Boomers: Why or Why Didn’t We Go To College?

One thing I never want to happen, but I know does, is that potential new friends here may decide we cannot relate because I spent so much time at the university. To tell you the truth, this discrepancy never even occurs to me.

My own observation about boomers and college:

Those who didn’t go to college often wish they had had the chance.

Those who did go sometimes wonder why they bothered.

How many boomers went to college anyway? Census data estimates that 28.8 percent of Baby Boomers have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher, while another 28.9 percent have attended some college classes.

It seems family views and monetary pressures were the largest influence on why many of us attended college. Because my Dad was a professor, everyone in my family got free tuition at Colorado College. We all went there at some time including my Mom.

I guess I always assumed that those who didn’t go to college didn’t want to, but I see now how parental encouragement or total non-encouragement played an important role. Mike’s father didn’t offer any support or encouragement. It was the old, “the Navy training was good enough for me, so it’s good enough for you!” And this was during the Vietnam War! I also learned from Mike that a lot of us learn more easily from doing, not listening to some long-winded professor. Some of us are physical and visual learners.

Overjoyed at college graduation… back when I had all the answers!

I was raised by a college professor and a teacher. I was totally brain-washed that college is good for you. My Dad and Mom were the first kids in their family to go to college, and I would have to say it was “very, very good to them.” It was also a career-maker for me, and I truly appreciate that fact, but that isn’t where I learned the most important lessons in my life. Not even close. In the end, I attended graduate school for a specific career.

I think we learn our most important lessons by living our lives and paying close attention to what works for us, and what doesn’t. What careers or work environments bring out the best in us? What jobs feed on our own natural abilities and talents? Unfortunately I had to wait until I quit work altogether to learn the most about my natural interests and talents.

Gardening: An old friend who has come in handy in retirement!

Ask yourself today: What would you do if you had all the time in the world? What activities make you lose touch with time and place and take you away to your own great place in your head? Now I only do what gets me going and I have the time to observe exactly what that is. For me now it is gardening, anything with vivid colors, photography, cooking, yoga….

8 thoughts on “Boomers: Why or Why Didn’t We Go To College?

  1. Like you my parents were college graduates and valued education. I had a full tuition scholarship which allowed me to spend my junior year in Istanbul. I realized I had a degree that wouldn’t lead to a job so I got my Masters Degree in a field I like and had a long career as a librarian. I do love books and helping people so a good career choice for me. I would love to see vocational training come back in a big way, in high schools and colleges.Many people don’t want or need a college degree.


  2. Yes Terra, me too. I was a librarian for 25 years and that M.A. was just vocational training. I thought I love libraries and research so why not be a librarian, plus I was desperate for a decent job at that point! I agree about vocational training. We need many very specific skills in our world today.


  3. I have a B.A. I didn’t want to go to college but it was my family’s expectation. I had an uncle (and an aunt!) who were doctors, an uncle who was a college professor, although my Dad wasn’t a professional….you get the drift. If given all the time in the world, I would follow my interest in photography, in travel, in growing flowers, and perhaps go back to making potpourri, something I haven’t done in years.


  4. Loved college! and learned a lot. Mostly about people and life. But many of the skills they taught me for my Journalism degree, I use still. Thank you Lethbridge College!


    • Yes Diane, I have also loved all kinds of learning and I was made for college and grad. school four degrees later. The things I am learning now are so different and important to complete my life.


  5. Everything you said, pro and con, I agree. I’m glad I went to college. It exposed me to things I wouldn’t have known, and it gave me the skills to be a writer and a photographer… things I treasure. Right now I’m gardening a lot, watering some of my outdoor plants twice a day to keep them alive in this heat. Your garden is beautiful. xoxox, B


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