HI Patrick

Thanks for an interesting article. I remember reading the original and making a note to check back too. Glad to see someone took care of the 'follow-through' :)

I agree with most of your comments except the one about taking a gapyear.

Knowing what we know, and are discovering everyday about the workings of adolescent brains and what a high density minefield of potential real and perceived transgressions college campuses have become, I think taking a gapyear to work whether on a shop floor, as an Intern, a volunteer or an admin assistant at a hospital, school, shelter, social services offices, charity would help young people gain confidence, maturity and take stock of the world outside their bubbles. They'd also be forced to look up from their screens and interact with human beings in the real world, a very different experience from chatting to friends in barely coherent one liners.

I admit I am biased. Our son deferred his college admission last year to work (being able to contribute to the college fund was a welcome advantage) and will be leaving for college this summer. He is so much wiser, more thoughtful, more engaged, more articulate, more confident than he was at this time last year. His conversations about what he will do in college are so much more considered. And I am no longer worrying about how he will manage the mines and the tripwires the way I was last year.

How I'll manage without him is a separate conversation altogether.

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First off, your comment about finance at UCLA and the Israeli military made me chuckle. However I feel his point was missed about that and the gap year idea.

The argument (in my eyes) is that there’s an important value in young people learning that they are not the center of the universe. That can happen through effective parenting, but in the absence of that, it can happen through service towards something bigger than ourselves.

Without the humility that comes through contribution to a bigger community, America’s rugged individualism alone just becomes selfishness.

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I agree with that. In a lot of ways, I think college might actually be the best way for young adults to learn that! Four years to transition from high school student to fully-fledged adult. And while a year of service would do a lot of good, I think people hear gapyear and think more of working a unskilled job for six months and traveling the world - something I'm not sure would increase maturity.

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I’m biased by my own experience, but I was fortunate to have the best of both: four years on a college campus, service through clubs (like Delta Chi), and 5 months studying abroad in Spain.

For those who don’t have the privilege or interest in college, I think we should still provide opportunities for service, social development, and cultural exposure. I’m open to many ways of accomplishing that.

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