Sunday, October 14, 2007


Oldest son is a senior in High School this year and this is height of of college visit season. As part of this ritual we visited two schools last week: Ithaca College and Rutgers.

The two colleges were polar opposites. One is expensive, One is diverse, one is urban, one is remote, one is close, one is far.

If you ask him which he liked better, the answer seems to be "which ever one was the last we visited". It is so easy to get caught up into hype of seeing a college campus on warm Autumn afternoon with it's ivy covered walls and happy students. The really hard part is figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life.

Never an easy question unless you are lucky enough to be that guy that just always knew he wanted to be a sports writer or a doctor.

He is not that lucky and has leaned to towards what I call "artsy" things like literature and music.

He has liked poetry for the past few years in High School and even went to a workshop over the summer at a private university in Pennsylvania. I think he might want to be a poet. I guess the only problem that see is that I never seem to find "Help Wanted" ads for poets. Poets must spend a lot of time looking out of windows and pondering things deeply according to Billy Collins, the only poet I know and like. This doesn't seem like something someone should pay you for.

I guess there might be a for poets, but I've never seen it.

I've also seen him write poetry in Italian since he has taken 4 years of High School Italian. If there is a small market for poets, the need for Italian poets must be near microscopic.

And so this leads us to our conflict.

At 40k a year for a private university, a $120k experiment to determine if you want to be a poet seems, well, a little risky. I've explained that he will need to take on part of that risk since we can not afford to pay 120k over the next 4 years and now alternative careers have now emerged like Communications and Journalism. Things that I have actually seen jobs for. I think it's a compromise.

On the other hand, I want him to be happy at what ever it is he decides he wants to do for a career. However, since his mother is very practical and is looking for some reward for the investment of her time and money, we have a full fledge war brewing at home.

She pointed out that she wanted to be a dancer at one point. (no, not one that involved a pole, either). But she figured out she would make more money as a dental assistant. Did she compromise? Maybe, but she made a good living.

Honestly, I'm not sure what direction to push him in. Should I push for the "career" in communications or for him to follow his dream of becoming a poet? Can he realistically do both some how?

I don't know.

Until he decides here is some Billy Collins to make you laugh.


Candle Hat.

Introduction to Poetry.

1 comment:

Neil said...

Why don't you investigate their English and literature departments, since that is where he will be spending most of his time?