Today was graduation day for students at Northeastern University. I remember my graduation from there as if it was yesterday. I felt excited to be moving onto another part of my life, yet I was scared to death. I was returning home because I did not have a job in hand. You see, I graduated right smack dab in the middle of a recession, almost as bad as this one. But I was fortunate in that the entire country wasn’t participating. I packed my bag (how much stuff can one new grad have) and headed West. I got as far as Houston, where I landed on my cousin’s coach.
It’s amazing what you can do when you are on your own with no financial support. Within six week’s time, I had landed a job in my field. I feel a bit sorry for those people graduating Northeastern today. Not because many will be leaving without jobs. But because their parents will be boosting them up by continuing to pay for their room and board, and in some cases their car payments. Six months from now, their parents will offer to start paying down their college loans. Flash forward a year from now and what lessons have these graduates learned?
Many will continue to live a higher standard of living than their parents. They will have the funds to attend rock concerts that average well over a hundred dollars a ticket and to stop by Starbucks everyday for a skinny vente latte. Mean while, mom and dad will continue to look at one another and wonder, “where did we go wrong?” Some parents will eventually gain their strength and will lift their children up and toss them off the couch. Most however, will be too tired from working two jobs to take any action.
So as we raise a glass to the class of 2010, let us salute the parents who have chosen to continue educating their children. These are the people who have had the financial discussions with their children, who now understand they must contribute to the household or find another place to hang their i-pods. And to the rest of the folks I say, you reap what you sow.
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