DICK BAYNTON: The Clash of Crises

Dick Baynton

When we attend high school, we are under the tutelage of a principal, teachers, coaches and at home we have the backup of family and friends. But in our high school days we may have only vague dreams about becoming a doctor, a scientist or an auto mechanic. Because we haven’t laid out specific career plans the classes we take are disconnected in both study and result. Math is math, history is history and gym is physical therapy. Things change when we enter college that may be a few miles to even thousands of miles from home. The apron strings of home have been altered to include phone calls, letters and E-Mails.

On the campus of your college or university you must decide what courses you want to take to reach a goal of becoming a teacher, preacher, engineer, lawyer or entrepreneur. All of a sudden the courses students take are connected to reach one goal; a career. Even those students who haven’t decided on a career choice must connect the dots of courses so a result after four years of late-night study and class attendance produce a marketable graduate.

It is highly possible that students haven’t really considered what specific results they should expect after four or five years of college or university attendance. It may surprise you regarding the simplicity of what you should attain upon graduation at all levels of advanced education.

First, graduates should have great skill in analytic thought followed by strategic action. When graduates enter the world of teaching, accounting, law, medicine, engineering and other pursuits, decisions must be made in a timely manner with the knowledge of facts and probable results. In government, private industry and professional practice crises pop up, often unexpectedly that must be resolved.

Here are some crises that have surfaced recently; 49 Muslims were murdered in two mosques in New Zealand, North Korea may be withdrawing from a proposed pact on eliminating nuclear weapons and the surprising college admissions scandal. The college scandal included changing test scores and alleged fraud (bribery). The institutions involved are University of San Diego, Georgetown, Wake Forest, Stanford, University of Texas (Austin), USC and Yale. Although these must be considered ‘elite’ colleges, other names such as Harvard, MIT, Cal Tech, Vanderbilt and Duke are generally thought to be at the peak of preferences among educational institutions.  Prestige is expensive; tuition annually at Stanford is reported to be $45,729, $47,600 at Yale and about $70,000 for all expenses, excluding travel at USC.

Much of the corruption involving 33 parents, coaches and others have been caught up in a scandal that was ‘engineered’ by a ‘college consultant’ who was able to alter exam results and bribe athletic coaches with false information and photos. Is it really worth the notoriety, cost and risk (of fines and/or incarceration) to cheat your son or daughter into a college that you or your son or daughter thinks is superior to all other educational institutions? Common sense and logic holler a resounding NO. Remember these basics; there is no free lunch, free education is more costly than paying tuition; free healthcare is more expensive than premiums paid by insured holders; our freedom is NOT free.

Let’s now look at what advanced education really is. College education is based on three important components which are faculty & staff, curriculum and each student and his or her motivation and inspiration. This means that if the success of a top Harvard student is compared with a top student graduate of Virginia Tech, Radford University, Roanoke College or Hollins University a decade after graduation it is reasonable that their overall successes would be roughly equivalent.

The key to a great education and experience is not the name of the college but the talent, the skill, the abilities and determination of the student. Most men and women with quality educations and a depth of worthy experiences can confront crises and create solution strategies. It is an illusion to think that a person with a degree from a prestigious college is ‘smarter’ than others.

Solutions arise from the mind and spirit of the person who thinks analytically, acts strategically and follows up relentlessly. Crises are mitigated and resolved by employing logical analysis and bold actions.

Dick Baynton

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