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LETTER: Second thoughts on post-secondary education

Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's Campus.
Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador St. John's Campus. - Kenn Oliver

We need to stop sending our youth to college and university right after high school. I think that is a mistake.

Most students should enter the work force after high school. Get an apartment with a roommate or two, find a job and plan to return to post-secondary studies at around age 28.

There would be some obvious exceptions.

Some people may be gifted, or others may know exactly what they and want and should certainly go for it if passionate about something. But many of the students we send to college directly after high school should not go that route.
Let me give an example.

Two young women, high school friends decide to take my advice. After high school they find an apartment and begin to look for work. One finds a job waiting tables at a restaurant. She is getting daily tips, so she is content. The other, well, she loves animals and found a job at a zoo starting out cleaning the animals cages.
Well 10 years pass. These two women are now 28 years old and living separately, maybe involved in a romantic relationship.

The one who was waiting tables is now the assistant manager of that restaurant. But you know what, she wants more, she wants a change, so she decides to go back to school. She has saved money, so she will be able to if not all at least pay a significant portion of her tuition, resulting in her being debt free upon graduation.

The other is now running her own enclosure at the zoo and couldn't be any happier with her job. She is well on her way in her career and she didn’t waste any time or money getting a post-secondary education.
By doing this, another of Canada's problems could be solved — filling low-paying jobs. We wouldn't have to look abroad to recruit workers if we changed to this method. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it shouldn't needed.

Gordon Wheaton,


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