College decisions are tricky this year. Does it make sense to go back to school if some of your classes are online only? What if all of them are online?
How about if you have already paid for off-campus housing? Do you want to take the risk of paying for the entire semester’s dorm and cafeteria charge—which will not be refunded if the university must change from in-person to virtual?
If it’s your first year, do you want to start your college experience this way? Is it better to just delay a year? And if you don’t go now, what are you going to do?
Tough questions. We know kids in each of those situations. I don’t know the national statistics on what people have decided nationwide. But I do know that our 19 year-old son has more friends home this fall.
He chose to start working—as a plumber’s apprentice. He is thrilled that he gets to “earn and learn”; he loves gaining knowledge mostly through hands-on experience and just a few hours a week in class. He also loves having a paycheck, and not incurring tens of thousands of dollars in debt.
But last fall, when most of his friends took off for various schools, it left him here without his normal gang. He has found some new pals who are also working in the trades or in restaurants. Still, when school is in sessions, there tends to be a mass exodus.
This school year, he has more friends staying home, leading to more opportunities for fun after work. It’s an odd year for all, but having them around is a definite silver lining for son number two.