was a long time ago, even than it was fairly competitive and I was the only apprentice in my cohort that didn't already have a degree or wasn't ex-military. High quality apprenticeships are even more competitive and rarer today. I wrapped up the creation of a new apprenticeship program for a large employer last week, and they're requiring apprentices to have degrees before even being considered eligible for the apprenticeship program.

    Hasn't that always been the case... or at least the perception?






    Note: Wouldn't be surprised if some of those quotes are historical myths.
  7. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I never know what to say about the "Thank you for your service" comment. I spent about five and a half years on active duty in the Navy during the Cold War and knocked about the Reserve until 2005. I didn't acquire enough points to retire with pay but I also never did anything I wasn't paid to do. I was away from home a lot, sea service does that, but my only involvement with a shooting war was in 1992 as a civilian merchant mariner bringing unused ordinance back from Saudi Arabia. Never shot nor shot at.

    Am a a veteran? Well, yes, I suppose so but I don't put myself in the same class as these combat service people you see everywhere these days. I paid no such price. Besides, in the Navy or Merchant Marine, I was commissioned or licensed. I was supposed to pursuing my profession not interrupting my life in the service of the Greater Good.

    Generally I avoid identifying myself as a veteran. It's just easier that way.
    Maniac Craniac and Rich Douglas like this.

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    I partially agree with you, especially "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE." I have no clue what to respond. But any of us sign up for the service expect to give up our lives to the country. Yes, some of us are lucky were never deployed to the combat zone, and some of us are lucky to be alive. Also, when you sign-up to volunteer to serve in the armed force, there is no guarantee of any salary or benefits. The only thing was guarantee was 3 meals per day and water.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  9. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    You know, TEKMAN, no servicemember I ever encountered, on duty or off, who was a combat veteran (remember, I went in not long after Vietnam ended so I served with a LOT of them) ever treated me with disdain or made me feel inferior. If anything, they envied me because I had NOT seen combat. I have no difficulty understanding why.
    Maniac Craniac likes this.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    If we're talking about the United States military, I don't understand this comment. Yes, you're guaranteed a salary. It's on a salary scale. You're also ensured housing (actual or in kind). Meals? Not so much. It depends on your grade and situation. Enlisted members living in unaccompanied quarters are sometimes--but not always--provided a dining facility. Otherwise, they--and everyone else living on- or off-base--are provided a subsistence allowance. (Enlisted members receive more than officers. And it's the same, regardless of grade or marital status.) All members on temporary duty away from their normal duty stations are also paid a per diem for meals.
    Air Force members take a ribbing from members of the other services, but we know....
  11. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

    You do get paid and benefits, but those are not guaranteed. Of course, I have never seen any service member get paid and benefits except those on deserter and in the brigs. When you enter the service, you have to sign a statement those are not guaranteed.
  12. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Well, I liked to say that I joined the Navy because of John Wayne movies. In the Army or Marine Corps he was always in a fox hole or charging into a machine gun nest. In the Air Force, he was being shot down or something equally unpleasant. In the NAVY, however, he was drinking coffee in the wardroom!
  13. TEKMAN

    TEKMAN Semper Fi!

  14. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I really don't understand this. Under what circumstances would troops not get paid or not see their benefits fulfilled? I don't recall this ever happening, and I've been around a long time.

    Huh? I've "entered the service" three times and I don't recall signing any such thing. Perhaps I missed it.
  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    So was Mister Roberts. It didn't end well.
  17. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Only because Mr. Roberts was a bit of a glory hound, may he rest in fictional peace.
  18. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure about Roberts being a glory hound. Remember the deal he made with the skipper? Even though he won the crew liberty in port, he promised to keep it a secret. The crew didn't know it was him until the captain blurted it out over an open mic.

    And remember how Roberts behaved after he made the deal? Pulver even thought Roberts might be bucking for a promotion, but Doc quashed that notion. Another point about Roberts putting duty over (self-) promotion.

    Another movie for which Fonda should have been awarded an Oscar. Lemmon won it for Best Supporting Actor, and the film was nominated for Best picture, but the Academy somehow overlooked the star. In fact, Fonda wasn't even nominated. (Ernest Borgnine won for his role in Marty, which also won Best Picture. I'll never know how either of those happened, and I liked Marty.)
  19. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    A more telling portrayal of the way the professional military officer thought at the time was the final Big Speech in Caine Mutiny.
  20. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    In any event, I'd still rather not be "thanked for my service". It's unnecessary and embarrassing.

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