By now you have had probably heard the word “college” at least once, if not every other second of your life. What is it? And why is it so important and talked about? Well, first off, college is an institution you attend after high school for higher education and more focused learning in certain subjects. Secondly, it isn't as important as it seems, and it is talked about because it is deemed a “need” in order for you to get a job or be successful. However, that is not the case.
There are pros to college, of course. With certain careers, you need that extra education that can help excel your knowledge and skills, such as working in the medical field. But not all of us want to be doctors, and that is where the cons come in. One of the main cons of college is the price. The average cost of attending an in-state college is $17,131 and out of state tuition is $29,657. Doesn't seem outrageous enough? Nowadays, getting into a college, specifically a state college, isn't enough for many and isn't believed to be as “successful” as those who get into prestigious private schools. You may be asking, how much do these prestigious private schools cost? A whopping price of $38,580 plus books and other things amounting to an extra $4000. Thus, the least you could pay would be around $57,000, and the most you can pay $168,000. (you are basically buying a house, except, a house can go up in value and earn you money but paying for tuition cannot.)
This leads us into college debt. Many who have dealt with it will know that it is not like normal debt. With normal debt, you can discharge your debt via bankruptcy if the bills can't get paid via normal means. Bankruptcy is part of the way America ensures people get second chances. As of right now, college debt is the only form of debt that bankruptcy cannot discharge. The average college graduate will get out of school with around $40,000 in debt, and as mentioned above, it can easily shoot up to as high as $160,000 or more, especially if you are attending medical or grad school.
A USA Today article recently noted that the burden of college debt that grads are now taking on is proving to be a significant barrier to financial stability. Many grads are putting off leaving home, starting their own business, or even having kids because the debt is making it impossible to live their own life. If you really think about it, drowning in debt really isn't how you want to go through life. Not only does this beg the question "is college necessary for success?" it almost leads us to believe college is a hindrance to professional success in some cases. In fact, the debt alone is one of the reasons why college grads say that they regret getting a degree.
You have probably been told all your life that college is the start of adulthood and prepping for your future. But how is that really true if we're only trained to get straight A's and when we don't perform up to par, we're told by our parents, our teachers, and our guidance counselors that “we're throwing our life away or that we'll never amount to anything.”. But, let's say we do buy into this “A” system, that just isn't realistic. When you get out in the real world, you'll realize that life doesn't allow for perfect records and that no matter how hard you try, you will likely lose more often than you win, and you will never be perfect. Measuring perfection and imperfection with a score or a letter grade is not helpful or healthy. As a result of that, we grow up having high expectations that once we graduate, we will land a high paying job with a title, great perks, bonuses, and benefits. This is just setting us up for disappointment and giving us zero preparation for the real world.
If you are anything like me, you would just want to do everything as soon as possible, quickly, and when you are done, you are onto the next thing. This leads us to why college is a waste of time. Life is short and spending 4+ years in college is just not worth it if you want to start doing things. If you were to not attend college, you would be half a decade ahead of all your peers and have already started your career; WITHOUT student debts.
Speaking of wasting time, the world moves FAST. Too fast for our education system to keep up. As soon as the ink dries in a textbook, the information is likely to become obsolete or incorrect before it's even handed to the student. With technology at your fingertips, you can pick up and learn new skills that are required for the most in-demand and high paying jobs that colleges can't keep up with, because of the new skills required change too frequently.
As we are living in the age of media, everyone and everything is given a media platform. You do not need a college education and a diploma. People are out here making online celebrities out of their dogs, cats, babies and themselves. Thus, people like graphic designers, writers, online marketers, photographers, filmmakers, and programmers are crushing it right now and will continue to crush it for decades to come, because creativity, technology, and entertainment are what drives the economy today, and those are skills that can be self-taught. This is sadly causing psychology and business degrees to be useless. Business degrees lost their value in the early 90's and psychology degrees never had value. If you obtain a business or marketing degree you will probably be a project manager, and over-time more and more technologies will become available that will automate much of what you do making you completely dispensable.
One of the most common reasons that people say college isn't necessary to succeed in life is because most jobs out there don't really need a college education in order for people to understand what they're doing. In fact, among professions that hire base on a portfolio, having a college degree without a good portfolio is akin to being a doctor who's never practiced on a patient. For example, why should a photographer be well-read in the history of famous photographers to take a good picture? A dancer doesn't need Dance Appreciation 101 to kill it in auditions, and salespeople don't need a degree to be able to talk to people convincingly and get them to buy goods. Simply put, the majority of jobs don't require college; they prefer experience over that. Right now, around 64 percent of all jobs out there do not require a college degree.
But what can I do if I don't go to college? You can still educate yourself, especially on the skills mentioned above! You can learn professional skills involving web development, video editing, marketing, business, photography, and more, just by watching videos on YouTube for free. With all those skills, you can put them on your resume and show your portfolio to future employers, who care more about your value than what fancy school you went to. The fact is that people are quickly becoming wise to the fact that a degree isn't the only path to success out there. Experience, alternative schooling, and certifications are all worth a look if you're not completely sure of college is the right choice for you.
A popular alternative to college is experience training. This is one of the best ways to learn because you are learning on the job. This is an effective route for fields in sales, artwork, talent, and manual labor. Another route to take on could be an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a must in trades such as carpentry and tattoo artistry if you want to get into a good position/company. As with many things, getting an apprenticeship isn't easy, however, with passion and dedication, it can lead you to a six-figure salary. There is also a trade school. This is a really good alternative as the need for certified tradespeople are rising and there are not enough people to fill spots, thus, this will surely guarantee a job for you after schooling. Lastly, entrepreneurialism. As I mentioned above that a business degree isn't helpful in today's society. But that doesn't mean you can't still pursue business. You can start one. You never need a degree to start a business. Bill Gates didn't have one, neither did Steve Jobs. If you have the talent and work ethic, it's doable. Learn by reading a couple of books and research, commit, and give it time, and you'll be on your way to starting your own business online. Or if you consider yourself outgoing and have a hobby/passion like make-up, fashion, gadgets, movies, music. Building a personal brand is something you should look into. There are literally thousands of people making millions of dollars as bloggers or vloggers on YouTube. As I mentioned earlier, we're in the age of media. If you've got what it takes to entertain someone or give them something of value, then you need to be building a brand.
Of course, I am just listing a fraction of the endless possibilities creativity and motivation can bring you. But, to conclude, college isn't necessary for everyone. You may be the type of person that wants to create their own brand, content, product. If so, you can do it without dumping $60,000 and wasting a couple of years of your life, and instead, use that money and time to build something of your own. However, if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, this may not be a choice for you. Ultimately, do what you feel is right and makes you happy, and not because of societal expectations or what your family wants you to do. It is your life and if you can dream it, you can achieve it.
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