Thursday, January 03, 2008

Argh argh!

First of all, a publicity announcement from our sponsor (me):
If you have read Zombie Jack and loved it, would you go vote for it here?
It's just for fun, but if you liked Zombie Jack, you might want to cast your vote for it at Preditors and Editors.
You can also vote for Calderwood Books as a publisher,
and Joy Calderwood gets my vote as editor!
(Again, it's just for fun - no prizes - but it's good publicity!)

I'm making monster noises because my son has gotten bad grades in his first semester and I don't know if he can keep his financial aid. It's a big ARGH because college in the US is so expensive and it's not reimbursed like when you pay for the doctor here in France you get reimbursed by social security. It's not like that. You pay, and I guess what you get is a college degree.

The US system is beyond me, actually. I've grasped the French system - you want to study law, for example, you go to law school and you study law. It's free (you have to pay for books, and if you live on campus, you have to pay room and board, but it's fairly cheap) so most people can send their kids to college. You have to get good grades to stay in though (you have to get very good grades, actually.) But in the US, if you get bad grades, you get put on probation and lose your perks. My son was tutoring French, but he's probably lost that job, and he will have to get his grades Way Way up in order to get a degree now (if I've understood anything).

In the US, you go to college and you study...everything. It's a mass of choices and required classes. If you want to study law, for example, you have to pass history, and to study biology you are required to take English classes. In France, all the basics: French, science, philosophy, math, etc. are taken care of before the baccalaureate. Afterwards, they study only law, or psychology, or science. Some colleges are hard to get into (there is an entrance exam for medicine that requires 2 years of prep studies.) But mostly, you just enroll in the closest college to your home, and that's it. Why did my son decide to study in the US? I think he was afraid he wouldn't be able to pass the vet school exam here. But if his grades this semester are anything to go by, he won't be able to pass any exam anywhere.

What he says is that he couldn't concentrate. This from the kid who would sit for 5 hours without moving or making noise watching an ant's nest. I think he just got distracted by too many things to do. Another thing I noticed was that college was like a social club, like Club Med, and there was tons of stuff going on that has nothing to do with studies. (If I'd have gone to college in the US, I think I would have been distracted too...) I'm hoping he can change his room mate (an aspiring opera singer) and get someone quiet to share a room with.
I am hoping he studies hard and gets good grades.

But ultimately, what I know is this: he's a young man who has to make his own decisions and own mistakes. What he'll do now, and how he will react to this set-back, will tell volumes about the man he will become. I wish him well.
And I wish he can keep his financial aid.
Anyone want to put a kid through college?


Rosie said...

Boys and college...yikes! Beanie has been going to a community college so the cost is less than a university and he can get his general education classes out of the way less expensively. Thank goodness because he's taken 3 years instead of 2 to get through it. We had some set backs with grades the first year, but he seems to have settled down now.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said there are a lot of distractions...there are. Plus discovering the world on their own terms takes up a good bit of it.

BTW, if you find any takers for help with the college thing...let me know! :)

Sam said...

Hi Rosie!
My son had been in community college in Ohio, and was doing well. Then decided he wanted to switch. He applied to Potsdam ( a SUNY college) and was accepted - but this first semester, what a disaster. *sigh*
So far no takers for tuition.
Beanie sounds like he's getting into his studies well. I sort of wish my son had stayed in the community college, but I guess that he does need to make his own decisions now. (Argh, kids!! LOL!)

December/Stacia said...

Maybe this will be just the jolt he needs?

Congrats on the nominations!!

Linda Winfree said...

"Argh" is right! I see this a lot, though -- kids who do well with high school but then get "distracted" as you put it once they get to college.

Hang in there!

Sam said...

Thanks December!
And I hope so, Linda!!!

Gabriele C. said...

Hehe, there are advantages in not having kids.

Good luck with the distracted boy. :)

Travis Erwin said...

He should just be on academic probation pending his next semester. Maybe he'll get lined out and all will be okay.

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Here's hoping this experience comes as a bit of a wake up call for your son and after this he'll be on the straight and narrow and aiming for his degree. I think a lot of kids get distracted when they first go to college or university - it's an easy thing to happen - ultimately it will depend on how serious he is about getting his degree. Keeping fingers crossed for both of you!

Sam said...

sometimes I wonder...LOL. I guess it's too late for regrets now they're in college!

Travis - I hope that's the case. It sounds like you have a little experience with this? :-)

Absolute Vanilla, We are all hoping this is a wake up call. A wake up, get out of bed, and start studying call! (and while he's at it, get good grades!)

Bernita said...

Aw, Sam, it's hard. It's your worry, but not your responsibility.
First year is difficult.So much adjustment.
He'll have to decide how much he wants it, and if he wants it now.

John Nez said...

What with the government's abandonment of funding higher education, college in the U.S. has really hit the skids. Now it's all gigantic TV classes with 750 students... and paying $190 for a textbook that can't be sold back to the school bookstore.

There was a great program on PBS that blew the lid off what college is anymore... not to mention how EXPENSIVE it's become.

Oh well, I flunked out my first year... but finally figured out how to play the grades game... and graduated with a 'cum laude' in English!

My oldest will graduate next year... in economics. Smarter than dad by far!