What’s your plan?


I am caught in an intense sense of foreboding trepidation. The next few days will be the telling factor. For as many years as I can remember, the first day of school has been simple. They have been comprised of new outfits, pictures to post on social media, and dropping the Girls off to reunite with friends of old (and maybe new) and be shepherded by teachers that have become our community. Not so. The Graduate will be left to her own for this first week of college. This scares me.

I should be lifting that half full glass to past accomplishments and toasting her toward new achievements. Unfortunately I can’t cut the cord. She is out in a big new world and I have to believe that she will survive. The major goal of high school must be to prepare its students to be capable learners. We will be putting a Pierce diploma to the test again.

Looking back, it has served the Arens Family quite well.

A college education is constructed to specialize individuals. There will be those classes of general education, but most of the effort a student exerts in be in core classes that produce a Bachelor of Art or Science and put them in competition to secure a specific job in their field. The Graduate doesn’t know what she wants to do.

I am not worried by this in the least; for two reasons. I am a grandfather and I still am not sure what I want to be when I grow up having had the rug pulled out from under specific to a farming opportunity. If she figures it out, she will certainly beat me to it! A successful life, and excitement is in the journey and the lessons learned.

Secondly, she is progressing down the path in a very financial conscious fashion. She headed for Woodland Community College knowing that California citizens would pay her first-year tuition through the California Promise program. To our excitement, representatives at WCC confirmed the enhancement provided in the state budget that will allow the second-year’s tuition to be paid also. What is important is that colleges get a say as to how the funds provided them will be allocated. It seems that it will be a lot more than just tuition. It is looking more like free college for first-time, full-time California graduates. I am proud of her for making this part of her plan. She has a road map; one of her own creation and I will support her in that. She will be realizing success with the awarding of an Associates and accomplishing am important part of her dream.

But until then, by the time the Pioneer Review makes it from press and into your hands, she will be on her third day of WCC’s Fall semester. I hope to have things returned to somewhat calm. But, what kind of trek would that be?■

— Scott Arens is a lifelong resident of Arbuckle. To contact Scott email scott@arenscp.com