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College or not college?

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by TooPatient, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. lyra
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    by lyra » Feb 15, 2018
    We raised our daughters with the expectation that they should do post secondary education. We did not choose what we wanted them to study. In the end, all of their friends went to uni/college anyway, which only helped to reinforce the idea. I can't even think of any of their peers that chose not to do some type of post secondary education. Trade schools included.
     
  2. ericad
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    by ericad » Feb 15, 2018
    We have to include tone disclaimers for Kenny now?! I missed the sticky memo I guess. What I wrote is that we don't consider college to be optional - because we don't discuss it as being optional. When I say "she's going" it means that it's our expectation that she will go - in any conversations we have about the matter, the assumption is always that she will go to college. We don't discuss it as an OPTION - it's assumed. And because of that, she considers it simply part of her overall education - it's not even on her radar that she can opt not to go. Why is that harsh? And whatever happened to "people vary" lol? In our family we place a high value on education, and we will pay for her post high school education so that debt doesn't factor into it. Again - why is that harsh? Because we are setting a standard of expectation? That's called parenting. I was exaggerating when I said it as bluntly as I did, as in she's going even if I have to tie her up to make her do it, lol. Obviously no one can force another person to do something - but poor kid, her parents are handing her a college education on a silver platter and setting her up for the best possible success in life. Harsh indeed!
     
  3. kenny
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    by kenny » Feb 15, 2018
    :doh:
     
  4. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Feb 15, 2018
    I was in class with a kid who had been raised that way. She had taken different classes in early high school to see some options plus her parents arranged for her to see people at work for things she was interested in and talk with them so she had a good idea what she did and didn't want to do. She did Running Start (WA program for attending college while in high school) for two years. I met her in her last quarter of this. She was already accepted to a program she liked and was excited for what she was getting ready to do. Plus had only two years to go so minimal debt possible. (I suspect her parents had already saved, but didn't ask)

    Talking about "when you go to college" can definitely be awesome for some kids.
     
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  5. arkieb1
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    by arkieb1 » Feb 15, 2018
    Don't you all have gap years like they do in the UK and Australia? Lots of young people here rather than rushing to University go overseas on a working Visa and travel, work in bars, in cafes, pick fruit do whatever to make enough to live and see as much of the world and just party for a year or two and get that out of their systems and then you come back to Australia and go to University. I must admit I had a "gap" year myself. I worked 3 low paid crappy jobs in my gap year and went out etc and IMHO it makes you more focused when you arrive at University.
     
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  6. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Feb 15, 2018
    Not officially. There are some families who pay for their kid to get to do something like that others go do volunteer work somewhere in the world for a year.

    I went straight from HS to a technical school -- like I graduated on a Friday and my classes started on Monday! I got to within a quarter of finishing (would have been an AAS for my computer aided drafting program) when I learned about looking at who will hire and all that. (as background, no one in my family has ever been to college of any form before so I had no guidance. They were upset I wasn't going to just go work as a custodian or school lunch room like the rest of them.)

    I left there with $30,000 in loans and no degree. It took about a year of working in Starbucks then a deli and barely being able to pay my bills that I decided I wanted to do something NOT that and started looking into alternatives. I can definitely see where a gap year would have been a huge benefit as you get to have that experience without the loans!
     
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  7. tyty333
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    by tyty333 » Feb 15, 2018
    We dont have gap years here in the US...parents still fear that if you dont catch them and get them into college right after high school then they may never
    go. I think it would be good if we did have gap years because kids would be more mature when they hit college and maybe have a better under-
    standing of what they wanted to do (major in). Let me rephrase...it would be better for my kids because they tend to run a little on the immature side
    (unlike their Mom). Plus, they'd get the pleasure of learning how expensive it is to live in the real world.
     
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  8. tyty333
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    by tyty333 » Feb 15, 2018
    TooPatient...just curious why you stopped going to school when you were fairly close? Too much loans?
     
  9. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Feb 15, 2018
    Very cool that your kids get to have the opportunity to go to whatever schooling they want and not have to worry about debt!

    For your younger kid.... Get him involved in the school band. The summer all day rehearsals and practice an hour before school or two hours after will leave him looking for other career options! Besides, it is great to teach attention to detail and practice and time management and all sorts of stuff! One of my former bandmates went on to be in a band that traveled and performed during school breaks while he attended a great music school working on a music degree plus another. (several bandmates did a similar program and have careers outside of music but loved the experience) If you want a good look at what my HS program looked like, check out the movie Drumline.
     
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  10. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Feb 15, 2018
    My mother got married so I lost the grants I had been qualifying for. That left me with a few thousand dollars uncovered for the next quarter and due in full about a week later. No one would co-sign on a loan for me and I couldn't get one by myself.

    Turns out to have been just as well because the school got a bad reputation about that time (for graduates without the skills needed to succeed) and having it on a resume is more harm than help. I have heard several hiring managers in this area (not knowing I went there at all) mention that they toss out any application with that school without looking further. They have since shut down and there may be some legal action by some of the more recent graduates.
     
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  11. kenny
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    by kenny » Feb 15, 2018
    Not for everyone, but one choice is to join the military, see the world.
    Then use the GI bill to help pay for school.

    I spent 6 years on active duty and was stationed all over the globe.
    Invaluable experience!
     
  12. FancyDiamond
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    by FancyDiamond » Feb 15, 2018
    Like Erica, my husband and I “placed a very high priority on education”. Although we never communicated to our daughters that college/university education was non-negotiable, the idea of moving on to college was a part of growing up, just like attending and graduating from high school. Our view is that the college experience not only provides knowledge and critical thinking but also social enrichment. In addition, there is a hope that young adults can find lifetime friends, love, and possible future spouse there, as the students are of similar age, background, and interests.
    Since majority of college attendees are young adults who generally have no idea about study major, let alone future profession preference, we expected our daughters to explore and find their answers while in college. The only guidance we provided was in summer internship. Summer employment is critically important. It not only provides job/people skills/exposure, but also helps guide the students in study major selection, course selection, and career goal setting. Many students have high grade point average, but summer internship (or work/study program), especially relevant job experience, helps set apart the job candidates from one another. My daughters understood the importance, and they frequented their career development office where company recruiters visited often.
    Is ollege education is worth the high tuition, time, and effort? I would say definitely yes, because it helps the student grow academically, socially, and intellectually (maturity and goal oriented). If one worries about ability to pay back school loans with job salary, then increase one’s chance by focusing on paths that would lead to jobs that pays. One needs not be doctors and lawyers. There are many decent and high demand jobs in other areas such as health, software, business, and etc..
    Although electricians, builders, and plumbers work with their hands, a college education definitely helps them think and research how to set up their own business in the future.
    One important point is that college education provides only the tool, and that it is the individual’s drive which determines his success of benefiting from a college education. We parents provide direction and support.
     
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  13. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Feb 15, 2018

    One of my cousins was pushed into college by his parents and didn't do well. He spent a year messing around with nothing to show for it but a lot of wasted money and failed classes. My aunt and her wife decided that they wouldn't fund the mess anymore so he needed to figure something else out.

    He decided to join the Air Force and is very glad he did. He just finished his first year and is happier than I have ever seen him.
     
  14. Matata
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    by Matata » Feb 15, 2018
    Ah, but this when education truly begins; when one has learned to synthesize the facts one learns in formal education with the diametrically opposite experience of the world beyond the ivied walls.
     
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  15. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Feb 15, 2018
    Here are some good resources also:

    https://www.glassdoor.com/index.htm has reviews of different companies, average salaries by job title by location, and all sorts of other interesting things to get an idea of whether that career is something you are interested in or not -- and if the expense of the education for it is worth it or if another option may be a better fit.

    https://www.indeed.com/ has more company and salary information plus is a great place to read job postings to see what employers are requiring. (such as specific degree or degree from a certified school)
     
    


    


  16. redwood66
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    by redwood66 » Feb 15, 2018
    Good for him!

    My one that has been out of the Navy and going to college has reenlisted in the reserves in his previous job. He's found that he never should have gotten out and has missed it. He has let us know that when we get back from Ireland he will be putting in for an active duty station and getting back in full time. I am torn about it but know how much he loved that job. He is going to finish out the semester and then take the two classes he needs for his degree once he's back in. There is plenty of work available for those that have a TS/SCI clearance and he likes the spy stuff. =)2
     
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  17. TooPatient
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    by TooPatient » Feb 15, 2018
    Very much available work! A friend of mine worked at a major company and always had spots for those with that clearance. The company also gave preference to hiring veterans.

    I can see why you are torn but I also know how much those in that area love what they do.
     
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  18. LaylaR
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    by LaylaR » Feb 15, 2018
    My family places a huge emphasis on formal education. When one of my distant cousins quit college in his last semester and started working at a local landscaping company it was a huge scandal. Everyone said how it's a youthful mistake and how he'd regret it. He doesn't. He happily owns his own landscaping business now.

    I think it just depends on the kid. On where their strengths lie. On what they want to do with their lives. And the finances involved.

    My best friend's husband is a machinist. Blue collar job. He has a GED. His fingers are always stained. He makes more than twice what she does. And she has a PhD. There is a huge demand for what he does. They've lived all over the country for her education and job. And he never has an issue finding a high paying job. He has an incredible work ethic and his employers adore him. He's constantly getting promoted.

    Conventional wisdom is all well and good. But when it kicks common sense out the door, it's a problem. If college is a bad fit for someone it just is. Square peg, round hole.
     
  19. ericad
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    by ericad » Feb 15, 2018
    Too true, I guess I meant to say when her "institutional education" would end, lol. Basically not using high school graduation as the end point and treating college like it's "extra", but instead that the end of high school is simply another transition to the next level.

    But you know, if I felt that college was a terrible fit for my child, I would take a different approach. This is the way we treat the conversation based on the kid we have, but if my child was gifted in a different way, then we would do our best to encourage and support her to be her best self - whatever that means for her. I'm not suggesting that the college path is the only worthy path - just that it's clear my child is suited for college, so we are setting the expectations as such.

    I have a friend with two nieces. One is very academic, most likely going into medicine. The other has never ever been academic - but she's always been very gifted in fashion, design, makeup, etc. So one kid goes to "book college" and the other goes to "hair college" lol, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy for these girls, that their parents could see their differences and their promise and are supporting them on their individual paths. The kids are both super happy and both will be successful at something they love.
     
  20. caf
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    by caf » Feb 15, 2018
    Arkieb1 - my daughter is in her freshman year at college. I offered her a gap year - to do anything she wanted. Nope, wanted to go to right to college. I didn't think she needed to rush into it as hard as she worked in high school. She is going to a private east coast liberal arts college. Fortunately, being the little smarty that she is, she got a $25k per year scholarship. That helps a lot with her tuition. She also is working a little bit at college. As my parents did for me, she will come out of college with no debt. (I also worked in college - another good thing to do.)

    I agree with you that a gap year makes you more focused when you go to college (or grad school). I took one after college before law school. Best thing I did. I had a "crappy" corporate job...but saved my salary and then went to law school. I also paid for law school myself with savings, work and loans. I hope if my daughter goes to grad school, which she says she is going to, that she takes a year or two off and works/travels, etc. My goal is to help her pay for grad school too ( I can buy more bling when she is done). But I don't think there is any right way to do this - it depends on your financial situation, your family, your child, their aspirations and your expectations, etc.

    CAF
     
  21. Dancing Fire
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    by Dancing Fire » Feb 15, 2018
    Yeah, I wanted my daughters to get a college degree, b/c none of their aunts or uncles from either side of the family have a college degree.

    However, all of their cousins from both side of the family all graduated from college and are working full time jobs now except for one who is still attending dental school, so yeah we wanted our kids generation to be educated unlike our generation.
     
  22. House Cat
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    by House Cat » Feb 15, 2018
    The youngest plays bass in advanced school band. His first love is guitar but the band instructor doesn’t allow it. He is currently asking me for a drum kit for his birthday. :P2 He’s one of those people who is constantly making music. He even brings an acousic guitar into the car so that he doesn’t miss a moment of playing.

    I tell him he should major in music. I have several years to work on this one. :mrgreen2:
     
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  23. Dancing Fire
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    by Dancing Fire » Feb 16, 2018
    Go to college instead of going to bowling alleys, pool halls and gambling parlors...:silenced:
     
  24. LLJsmom
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    by LLJsmom » Feb 16, 2018
    In my household, the kids are expected to go to college. Exactly as @ericad posted:
    I agree with @Matata who so elegantly articulated my thoughts.
    Not having a college degree may limit an individual from advancing beyond a certain point in their career. However, this does not become an issue until later in life.

    These days, college educations can be so expensive that I can see why people don't feel like they can afford the luxury of one when the payoff isn't always immediate and tangible, and when in fact it can put them in the hole.

    I think 20-30 years ago, when I went to college, people could more afford to go into college with the attitude of just being open to just exploring. When you graduated, you would somehow figure out how to get a job that at least pays the rent. The market for everything these days is so much more competitive that a degree doesn't guarantee anything. Today, when you graduate, you need to know your career path and have relevant work experience to demonstrate to any potential employer that you are serious in your commitment to that line of work. You must also communication and interpersonal skills. I actually had a discussion with my son recently about the impact of the cost of college. I told him that college is really a job, except you are paying them. Not only does he need to excel academically, but it is also his job to develop himself and gain sufficient experience to pursue a line of work as a career when he comes out. Learn how to think, analyze, question, write, speak, lead, work and communicate with other people and take the initiative to make things happen for himself. This is learned only on the school campuses, but at internships and jobs that he will have while carrying an academic load. College is too expensive to waste. And if he wants to go to grad school...that is a separate thread.

    I can see that some people are not suited to college, for whatever reason, and choose to do technical/trade work. Technical training or trade schools that prepare them for these careers is a great option. However, globalization and technology will continue to make more and more careers obsolete, and that is true for all kinds of technical and professional occupations. Maybe some would disagree, but if certain jobs get phased out, I think having a degree would give them more options.
     
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  25. KristinTech
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    by KristinTech » Feb 16, 2018
    Our local school district offers a few different interesting options for students. An entrepreneurial track that introduces them to a wide variety of local businesses, a souped up “co-op” from what I remember as a 1993 graduate of HS (vocational), and also a path to obtain an associates degree in computer science along with the high school diploma. That last option made me want throw up when I saw the four-year plan for those kids!

    Our oldest will be a freshman next year. We’re like @ericad - college has been talked about as if it’s a given—it WILL happen. But like Erica, if our kids showed serious resistance to that path in whatever form, our conversation would be different. But she’s heading to college. We will help out, but we probably won’t pay 100%. My husband’s parents paid $0 for him, my parents paid about 90%. I had very little debt coming out of school, and my husband is a brainiac, so he somehow got a ton of scholarships and came out without debt. We both had our graduate degrees paid for via assistantships. He was a teaching assistant and I was a research assistant. I did take out a small loan to help with living expenses.

    I do think things are swinging back to more appreciation for trade jobs. Which is good news for everyone!
     
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  26. missy
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    by missy » Feb 16, 2018
    I agree so much with what has been shared here. Not everyone is a good fit for college per se but as long as one's education continues so you could follow your dreams and make a good life for yourself and become all you want to be that is what matters. My family put a huge emphasis on education and like @ericad not going to college and graduate school wasn't really an option. I mean if we weren't suited for it my parents wouldn't have pushed us but we were suited so they never really gave us the option. They guided us and never told us what to do ie become a doctor or lawyer etc but rather just do what we thought we would enjoy and work hard in school and your dreams can and will come true.

    My parents gave us the necessary tools to be successful in life. The building blocks if you will. That is what all children need and should get. A support network from their loved ones so they can pursue their dreams. Support not monetarily as much as emotionally.

    I just wanted to address the topic of gap years. I think some children benefit from this and some do best going straight through school. It just depends and people vary. My dh took a few gap years between college and business school and that was invaluable for him deciding what he wanted to pursue next and also gaining real life experience in the adult work world. I OTOH knew exactly the path I wanted to follow re career and a gap year would IMO have provided no benefit to or for me. I was actually the youngest person to get a degree from my graduate school. I liked getting that head start and earning money and living as an independent young adult starting my professional life. It was a plus for me but definitely not a plus for others. It all depends.

    No one size fits all that is the only thing that always holds true.

    @TooPatient, I think you are an amazing mother. Always open and there to listen and not judge and be a patient supportive loving parent. Always willing to do what is necessary to give your family the best possible opportunities and life. You rock.:appl:
     
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  27. House Cat
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    by House Cat » Feb 16, 2018
    I just don’t see how a parent can insist that their children must go to college if they aren’t going to pay the bill. If the parents are going to impose this rule upon their child, it is up to them to take on that enormous financial burden.

    Otherwise, it should be that college is a suggestion. It is ultimately the child’s life and their future is their decision. Oh who am I kidding? This is true whether the parents are paying for their college or not!
     
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  28. lyra
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    by lyra » Feb 16, 2018
    @House Cat My feeling is that you can lead your kids to education, but you should never try to push them into a path that they have not chosen for themselves. We always knew our youngest daughter's strongest subject was art. We knew it's almost impossible to make a living doing just art. She agreed, and chose a career with a lot of creativity in it instead. Now she's 27 and is a strategist for an advertising company. She found her niche, in a creative field. And she still does other art on the side. I would always nurture the strengths of a child above the expectations of a particular field of study. Always be supportive and let kids find their own paths.
     
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  29. ericad
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    by ericad » Feb 16, 2018
    College doesn't have to be an "enormous financial burden". I went to JC for 2 years, which was pretty inexpensive, then finished my BA at a state university, which was among the cheaper options. There's a huge swing from state schools to Ivy League and private schools. Plus, in our state, we had (not sure if it's currently available) a "guaranteed tuition" program that one can contribute into, buying units of education, from the time your child is born. With contributions from us and my parents, we maxed out our daughter's account (5 years worth of tuition) by the time she was 5. So she's now guaranteed 5 years worth of tuition (can be applied towards housing expenses too, if for example she gets a scholarship) at a WA state university (or the cash equivalent to apply to any college in the country) and it cost us under $40k total (the cash value today is much higher, that's just what the units cost us a decade ago) - not too shabby for 5 years of tuition!

    If the parents aren't footing the bill, I agree that they can't actually force their child to take on loans and go to college - the kids are adults. But for us, we expect her to go AND we are paying for it. Barring major financial hardship, I feel it's the parents' responsibility to pay for their kids' college education. But I had friends whose parents didn't contribute at all. A friend of mine had parents who bought a hot tub after she graduated from high school, yet she was on her own to pay for school - she spent 7 years trying to take classes at the pace she could afford, then finally gave up and has been successful in real estate, but she always yearned for that college degree. Her brother didn't finish college either - it was too hard for them to do it on their own without loans. An ex boyfriend was also kicked to the curb by his very wealthy parents once he graduated from high school - he had to take out loans for college, dental school and orthodontics school. He's a successful orthodontist now, but I can't even imagine the debt (and resentment) he must still carry. His parents, meanwhile, live in a mansion in the Bay Area and dad is the CEO of some tech company, but they didn't help him pay for school.

    Honestly, at the end of the day, does a college degree hurt? Of course not - it may not be necessary to make a good living, or necessary for the line of work a kid wants to pursue, but it's a good belt & suspenders plan, that degree.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
  30. cmd2014
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    by cmd2014 » Feb 16, 2018
    I think I'm practical about things. I think that kids should pick a career path and train in whatever way is necessary for that specific career path - not that you necessarily know exactly what it is you're good at or going to end up doing, but getting a degree just for the degree's sake seems a bit silly. But I am of the generation where all of my friends went to university (different than a college here - which is a trade school) just because it was the expected next step (and our parents who didn't have degrees naively thought it would set us up well to get a job). Many took degree programs with no actual path to leading to a job (honestly, a general arts degree is practically worthless on the job market), and then had student loan debt and a degree worth less than the paper it was printed on. So my message to those who ask me is to do some research on various career paths (skilled trades, healthcare, education, business - you name it), figure out what you need to do to be competitive in each one, figure out how many jobs there are likely to be and what they will pay, and decide on what suits you best in terms of your natural abilities, interests, what you want out of life, and other cost/benefit ratios (e.g., education to salary ratios - some jobs need huge education but pay very little compared to others).
     
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