Having finished my second quarter of classes as a “non-traditional” student, I have to say that I’m still surprised at how bad students are at being students sometimes.

Obama has a push for a program like Tennessee’s to give everyone in the country access to two years of community college at no direct cost to them. Germany gives college at nearly no cost to everyone, including foreigners. I don’t see any down side to this, except Americans hate socialism.

Oh, and terrible graduation rates. That too. There was a recent episode of DecodeDC that talked about this program and included the abysmal statistics of graduation rates. Some of it is that the numbers include people who enroll with no intention of need to graduate, such as people pursing certificates.

From my limited experience going through only four courses, part of the problem is- some people just shouldn’t be going to college. Our culture encourages it and I’m sure that these folks’ family or social circle is encouraging them to go as well since going to college is Always The Right Thing To Do.

Well. It’s not. For some people.

I had a bit of a version of this conversation with one of the rare 25+ aged students in which he challenged this thought by me saying that the people I’m referring to are stupid. Not so. I liken it to buying a car loan being unable to make the monthly payments. It doesn’t matter why you can’t make them, but it matters that they’re not being made.

And adding to that, social pressures make people believe that a diploma from a college is the only way to advance your own life. By some measures, that’s true, but only a narrow set of measures, in my opinion.

Okay, so you got to the bottom of my writing about some people needing to seriously consider whether using their own money, parents’ money, employers money, or state money for an education that they will not complete. Here’s a single tip that I’d recommend to anyone that would attend a college:

Use the cloud for all school work

The school I go to gives every student a Google account in which they have access to Google Docs and Google Drive. Every class I hear someone say “I lost my thumb drive with my paper on it, so it’s going to be late,” or “I forgot my laptop at home and I don’t have the paper,” Presuming these excuses aren’t a lie- storing their work on any cloud service insulates you from this.