Thought I wanted to be a lawyer…

claire-cowling

Veronica’s Story:

I grew up watching Law & Order.  I fell in love with the show because of the big reveals in court.  Of course there was some shocking detail that nailed the evildoer to the wall.  Guilty! Justice served!  I joined debate team and Woman in Law club.  I happily checked the prelaw box of my college applications.  I didn’t even celebrate when I was accepted to every law school that I applied to.  I never doubted my path to success.  Where ever success was I was going to head in that direction. 

I hated law school.  No worries.  Hating law school was that small piece of pain right before you accomplish something.  Like the thigh burn before completing those twenty six miles of a marathon.  I had outlets.  Before a demanding study session I crocheted a few lines of doubles on the blanket for my nephew.  During Christmas break I built a coffee table out of used wine bottles or crafted a mosaic design on an end table.

I finally reached that promise land paved with gold and accomplishment.  I was recruited by one of those firms with a million partner names that forces a cumbersome abbreviation.  I admit it took some months for the shininess associated with this lifestyle I had worked so hard for to dim.  I didn’t understand why my feet hurt after hours of stiletto stomping around the office.  Did Sex in the City Miranda ever have gripping, aching feet?  She work Manolos.  I didn’t understand why I wanted home cooked meals even though I could afford take out.  Why did I continue to make furniture even though I could afford to purchase any home décor I wanted?  Where was my time?  Where was all of the relaxing and enjoying life that this tax bracket entitled me to?  I was tired of hiding my tattoos and avoiding the magenta hair dye at the beauty supply store. 

After a year of lawyering I told my mom about the change I wanted to make.  She scoffed, “Do you really think you can switch from corporate attorney to interior designer just like that?  You owe $195,000 in student loans.”

I wish research about my career path involved more than a television show.  I don’t know how to get out of this…

President Obama’s Legacy on Student Loans

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When he announced his candidacy in 2007, Barack Obama looked like he could be the one to finally stand up to the student lending system.  He was one of only two members on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee not to have taken money from the Sallie Mae PAC.  In this position he was privy to HELP Committee  and other reports detailing a broad swath of illegal and deceptive activities by the lenders, the universities, and even the Department of Education…

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/education/279512-president-obamas-horrible-terrible-legacy-on-student-loans

Higher Education in the 21st Century

o-school-facebookThe meaning of education has become misconstrued. There does not seem to be a way to become educated without enrolling in a university or college.  This evolution would not be problematic if students were leaving college prepared to enter the work force.  Companies continue to recruit human resources overseas as American colleges and universities slip in international rankings.  This problem is compounded by the exponential growth of tuition costs and mounting student loan debt.  There are some benefits to study at colleges and universities, however, it is detrimental to consider college degrees the only road to accomplishment.  For many, undergraduate degrees only guarantees extensive study of content unrelated to intended careers, and tremendous financial debt.

It is time to reimagine pathways to success.  Higher Education envisions 21st century scholarship by providing students with the following:

Meaningful work experience guided by successful professionals in the field

Locations where the prospective field has grown, thrived, or become well established

Participation and collaboration with cohort members in efforts to found businesses, programs, or services

Affordability

Extensive research based in current discourse and literature about the prospective field

Rigorous standards and requirements that make alumnus competitive in the current job market and college application process

Traditional coursework directly related to prospective career path

Discussions, coursework, and project collaborations driven by student interests

Instead of simulations, real project work expected to have long lasting impact and permanence

educatehigher.org

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