I actually totally agree with you on the changes brought on by college. I also grew up poor. And looking over your writing, it seems like our lives have a fair amount in common.
When I talk about this I definitely struggle with the inherent paradox. If I hadn’t gone to college I may have never ended up in a position to have the thoughts that I have.
I likely would have ended up regretting it because I would probably have blamed my lack of college for my problems instead of my own lack of effort. I certainly wouldn’t have the life I have now.
Only 4 classes I took in college had any meaningful impact on my life. But, they had an extremely meaningful impact on my life.
Those of us who have these feelings have an obligation to be vocal and pressure institutions to change for the better for the future. There’s no changing the past.
We should also help guide kids to healthy paths for the lives they want. Which is something it sounds like you’re already doing and I respect that deeply.
I don’t often find myself in that position, but maybe I should actively seek it out.