The Case Against College

The Case Against College By: Jim Olsztynski   Welcome to my imaginary career counseling office, young man/lady. I under­stand you want to know which college is right for you. My first advice is to ask: “Should you go to college?” My answer is … “It depends.” If your ambition is to be a neurosurgeon, petroleum […]


The Case Against College

By: Jim Olsztynski


Welcome to my imaginary career counseling office, young man/lady. I under­stand you want to know which college is right for you.

My first advice is to ask: “Should you go to


My answer is … “It depends.” If your ambition is to be a neurosurgeon, petroleum engineer or any other elite, highly-paid professional, then of course you need to go to college.

Maybe you feel a passion for social work, literature, his­tory or some other liberal art. My advice then is, “Yes, go to college.” I do caution you not to expect to earn a great deal of money when it comes time to convert that degree into a job.

From all you tell me, though, you fit into an altogether different category. You say you’re more comfortable with tools than textbooks. You enjoy tinkering in a workshop but hate sitting through boring classroom lectures. You struggle to read books about subjects you care nothing about.

I hear you. Your family, friends and other career counselors have drummed it into your head that a college education is the ticket to success. You con­stantly see stories in the media about how much more college graduates earn in their lifetime when compared with people who don’t go to college.

Since you want to earn a good living, I understand why you think you have to follow that logic.

You need fair and balanced counseling. Let’s start by addressing some of the perils of higher education.

You heard me right. Attending college can have downsides as well as advantages. One peril is the risk of feeling miserable. College will be an excruciating experience if you find academic subjects boring or hard to grasp. If you’re not happy, you probably won’t stick it out. Some 40% of persons who enter college never finish their degree.

Worst of all, it will cost a lot of money to endure that misery. If your folks aren’t rich and you can’t swing a full-expenses scholarship (very few people do), then you will have to take out a student loan.

And, eventually you have to pay back that loan. The average college graduate in 2016 was left with more than $37,000 in student loan debt. An expensive private school is likely to be a lot more. That’s manageable if you make a lot of money. But if you’re not in the upper income tier you may end up owing money for the rest of your working life.

Oh, and don’t assume you’ll be working in your field of study. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that some 37% of college graduates are working in jobs that don’t even require a college degree, such as retail sales, waiting tables or tending bar. Try paying off your student debt working at Starbucks. The BLS says about a third of recent college graduates make less than $25,000 a year. Most of them are living with their parents.

Yes, you’re right that statistics show college graduates earn a lot more than non-grads. But the statistics are misleading.

The college graduate category includes highly skilled professionals who earn enormous amounts of money. Non-graduates include a lot of high school dropouts with no marketable skills. A single business CEO can earn more than hundreds of burger flippers. That skews the data.

A better comparison is between the average college graduate and someone working in a skilled trade like plumbing, HVAC or electrical. BLS data shows these trade workers earn average annual incomes of around $50,000. The best earn twice as much and more.

And, they don’t have huge student debt to pay off. Many acquire their skills in apprenticeship programs, earning a living wage while learning the trade. Others go to vocational schools at a small fraction of what it costs to go to college. Often, that tuition is reimbursed by their employers.

Did I mention that skilled trade workers are in short supply?

Jobs are plentiful and wages, benefits and working conditions are on the rise.

What’s more, plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians are not threatened by automation or overseas outsourcing. Some end up as wealthy owners of their own trade businesses.

My advice is pursue a ca­reer that makes you happy and provides a good living. Just don’t think that means you have to go to college.

When life hands you lemons, make Salmon

salmonWhen life hands you lemons… It’s time to cook!

Ok, so I have always hated fish. I am a fish stick kind of chicka, I like tartar sauce. What is not to like about mayo and relish mixed?? But now that I am trying so very hard to eat healthy, I have finally found that yes, I can eat fish.

I started with flounder, the white fish, with absolutely no taste apart from the spices you smother said fish with. Of course, there is also crab (their cakes are the, shrimp, clams, oysters, scallops, scungilli (conk, I mean large sea snail), and calamari (squid, weird freaky sea creatures), were all okay. I had a real issue with fish — the fins… the scales… the weird way they breathe…

I ate crab right out of the Hudson River growing up and I still have issues with fish. You know the kind; healthy, wild caught, the stuff people pay big money for (I have watched those crazy fishing shows). And sure tuna, in a can, strained and mixed with mayo, YUMMY! But fish…

After making fish for the family for years and just not eating it myself, I decided it was time. And you know what, Salmon isn’t all that fishy. I mean, it is fishier than flounder but not so bad. Wrap that sucker up with some garlic, sea salt, lemon juice and slices, cayenne and black pepper… And wowwy! That is some yummy stuff and it is good for me, go figure.

You see I am at day 8 without sweets and I have to find good healthy foods to train my brain. In my head, it is GOOD when it has buttercream flowers to decorate it. Who’d a thunk it would be so incredible with savory healthy, fresh meals? Sometimes I feel like I am finally an adult.

I guess raising 2 girls to adulthood (kind of) should have been my first clue but this whole eating right and working out regularly thing has eluded me my entire adult life. I have been chasing it, I have “tried” but now I have consistently achieved some very simple life changes and my diet should follow suit. I have moved on from just cooking well for my hubby and eating what I want, to eating what I have MADE for my hubby. In the process, I have found that fish is tasty and I am a darned good cook. (If I DO say so myself!) 

Now the rice thing is different. Brown rice and black rice are very healthy for you. They are very tasty but boring. Black rice has a very nutty flavor and by itself, is not our cup of tea.

When I make rice, I cook it with bone marrow stock and coconut oil. I throw herbs that make me happy in there as well. The bone marrow and coconut oil help both taste and digestion. If you like spice, add a jalapeno to the rice stock. Brown and black rice are very hardy. If you like soft, fluffy white rice, you need to cook the rice a bit longer than suggested. 

Let’s face it, any veggie will go well with this dish. Today, I chose peas. Steamed peas with coconut oil, sea salt and a bit of garlic (garlic goes with everything, except cupcakes!).

Now to the cooking:

Make a pouch out of tin foil for your fish, coat the foil lightly with coconut oil. Salmon is an oily fish; the coconut adds a bit of flavor and will keep the fish from sticking.

Layer fresh chopped garlic, oregano, basil, pepper and lemon slices, and top with a piece of salmon. Top with another layer of garlic, oregano, basil, pepper and lemon slices.  

Seal the pouch and place it in a COOL oven. Turn the oven on and set it at 350. Once the oven has reached 350, let the fish cook for about 5 minute, and then shut the oven off. Leave the pouch in the oven and let it rest until the rest of the meal is ready. If you prefer to cook the fish once the oven is already hot, it will take about 10 minutes, or until the fish flakes apart with fork.

The depth and density of the fish will have some effect on how long to cook. Check often, fish dries out easily — and no one likes dry fish.

As for the rice, follow package directions. Just substitute bone marrow soup stock for the water, and add herbs to taste. My favorite is garlic, onions and basil.

By the way, I don’t do china either. Less dishes are mommy’s wishes!

Enjoy and remember that tasty AND good for you can happen!!!

By: Sharon Pell