Life Lessons – More than One Way to Learn

by Sandy L on August 31, 2010

I recently wrote a post on Budgeting the Fun Stuff  on Financial Aid and it got me thinking about my children and their upcoming college experience.  Because we’re a dual income family, it’s unlikely my children will qualify for financial aid. As a result, I plan on helping my kids with many of their college expenses.

This makes me wonder if I will be doing them a dis-service by not enrolling them in the School of Hard Knocks.  I personally learned an insane amount from going to that school.

Since I’ve had college on the brain, it’s come up a couple of times in conversation recently.  Last night I was having dinner with a fellow alumnus from my school and we got to reminiscing about our college days. He was the president of his fraternity and we were laughing about some of the antics his frat used to pull. He also told me he learned more in the year that he was president than he had his other 3 put together.  I have another friend who was an RA and also was captain of her Basketball and Track Teams.  She is wildly successful now.  

I also learned from my boss last week (who also worked his way through school), that when he interviews a new grad, he has a lot of respect for people who have played division 1 and 2 sports. He knows how demanding the schedules can be. The level of commitment needed to survive and graduate shows a toughness of character that is admirable.

It made me feel a lot better. Although I know my fair share of people who coasted through school that didn’t care, I also know many folks who learned some pretty important skills while doing extra curricular activities.

Some of the Skills Learned from Hobbies were:

  • Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Money Management
  • Influencing Skills
  • Perserverance

So in summary, I’m glad there is more than one right way to teach your kids how to be productive members of society. Some ways are easier than others.

What other life lessons have people learned from non-work activities or hobbies?

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Everyday Tips August 31, 2010 at 9:51 AM

My oldest son volunteers in Detroit in the summer to help clean up the city. (It is through an organization called ‘Summer in the City’.) He has gained perspective for how other people have to struggle, and how good he really has it. Plus, he has lead some of the activities, and had to step out of his comfort zone somewhat.

For me, I paid for everything in college, and I learned that no matter what, I always needed to have the ability to provide for myself. I am happily married and such, but I don’t ever want to feel trapped if something awful were to happen.

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM

Blogging has reiterated lessons I already knew but had put aside for a while – time management (that’s a biggie), proper grammar (although I sometimes purposely ignore it), and haggling (advertisers). It has also shown me that I can indeed push myself and achieve stuff like I did in college – my cubicle job hasn’t sucked out my personal side yet. :-)

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Molly On Money August 31, 2010 at 2:27 PM

My husband and I are in a bit of a quandry on this subject too. Both of us had college paid for (except my last year). We see the benefits on both side.
Currently we will offer to pay for our kids college in-state tuition and dorm costs. I will help them apply for scholorships (my last year was paid for with a bunch of tiny unknown scholorships) to offset the costs of books, fees, etc…or increased tuition if they go out of state. Our hope is that we don’t set them up for a sink or swim scenario.

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Nicole August 31, 2010 at 7:36 PM

I agree that you don’t need to pay for your entire tuition to learn responsibility… there are other ways to learn things besides the school of hard knocks. (And probably having them be responsible for part of their expenses would give the same learning experience as being fully responsible, without the additional constraints of a huge debt load.) My sister and I had to earn our spending money, but our parents paid tution, room, textbooks, and a meal plan. The rest was up to us.

Off hand I can’t think of an answer to the blog question, but that’s probably just because I’m exhausted from school starting again, not because I’ve never learned anything!

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Money Reasons August 31, 2010 at 8:20 PM

Although I had some help with college costs, I still paid for the majority by myself. While other had time to play sports, I was working. I had a good time working too though, and I still managed to go out partying with my friends… but I think it would have been nice to be able to play sport though school too. My sister was the captain of her volleyball team and had an great college life.

I’d say that I learned the most from the breath of diversity. I’ve learned in college that just because someone doesn’t think like I do, doesn’t mean that they are a bad or wrong person (or culture). Being from a coutry city growing up, we were all similar (although it didn’t seem that way at the time). I rewired my way of thinking during those college years.

I’ve been laxed with my grammar (and even spelling) prior to blogging, so blogging has made me more away of these weaknesses. And although I’m not totally where I want to be at, I’m much closer because of it!

I think and speak clearer and more coherently on and off the computer…

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Sandy L August 31, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Good points about blogging. I realize now how horrible my grammar is as well. Proofreading is a good thing. I hope that eventually I’ll get to the point where I can do less editing.

Money Reasons. I felt the exact same way, but not until I did a study abroad during college. I lived in the UK for a year. The people there had sunday dinners, went to quiz night on tuesdays and generally enjoyed life. They got mad when I didn’t take a coffee break with them 4x/day because it was their time for team building and bonding. To make a long story short, they enjoyed life a lot more than us americans. Generally, there wasn’t as big a rush to get stuff done asap like in corporate america. It really was life changing for the better. It doesn’t change how I’m wired, but it did make me realize that there’s more to life than work.

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Little House September 2, 2010 at 12:15 PM

My parents paid my tuition while I was enrolled in college, however I paid for all of my other costs: rent, books, food, etc. That meant I worked part-time throughout my whole four (well, really five) years. It was a good experience; I had work experience to list on my resume and had acquired some skills that would be useful in the “real” world.

As for paying for your kids’ college, obviously that’s a personal call and depends on your finances. You made some good points about students getting involved in extracurricular activities, they do learn leadership skills that could help them in the future.

The School of Hard Knocks can be a good learning tool, but some of us takes years to go through it!

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