‘College isn’t for us’

“College isn’t for us,” Skylar Myers’ friend Randall told her in seventh grade when she talked about her private school’s College Day. In eighth grade, while she was applying for high school scholarships, Randall was arrested for the first time, Myers writes in the Hechinger Report.
Skylar Myers
Her other friends from the block — Miguel, Malik, Shaquencia and Jonathan — never made it to college. Their future held teen pregnancies, arrests, dropping out of school.

Myers’ parents weren’t college educated, but they made their only child’s education a priority. Her father taught her to read at 2 and started multiplication at 4. And they sent her to private school.

“I just thought you were some type of special case,” Randall said years later. “Your daddy was around and caring [about your educational needs]… if any of us had to go it would be you.”

Randall went to inner-city schools. He joined a gang, so he’d feel safe. He dropped out of high school and earned a GED. After three stints in jail, he was sent to prison. “I’ve always been just as smart as you, but . . . outside the understanding of what’s normally accepted as ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent,’” he told his “homie.”

Myers earned a film studies degree from the University of California in San Diego.

About Joanne


  1. Anecdotes are no substitute for reality. Teen birth rates have never been lower. Crime is way down to levels not seen since the early 60’s. High school graduation rates are up.

    The real problem I see here, is magical thinking about the value of a college degree. Majoring in film studies? Really? What a waste of time and money. She would have been much better off with a degree in accounting or engineering.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      “Teen birth rates have never been lower.”


      And percentage of births to unmarried women is at or close to and all-time high.


      But neither statistic seems obviously relevant to this post. Can you elaborate on the point this was supposed to support?

      • Mark Roulo says:

        Okay, I think I see what you were responding to. Your post was addressed to this quote in the linked article, right:

        Yet the kids I ran with on the block growing up, Miguel, Malik, Shaquencia, Jonathan, just to name a few, took a route similar to Randall: teen pregnancies, arrests, dropping out of school.

  2. Michael E. Lopez says:

    Anecdotes are reality.

    I suppose whether you think they are useful or not (and whether you think this particular anecdote is useful or not) depends entirely on what sort of statement the anecdote is being employed to make.

    Not sure why you’d read this and think it’s supposed to be some sort of sweeping indictment of teen culture.

    What I see is a trenchant and accurate picture of how enmeshment in a social discourse can and often does control destiny — and how the company one keeps will very often determine one’s future. But not necessarily.

    My life would have been entirely different if I had not fallen in with a bunch of really smart, middle-class girls when I was in 7th grade. The fact that they were my friends, rather than others, changed the course of my future.

    Stuff like that matters. And I think this anecdote gets right to the heart of that question.

  3. I’d like to know if she has a full-time job, what job it is, whether it requires a college degree and how much debt she has. I just don’t know what a degree in film studies is worth.