By Esther Kardos
At this point, all students are familiar with the dreaded College Questions--that is, the inquiries about their university plans all students seem to receive once they reveal to strangers that they’re currently enrolled in high school. These typically cover topics such as “What kind of college are you interested in?”, “Where do you think you’re going to go?”, “Which major are you thinking of pursuing?”, or anything equally well-intentioned yet intrusive.
And yet, after having gone through this cross-examination my fair share of times, I’ve noticed a rather disconcerting detail: out of the long list of College Questions, I have never been asked the question of if I wish to go college. In today’s society and in our community of Council Rock, it seems as if the idea of any high schooler’s having no desire to attend a university once graduation comes around is preposterous. The teen who doesn’t wish to go to college is, in society’s eyes, the same teen who lives in his parents’ basement and is some good-for-nothing delinquent who will eventually become mankind’s burden.
But that’s wrong. The adults who encourage this visual are the individuals who grew up in a time when learning was affordable and employers looked for a college diploma when scouting for every high-paying job. However, that’s certainly not the case anymore, and the preconceived notion that college is absolutely mandatory is one of society’s largest and most expensive scams to date.
After all, in this new age, there is an abundance of reasons why someone would choose to pursue a passion without college. The facts are that self-application beats education in a number of fields, and no matter what you’re planning on majoring in, being able to come out of your early twenties debt-free is an extremely appealing thought. At this point, paying off student loans puts college students’ dreams on hold until they reach the age of forty; the artist paying off thousands of dollars of art school debt may be just as talented as the artist who chose not to attend college, but the former will have to work various minimum wage jobs for a decade while the latter is able to create dozens of paintings in that time. And minimum-wage jobs may seem to be blessings to these twenty-somethings, considering that nearly 85% of college graduates will graduate and then return home jobless, hopefully to find employment in the near future.
Thus, even when faced again with the College Questions, never miss out on the fact that you always have choices. In a society where our education system may seemingly suggest one path, don’t be afraid to break your parents’ hearts and choose a route that doesn’t involve a bachelor’s degree. In the end, this isn’t anyone else’s future to choose; it’s your own.