Sunday, January 22, 2012

The stages of life

A recent report indicates the changes in duration in time for a student to finish college. I think, in general, we have seen an elongation in the stages of life. In the early sixties a man got a college degree and could expect to meet a variety of recruiters on his senior year. He made the choice over which corporation he would work for and moved to a big city for a few years. There he had a few wild years, played the guitar, sowed some oats, and finally at age 24 got married and moved to a nice house in the suburbs where his progeny would go to school.

Today things have greatly become elongated in time. A typical young man can expect to go to community college for six years, then have a gap year where he works part time in retail, then transfers as a junior to a four year college, where he will take six years to get his bachelor's degree. Then seven more years leads to a masters degree. Now at age 38 he is ready to get a full-time job, which he finds at age 40. At age 40 he moves into his first apartment. Soon comes a baby or two and a few years later, marriage. At 50 he starts shopping for his first house. Unfortunately, following shortly is  divorce and foreclosure. Then a few years back in retail and he is ready to go back to community college to learn a trade.

At 56 he starts his new career as an air conditioning repairman but soon hurts his back and goes on temporary disability. A few years later he is ready for retirement. The modern American dream.

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