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This time of year, there is a lot of talk about college.

I am a teacher.  Over the last 20 years, I have spent much of my time talking with students.  Naturally, many of those conversations were about college.

Many people think I am anti-college.  I am not.  I am anti-debt.

The cost of college has risen exponentially.  Considering the product these factories are producing these days, the price of college has become a joke.

Or, worse.  Since debt is a form of slavery, and since we are loading the young with debt, perhaps the cost of college has become more than a joke.  For many, the cost of college has become the introduction to slavery.

To misquote Patrick Henry, “Our children’s chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of campuses everywhere!”

Debt is slavery.  Debt is strain.  Debt is stress.

Early on in my marriage, well-meaning, older, “wiser” Christians pressured me into buying a house.  The condo we were living in was “too small”.  I was a teacher in a private school.  Teachers in private schools don’t earn much money.  I couldn’t really afford the house.

(Teachers in government schools do just fine, but I refuse to work for the government.  If you take the king’s dime, you are the king’s man.)

I foolishly left the condo we were living in.  I bought the house.  This dumb decision on my part sent us into a downward financial spiral that lasted years.  Three years later, after trying for almost two years, we sold the house.  We sold it at a loss.  We moved right back into a condo.  Even though it is “too small” we still live in a condo today.

That condo that was “too small”?  It is now worth twice what I paid for it.  Someone else’s profit.

That house debt locked me into a bad employment situation.  I couldn’t get out because I was locked into debt.  I had to pay the bills.  That house and that debt strained our marriage.  We have never fully recovered.  The cracks and fissures and strain are still there today.

I can’t believe that, as a culture, we allow students to walk into the combat zone of debt.  Worse, we encourage them to do it. “So, kid?  Where are you going to college?”  What are we thinking?

It took twenty years and way too much strain, but we are now debt free.

I am thinking of getting a job at a local bike shop when I return to Tennessee.  I do not need the job.  I do not really need the money.  But, I have always loved mountain biking.  I wish I had gotten a job at a bike shop when I was younger.  By, now, I am sure I would own my own store.

Before you go to college, before you go into debt, try hard to identify your passion.  If you can, get a job inside that passion.  Love working out?  Get a job at the gym.  Love biking?  Get a job at the bike shop.  Love eating healthy food?  Get a job at the smoothie place downtown.

In other words, do what humanity used to do before we all started believing in the college fairy tale.  Become an apprentice.   At least for a while.  If your career choice requires college, then go.  Just go later.

And, please.  Read this before you sign that college application: http://files.stansberryradio.com/files/50_colleges_GA1LLNJBSZ.pdf

Have a happy Saturday!
Dwane Thomas