By: Lequita Brooks, LCSW, MSW/The Social Work Incubator – If you are on social media, you have seen thousands of pictures, posts, and reels of Homecoming at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).
They are lit.
Music, food, dancing, and pure joy in community with others that have at least one commonality; the love for their HBCU.
Even attending an HBCUs Homecoming is a rush for college graduates like me, who went to PWIs (Predominantly White Institutions) for undergraduate and graduate school.
Since I didn’t have the HBCU experience, I frequently spoke to my daughter about attending an HBCU and she is now a freshman at one.
The reality is that she nor I was 100% sold on the idea that college was for her and that a four-year degree would be required for her to achieve her lifestyle goals.
She has an entrepreneurial spirit like me and she values the freedom and flexibility I’ve had as a business owner over the years to be a present parent while providing financially even as a Mom that is Single.
She aspires to have freedom, and flexibility, and build wealth in her real estate investment firm where she can generate passive income without working hard and trading time for money.
Investing in my daughter to attend an HBCU was more about her having the experience and seeing if college is even for her. I never want her to think, “What if I had…?”.
It’s not just homecoming season, but also the time of year when high school seniors attending schools like Stanton College Preparatory School are highly encouraged to apply for college so they will have decisions before the Christmas Holidays.
As a Stantonian a few decades ago, in my senior year 1998-1999, millennials were taught, “Go to college, get a good job, and you’ll make a lot of money”. The mindset of Generation X and Millennials who are parents now, has drastically changed from our upbringing and we are exposing our children to more ways of generating income.
Unfortunately, when I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from a PWI the whole fairy tale “American Dream” wasn’t my reality.
I couldn’t find a job.
It wasn’t attributed to the economy.
It was my own lack of knowledge on how to navigate college to land a job post-graduation to make money and make a difference.
I didn’t understand the importance of developing a career mapping plan back then.
Now today, I teach my social work students at the CSWE MSW degree program I adjunct at and the students enrolled in my Social Work Career Mapping Academy at The Social Work Incubator how to develop their social work career mapping plan.
The Social Work Career Mapping Academy was birth from being clueless about career planning as an undergraduate at a PWI and seeing the gaps as an Adult Learner during graduate school in the curriculum taught at social work degree programs accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) on the the business and practice of social work from a real-life perspective.
I don’t want you as an Adult Learner or your children to be at a disadvantage simply because either of you are a first-generation student or not knowing what you don’t know so you don’t know what to ask.
When I work with my students at The Social Work Career Mapping Academy, we don’t just explore careers within social work based on their passions and purpose, we also explore (1) whether they will be able to pay their bills, (2) quality of life regarding how they like to work, (3) positions that offer work-life balance, along with other things from a holistic perspective.
Going back to the original question, “Is college work it?”
College is worth it if:
(1) You have a career mapping plan that shows you or your child how getting this degree will help them in achieving their lifestyle goals.
And/or (2) A degree is required to perform the job. A Social Worker can’t be called a “social worker” if they don’t have a social work degree, medical doctors can’t practice medicine without an MD degree, and attorneys can’t practice law without a JD degree, to name a few professions.
I can be the business owner of The Social Work Incubator, without a four-year degree.
Maybe it is beneficial to get a trade, enroll in an apprenticeship program, or take a certification course.
On the other hand, I couldn’t teach social work students in academia the business and practice of being a Social Worker without a social work degree.
You get to decide and make an informed decision about whether it is worth you or your child attaining a college degree.
I would love to hear your thoughts! Let’s discuss your beliefs and your next best steps!
Send me a private message on Facebook Messenger: http://www.m.me/LequitaBrooksLCSW