In order to succeed in life, you need the three C’s; College, Cash, and Confidence…
Said every guidance counselor ever (at least mine did). I’ll give it to them. They’re right to a certain extent. Without college, you don’t have doctors and nurses. Without cash, you’re broke. And, confidence is king. So, why would any intelligent student avoid college? That doesn’t even compute. Tons of smart people study, pass exams, apply for scholarships, and stock up their dorms with ramen. And, for what? Potential student loan debt. A sense of failure when they over-qualify for positions in the real world. A sense of emptiness if they reach that corporate peak (what’s at the top of the corporate ladder? An ulcer?).
Going to college isn’t always practical. Attend college if you want to do a profession that requires intense background knowledge. But, don’t go to college, because your guidance counselor told you, your parent wants you to, or your friends are all doing it. Successful students and graduates don’t have to go with the flow. Swim against the current my brilliant guppies.
Here’s five brilliant reasons why you should reconsider attending college:
The Price Tag:
Let’s say you go to the typical state university, a ballpark figure for an in-state student is 40k. A freshmen in high school could easily save up the 40k thanks to scholarships, trust funds, maybe a college fund set up since childhood. The typical freshmen, or parent isn’t walking around with 40k per year. The funny thing about tuition prices is that they don’t include the price of books, that swanky new computer, your lab equipment, etc. There’s also food. Entertainment. A car if you’re traveling to campus. And, the dorm. Stores do a great job advertising nifty decor, and sassy bunk beds for low, low prices. Sure, snake oil sales man.
Everyone knows college is expensive. It’s in the news. And, eventually you gain this thing called student debt. It’s the good debt. But, you have scholarships, or maybe a full-ride. You’re set. Ever heard of the phrase “cash poor”. That means the more funds one has, i.e. a scholarship. The less money towards financial aid students are given. As reported in the New York Times, you don’t need to worry about the price of tuition unless you’re this young lady. That means, unless you’re planning on winning the lottery or becoming an engineer, and successful throughout your entire academic career. You’re going to be upside down, before you even get a cap or gown.
What About Passion:
I’m not talking about trendy new age college love. Or dating your high school sweetheart and choosing the perfect school love. I’m talking about the passion that creates the motivation to make you do something in life. If you make straight A’s in Chemistry but want to learn how to play guitar? Can you drop your Biomedical Major and slide over to Music History while you’re in your junior year? Sure, why not! You’ve already sunk roughly a hundred thousand dollars of your hard-earned scholarship money and parental funds into Pre-Med. Why not try guitar 101?
Or, maybe you discovered you’re really good at pop-and-lock, but your Creative Writing professor really needs you to trim the excessive “thats”, “verys”, and other filler words out of your first attempt at memoir.
So these are two extreme cases, but you get the point. Passion doesn’t just happen overnight. You need to do something to ignite the flames, while you’re young and carefree. For example, when was the last time a kid told you they wanted to be a firefighter, and twenty years later little Johnny owns a food truck and makes the best darn deep-fried butter on Earth? Or better still, how about Susie whose mother told her that there’s no such thing as “money in writing”, and she grows up to write the greatest American Novel, while raising two kids and working part-time at a soup kitchen. Point is, Johnny and Susie had passions and dreams, they followed them.
People die, some are created, and stuff happens that changes your perspective in life. That’s okay, the only constant is change. But, it’s kind of hard to change subjects, transfer majors, or give up on something you’ve worked so hard to complete. Does that mean there’s no hope? You’ve got your degree and now, to heck with it, you’re going to be pigeonholed in that one career forever? Not necessarily.
Mind over Major:
Some students war over what’s the right major to fit their “type”, whether it’s a personality type, a skill, or some other means of identifying themselves. They might find the right major for the right type. Like a writer who studies for their MFA in Creative Writing.
If you received your degree and graduated, then you haven’t lost your way if you decide to do something else. People decide to go back to college after graduating and they want to attempt a new degree. I don’t recommend that. Besides money and an ageist society thing, there’s more to life than the structure of a classroom. Do your own independent studies. Make your own mind up about things.
Spend time discovering the world around you. Travel. And, if you can’t afford to travel. Try volunteer work. Do something that can get you closer to being your true self. If you studied to be a vet, but you currently dislike your position, because you love animals, but hate their owners. Become a service animal trainer. You can still be around the creatures you love, but you might learn how to get over your hatred of humanity. This is just one example of leaving one aspect of life to pursue another.
Even successful professionals need to change or reinvent themselves. A real world example consists of a guy who got tired of working a 9-to-5. He’s getting married in a few months and wanted to make more money, but spend more time with his new bride. After inheriting a rundown home from a deceased family member, he gutted, remodeled and sold the home. After, learning the process of taking a home from trash to profit. He decided to leave the corporate world and become a house flipper. He went to school for what he did in the corporate world. But, he ended up elsewhere. And, that’s amazing.
What makes you happy? Waking up and going to a campus day in and day out? Studying for tests that you might end up failing, anyway? Actually, people might love that. Loving the idea of going to school and attending classes might be why some people become career students. However, if something inside of you might not resonate with the hype of going to college. You’re not alone. A lot of people probably feel the same way, including your classmates.
If you’re in high school, and your teacher is relatively close to your age (weird, but true), think about what she did to get in her position. Maybe she had a passion for teaching. And, knew without a doubt this is what she wants to do.
If she works as a teacher in a state with mandated tests, is she psyched about pushing her lessons to the side and discussing the proper way to bubble a Scantron? Clearly, your teacher went to college, she passed the tests, and received a license to teach the youth of the world. Does she still look happy? If she’s not happy. How are you going to feel when you enter the collegiate world?
Whatever the reason, if you’re not happy with the end product, you may never find happiness. Life becomes mundane, no doubt about it. But, if you don’t have anything that energizes your blood in the morning, especially if it’s your chosen passion, major, career. It’s not worth doing.
Everyone’s doing it. Your guidance counselor mentioned above tells you that college is the only way to get anything done in life. Your parents talk about their years in college with a twinkle in their eyes. Yeah, they remember that one keg party. Ooh, and the sorority sisters always threw the best pajama parties.
You’re never going to live that life. You’re going to be that one person who doesn’t have a this-one-time-in-band-camp story about college. You’re going to attend your high school reunion, and when you look across the room, you’re going to say:
“Wow. I’ve done absolutely nothing with my life since I didn’t go to college. And, my guidance counselor was right, I did become a dirty hobo (no offense hobos). And, my parents were right, I’m totally unfulfilled because I didn’t go to that frat party.”
Yeah, right. Brilliant, successful former students don’t attend their high school reunion without some feather in their cap. So, don’t think you didn’t accomplish anything. If you’re a parent. You made a person. If you’re an artist. You created something. If you are a criminal. At least you did the time (and you have a funny story to tell your wary classmates).
Life is what you make it. People can tell you what to do until they’re blue in the face. If you follow every person’s idea and suggestion, you’ll overload with too much info. Even this post that you’re reading right now. You don’t have to take anything to heart. Go to college. Become that successful graduate. And, show off your fancy pin.
Or, you can create a life that doesn’t require excessive debt, a lack of purpose, inferiority complexes, and hangovers the size of Mars. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do in your life. It’s none of their business!
In conclusion, there’s nothing wrong with obtaining knowledge. Knowledge is good. But, how you obtain it shouldn’t be locked behind ivy gates. Go to a library. Volunteer. Read the cited references in a Wiki article. Do something other than let the medium by which you partake your education prevent you from being the successful individual that you want to be.