Many Dads Roundtable parents are in the midst of the “kid holds up the date and new grade placard” back-to school photo season. It’s become a wistful tradition and a great keepsake. For parents of a few 7th through 9th graders, the photos might also serve as a grim reminder of the horrors of their own middle school years. Please remember folks, that early adolescence is much harder on the kids than it is on you. But before I’ve even gotten started, I’ve digressed. To the lede.
College is the truly the best four years of a young person’s life. Or in my case, five years, but that’s another post. Whilst seeing your kindergartner sucked up and whisked away by the school bus is teary, to pack up your kid’s belongings and drive your eighteen year old off to a campus near or far is even more so. And poof, like Keyser Söze, they’re gone.
Independence, study, purpose, fun, hangovers; wonders like Willy Wonka’s factory await your kids. Back home, parents walk past empty bedrooms. No more malodorous gym bags. No more clouds of teen-targeted colognes and body sprays. No more wads of hair that clog the shower on a weekly basis. No more gallons of milk that disappear in less than 36 hours. Your kid is gone.
With that independence, you hope you’ve instilled responsibility. Perhaps you have, but still, after a late night which ended in the early morning; whether gaming, drinking, talking, or you know, that other stuff (no, not studying), it’s hell to drag one’s body out of bed and off to class. It’s easy to rationalize at 7:00 am.
“I’ll get the notes from someone.”
“I’ll do the reading and then go talk with the TA.”
“I’ll watch the lecture on video. And the prof posts the PowerPoints to the website.”
But it’s not the same. The crucial interaction is gone, and skipping class is reflected in one’s grade. As an ex-high school teacher, thanks to social media, I’m still in contact with a bunch of my old students. Here’s a trick I’ve shared with many of them which I’m told is useful. Make it about the money.
- Tuition at Michigan State University (my alma mater) = $910 per credit hour
- Ergo, for a three credit class = $2,730
- Classes meet 42 times per semester.
- For every class skipped, you’ve just burned $65.00. Gone. Smoke. Vapor.
What can you buy with sixty bucks?
- A 1/6 keg of beer
- Three tamagotchis
- Five vinyl albums
- A dozen subs at Jimmy Johns
- 20 gallons of gas
- 60 cheeseburgers at McDs
For a group of young adults raised in a generation that knows it is all about the Benjamins (or in this case, the Jacksons), I am told that the knowledge that to skip a class is a waste of sixty bucks has moved more than one kid out of bed and off to a lecture hall.
Concerned that your kid might be prone to blowing off too many classes? Share this one with them. See if it works. Report back. Remember, I’m rooting for you. Rooting hard.