It’s that time of year when high school juniors and seniors start deciding where they’re going to apply/go to college and what they want to do with their lives. I’m here to tell you this archaic process is bullshit. How are you supposed to know at sixteen or seventeen what you want to do with the rest of your life? A college degree costs an average of $100,000. That’s a helluva lot of money to spend on something you aren’t absolutely, one hundred percent positive you want to pursue and work at FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
In the United Kingdom, a common practice is to take a gap year before starting college. High school graduates take a year off to travel, intern, and generally get their shit together before pursuing a college degree.
As someone whose parents would not allow her to take a year off, I am the perfect example of what happens when you aren’t ready for college. I was an honors student in high school. By everyone’s predictions I was a perfect candidate for college. But I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted to do with my life. That one year my parents weren’t willing to compromise on cost them $12,000. At a state school with only one semester of living on campus! The only things I learned how to do that year were to illegally procure alcohol and rack up about $7,000 in credit card debt.
I am positive I could have used far less money to explore/travel/figure some shit out AND spent that time far more productively.
The lesson here is, if you aren’t sure exactly what you’re going to get out of college and exactly what you want to do with that insanely over-priced piece of paper, don’t go.
That’s right kids; I’m telling you not to go to college, at least not right away.
Yes, you need a college degree to succeed in most facets of today’s corporate world. I went back and finished my degree at twenty-seven after hitting a ceiling where I could not be promoted any further without that piece of paper. However, I knew what I wanted then. I paid for it myself (at a private college no less) and I graduated cum Laude, with less than $20,000 in student loans. Also proving it is possible to graduate from college without a crippling amount of student loan debt!
There are other roads that lead to success. Don’t automatically choose the one in front of you because it’s what people say you should do. Figure it out for yourself and you’ll be much happier and far more successful.
And if your parents give you any shit for it, show them the math, if that doesn’t work, do it anyway and just blame me 🙂