Are you confused or stressed out about whether or not you should go to college? Good, that means you’re actually thinking critically about it. Family, friends, and society in general will tell you that it’s what you should do and that you won’t amount to very much if you decide not to go. But, I’m here to tell you that they’re wrong and not everyone should go to college. The idea that you have to go to college in order to amount to anything makes me want to vomit because it’s a lie that has been so commonly digested that it makes me sick to my stomach.
Is it a little hypocritical for someone who has a college degree (a few actually) to make this statement? Yes and no. But unlike many of the kids I graduated high school with, and the fresh high school graduates I went to university with, I didn’t graduate high school with a plan to go straight to university. In fact, I didn’t even graduate with my bachelors until I was 29 years old. At that time, I was already a mother, I had survived over 6 years in the Army, a deployment to Iraq, and had concrete work experience. My undergraduate was completely paid for and I knew why I was going to school.
Because I waited, I was lucky enough to go to college with the maturity to know that what I put into my education was exactly what I was going to get out of it. While my peers were obsessing over boyfriends and rushing houses through hazy ideas about what really mattered in life, I was quietly building up my resume. I didn’t think that just because I graduated someone was going to give me a job. Also because I went to college later, I was wiser, so I wasn’t swallowed up with the desire to be well-liked. I didn’t worry about how I would sound in front of an audience. I knew that if I tried and failed, I could just try again. I didn’t have to go through the same growing pains I did during early adulthood. I thank everyday that I didn’t have to worry about my parents pressuring me to study what they wanted, at the school that they had chosen, because they were footing the bill and “knew better”. I knew a few kids whose parents did this to them. Instead of pursuing their passions and building a wonderful career, they were destined to enter job markets that they would have to exchange their spiritual and mental health for money. Right, parents? Who cares if they’re happy and balanced adults so long as you get your money back on your investment.
I say, what a cruel thing to do to someone just because you can. College degrees aren’t worth what they were a few decades ago. In the end it’s just a piece of card stock with your name on it. And the truth is, degree or not, it’s the size of the fight in the dog not the size of the dog that will determine where someone ends up in life. You should go to college when you know exactly how you’re going to use your degree to get the job that you want.
Signs That you Should Avoid College
- When asked why you want to go, you reply, “because I want a good job”. That’s the worse answer ever. You may as well have said, “I don’t know”. You should go to college if your answer sounds like:
- You’re targeting certain professors and networks at that university who you want to work with or be able to have access to.
- You’re targeting a specific skill set that is offered in the program that you can’t get anywhere else.
- You’ve looked at the job market and know exactly from which angle you’re going to approach it from. For example, I was an English major who minored in business and constantly got confused looks by people who couldn’t understand why. I knew why. I was using the English major to expose myself to certain literary bodies of work, to see which titles were popular and why, get exposure and experience in different styles of analysis and research, develop a writing portfolio, network with potential writers and proofreaders that I could hire, and gain access to their publishing opportunities. The minor was to learn how to effectively market, use accounting processes, run product analysis, and effectively run a business.
- You’ve conducted your own research or read satisfaction reports about how satisfied graduates were with their degree and what kinds of jobs they currently hold.
- You actually have experience, read a book, or taken a college course that relates to this magical “good job” you want. Don’t end up like those people that choose a degree, spend the money,
- You’re being forced to go or feel like you don’t have another choice. You should go to college only if you:
- Know your alternatives and have decided that on-the-job training, the military, and other work programs are just not for you.
- Exhausted everyone in your own network and no one wants to mentor you.
- Haven’t sized up any vocational/technical schools or community colleges. If you haven’t even looked at the programs offered at these schools, you stink with the fact that you are just another victim of very good marketing.What you’ve fallen for is the university’s label, not the product. You’ve also failed to recognize that many students not only receive great instruction at these types of schools but that many start at these schools and then transfer to other universities, cutting their debt. You should, no questions asked, be paying to attend a university if you’re specializing in:
- You’re not sure how much your education costs. I cringed when students I went to university with would say, “I don’t know how much it costs. My parents pay for everything.” If you don’t know the price you’re paying to go, you’re not in a position to gauge what the degree is truly worth. It’s obvious that you haven’t really thought about the responsibilities associated with getting a degree. You probably also don’t know that student loans don’t disappear if you claim bankruptcy or it’s not cute graduating with a worthless degree while creditors hunt you down.
Photo credit @ Pixabay