Perspective: Academic Success = Success In Life?

May 10, 2019

Useful? Useless? Worthwhile? Worthless? Those words have been on my mind recently, as I prepare to join my high school classmates for my 50th reunion. Just a few months after my graduation from Genoa-Kingston High School, I would head off to the University of Illinois.


Four years later, I would earn a degree in journalism which I never had the opportunity to use during my 40 years of working life. A graduate degree in education from NIU would briefly open the door to classroom teaching, a middle class income, and personal fulfillment. But that also would prove to be fleeting, the moment I left a tenured position in Illinois and moved to Wisconsin. There, the word "overqualified" would come back to haunt me.


I earned my degrees the old-fashioned way, without wealthy parents to bribe my way in. But the recent college admission scandals have made me think. Is it possible my years as a student kept someone else out? Most universities have more applicants than they can admit. But I want to believe that person who didn't get in to his first choice of schools went on to success. I want to think that person became a homeowner, had health care, and could set aside a college fund for his own children. And, if "you" are that person, I want to congratulate you for your success in life.


I'm Jim Kline, and that is my Perspective.