Dear Jemsem Readers,
Here are 3 letters that I have received concerning college issues. Please read them as they apply to many of you. It is always good to think and re-evaluate your current situation, and make sure that you are on target. My response follows afterward.
Mrs. Chana Silver
It recently occurred to me that I might be able to start my career without spending three to four extra years in college. It would be possible for me to go to a specified program and learn the skills for my potential career. If I went to college, I would still have to study for another few years afterwards! I would probably end up spending five or more years in school! I brought up this idea to my parents and they said that off the bat – this was not an option. They say that I need a college degree to assure that in 20 years from now, just in case my career choice is obsolete, the college degree will come in handy! To me it just seems like wasting three years or more of my life. A lot of the information that you learn in college is just
not practical and the fact that it is often not the proper hashkofos. So is college a waste of time, or is it worth the long amount of time for that piece of paper? Should I fight my parents or just go? Is it something worth
Thank you for your help,
I am 20 years old. I work full time as a teacher, and I recently started going to Touro. I find it very hard to keep up with all the work and my job and it is also very expensive. I don’t think I’ll every really get a degree because I am hoping to get married in the next few years and I don’t want to go to college once I am married. I also don’t plan to work when I have young children at home, even if money is tight, because I feel that children need to have their mother at home when they are little. Therefore, I don’t feel that I’m gaining that much from college even if I do finish.
I don’t want to continue going there next semester, but when I tell friends and family that, they all say I should continue, because have no way of knowing that I’ll find a shidduch so soon, and when I do get married, I may need to work even if I don’t want to, so then I’d be happy to have finished college. I just don’t think that it’s worth the expense and effort for these things that probably won’t even happen. And if I do remain single for another few years, or if I have to work when I have kids, I can work without a college degree like I am doing now. Should I continue going to college or not? I would really like to quit, but I’m just afraid that everyone else may be right, and it would be a mistake to quit now.
I have been accepted to Brooklyn College along with three other friends on the same hashkafic level as I am. I have also applied to Touro College and am waiting a response. Touro is FOUR times the amount per year than Brooklyn. I will aready be working full time to help my parents pay for the tuition! What chances am I taking if I go to Brooklyn College? If I get accepted to Touro College should I go despite the money? If I don’t get
accepted to Touro I’ll have to go to Brooklyn anyways….
Can you give me some insight into how to make my decision – if I do get accepted to Touro?
Dear College-Concerned Readers,
First and foremost I must state that I cannot possibly give any one of you a specific answer over email. Each case is quite individual, and there are many factors and situations that would warrant different answers. The best thing that you can do for yourselves would be to go and consult with a Rav and get an answer to your particular circumstances.
I will however talk a bit about the idea of college and some things that you should be considering.
The issue of college is no different than any other concept that we deal with in our lives. The basic bottom line thing that we have to remember is that we were put here to be an Eved Hashem. I must train myself so that
every single thing that I do concurs with that. The very profession that I choose must be in conjunction with the modes of Halacha and Tznius that I live my life by, as well as the environment in which I get my training. College is as much my Avodas Hashem as anything else. I’m a Jew 24 hours a day. If I would have to compromise my Jewishness on any level because I am in a particular school or program, well, then that place wouldn’t be for me. Coed issues and information in certain classes that are antithetical to Torah Ideals are two areas to take into consideration. There are many tests that lurk in many situations. The question is – if I am aware of some of them, why would I put myself in this type of Makom Sakana? We don’t ask for isyonos.
All of you spent what I hope was an amazing year in seminary where you were able to sensitize yourselves to what is Emes in this world and what is not. What I must bring out from the potential to the actual, what it means to live as a servant of Hashem — this IS the essence — it never changes. The problem is that we get caught up in the glitz and glamour of society – “stuck in the mud” if you will. Our path gets obscured, our vision blurred. We must be able to see clearly – what will help our Avdus and what is dangerous for us. There are certain schools and programs, which are better or worse for our spiritual health. We owe it to ourselves to research it and make a decision based on the right tings. Choosing an environment / setting the proper Gedarim / and hanging around with the right people are all important aspects of this idea. A wrong decision in these areas can unfortunately yield serious consequences.
Again, every situation is different, and I stress that a Rav should be consulted about these very big decisions.
Make sure to make all of your decisions L’sheim Shamayim, with college and everything else in your life, and may this be a Zechus for you – just as you keep Hashem in mind may He keep you in mind and shower you with endless Brachos.
With Warmest Wishes,
Mrs. Chana Silver