Two of My Favorite Things–Girl Scouts and College Students

I found this draft from a year ago, and it’s still relevant–maybe more so.

A new book claims that today’s college freshman lack basic life skills. This is a gap that Girl Scouts should address.

raise-adult-book-cover

In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshman at Stanford University, claims that incoming students had impressive resumes, but were increasingly incapable of taking care of themselves. To remedy this problem, she says that, especially with teenagers, we should “seek out opportunities to put independence in their way,” such as making them responsible for their own food or learning to take public transportation.

She’s not alone in this belief. Many colleges have “College 101” courses to teach some of the basics. US News & World Report suggests that college freshmen need Seven Essential Life Skills.

Source: Skills Needed: Girl Scout Badges Could Help | Girl Scout History Project

The author of the post listed those seven skills, together with a Girl Scout badge that will help a girl gain those skills. She then lists several other skills (like laundry and cooking) she thinks college students need.

When I look at the badges included in the first Girl Scout Handbooks (and all iterations of the Boy Scout Handbooks–the Girl Scout badge program has been severely gutted in the last 8 years, but that’s another story), I see that Scouting was strongly based in teaching hard skills to allow a young person to succeed in adulthood. Looking at the young people in my life who are not Scouts, they do not have opportunities to learn and practice money management, cooking, outdoor appreciation, or first aid unless their caregivers teach those skills in the home (granted, some organizations and schools provide some of these, but I don’t personally know a child who gets any of this outside of home of Scouting).

Schools already have residence hall programs which teach residents how to do laundry and basic cooking. Is there a point where higher ed professionals can’t or won’t step in anymore? Is it ever feasible for courses like Home Ec to be included in the middle/secondary ed curriculum again? Or am I just longing for a dream of yesterday?

The Case for (Higher) Education

PhDTweetTwitter conversation about earning a PhD

The title of my blog is “The Eternal Student.” I work in a field that offers PhD’s. Heck, we even have a hashtag: #sadoc.

When I tweeted about a student insisting on using Dr. Robinson in email communication, I tweeted about how I felt inadequate. Not because I feel any guilt about not having a PhD, but because I feel I am deceiving the student (despite stating that I’m only a Ms. not a Dr.)

A friend gave me encouragement that it was only a matter of time and that I should get used to my eventual name. As you can see from the conversation over ~~~> there, I don’t want to become Dr Robinson. It took me 6 years to return for my Master’s degree; I’m 33 years old, newly married, and am far more interested in going home at the end of my day (usually), keeping active with Girl Scouts, and having a caseload of students. I’m not cut out for the meetings,  hiring/firing, and bureaucracy that so many Directors/VP’s/etc deal with.

I’m not counting out any kind of title or promotion because I don’t know the future, but like my former boss, I know what I’m good at and I know where I’m happiest. My formal education will never come to an end because I’ll always take classes, but I don’t see another degree, advanced or otherwise, in my future–I want the freedom to take Greek Philosophers one semester followed by Organizational Culture the next, and Stained glass after that. The thing I love best about college is the breadth of information that is available to our students, and to US, who are fortunate enough to have tuition remission benefits.

Maybe I shouldn’t put it out there that I don’t want to become a Director, VP or Dean–it may appear as though I’m not ambitious, or am not interested in advancing my career. But I’m not ashamed of knowing who and what I am. We aren’t all meant to be Senior Student Affairs Officers; if we were, there would be more of those positions 🙂 We’ve all heard the jokes about so many in Middle Management “being promoted to the level of incompetence” (never within Student Affair of course though…). If I remain engaged, challenged and happy with my position, I don’t need “more” if I already have enough.

Do you think everyone needs the highest degree possible? Do you think people can and should be happy at their ideal employment level, or should everyone strive to become an SSAO?