Here’s a fun subject that most people around my age (18-25) feel passionate about: college. The money, the stress, the need for it…It comes up frequently in my conversations, so I wanted to share some thoughts on it.
It is a wonderful, glorious opportunity. It allows you to get better jobs, more respect, and ideally knowledge in a subject you’re passionate about. Learning is such a beautiful experience for those who want it. However, I have my doubts on how absolutely necessary college is.
After high school, I immediately left home to go to a four-year college about an hour away. As an extremely anxious, introverted person, I couldn’t have picked a worse place to go. It was too expensive, it was filled with people that I could not relate to in the SLIGHTEST, and it caused the most horrific nervous breakdown I’ve ever experienced. I think if I had waited a few years, or started at a community college where I could have been closer to home and saved some money, I would have been way better off.
If you have the means and the desire to go, that is an amazing thing, and I commend you for it. However, a lot of us truly don’t. It doesn’t make us less motivated workers, dumber, or worth less. There’s a lot of negativity, especially from older generations, on not going at all or even waiting a few years.
Now, if you’re one of those lucky individuals who has everything figured out and knows that they want to be a doctor/lawyer/engineer/etc…Obviously you need a degree for that, and your hard work will absolutely pay off. My English degree probably wouldn’t have had the same effect.
Ideally, I would have loved my choice in school and gotten my masters in English Literature and Education like I wanted to. But at this point in my life, I know I do not want to teach children, and my debt would have taken far longer to pay off. (I stayed at this school for less than a year, and four years later I’m still sending them payments every month).
Now that I have my mental health a little more under control I could definitely see going back. Either taking online classes or attending a community college would be wonderful. It would help me find better jobs and more connections in the fields I work in. One day I am planning on taking steps towards a degree again, but I am not in a huge rush.
For kids like me, the worst decision I could have made was going to a four-year school I knew nothing about right away. There truly isn’t any rush to it, and I wish I had taken the time to realize that. For a lot of people, the unknown is exciting, but for others it’s really not. If you decide to stay at home and work, travel for a few years, etc…Please don’t feel that you are a lesser person. Your mental health and your ability to pay for food and rent every month are more important. In this day and age, there’s a lot to be said for having a great work ethic and starting from the bottom.
At this point in my life, I see no point in spending 100k on a degree that would probably do nothing for me. If I come into serious money later on, I’ll go back just for the learning and the experience of it. This was purely written to let those of you who dropped out or couldn’t go know that you aren’t losers. You are doing what you can and that is all anyone can ask of you.
If you’re like me and you’re passionate about learning, you’ll find a way to do it no matter what. Read. Travel as much as you’re able to. Research. Talk to people. Take in everything you can and you’ll always be learning.
How was your college experience? Do you have any thoughts on my views in this post? I’d love to hear them in the comments!