Jornada del Muerto is a hundred-mile stretch of the Camino Real, which once ran from Mexico City to the northernmost outpost of the Spanish colonial empire.
There was no water on this stretch of the Camino, no livestock forage, and no firewood. Literally, the Jornada del Muerto was the "route of the dead man."
Nevertheless, travelers in the 17th and 18th centuries could survive the Jornada if they prepared by taking plenty of water, watering their horses just before embarking, and traveling quickly over this desert road.
Many young people believe their college years will be an exciting journey that leads to a good job and a middle-class life. But people who leave college with a lot of debt and no diploma may find that they would have been better off financially if they had not gone to college at all. In fact, their trip through college could turn out to be a modern-day journey of death--at least financial death.
As Professor Phillip Levine put it, college dropouts "ma[ke] an investment that ha[s] no return." They take out student loans but never obtain the credential that enables them to land a good job.
Not surprisingly, non-completers have high student-loan default rates--three times higher than individuals who graduate.
In my view, too many young people look upon their college years as a golden time of unbridled freedom, casual sex, and binge drinking--all paid for with student-loan dollars.
That could be a big mistake--especially for students who take on too much college debt and never get a diploma.
|El Jornada del Muerto: Don't take a dead man's route through college.|