College is not always the best answer

Higher education is something that in the US has become very important. You can’t seem to get a decent paying job without some sort of formal education, unless you have a degree. Going into massive amounts of debt is the norm, it’s almost expected at this point. Gaining a degree in something that is “concrete,” aka business, marketing, or engineering, is seen as the only way you can get a steady, well paying, long lasting job. Degrees in fine arts are seen as almost worthless, degrees in something that isn’t the norm is almost unheard of, a degree in a general field isn’t guaranteed a safe bet any more.

Sitting in classes that you feel aren’t helping you in any way, taking prerequisites and having to do well in a wide range of areas of study; having to waste thousands on this are contributing factors to the stress, reluctance, and low rates of motivation that college students feel. It’s the reason people skip class, don’t study hard, and drop out. The frustration of it all can become too much to handle for some, while others thrive under these conditions.

Why do I need to take a biology class to become an accountant? When you think about it, it’s more likely that the school wants you to be well rounded, which makes sense, but I feel as if there are better ways to accomplish this.

Many colleges require you take, for example, a math class. If you’re a journalism major, math isn’t really going to be vital for your future success. They offer a range of math classes, some that are more general, some specific, some down right ridiculously hard. You take a placement test and are told that you would do well in one class, but what about the one that either actually sounds interesting, or what about taking one that you can see yourself using? I have yet to use the math I was required to learn in my first year, and I honestly couldn’t preform the equations anymore if I tried. But hey, I took it and got the credit, thank goodness for that.

I think colleges should offer a way to “opt out” of taking credits. If you know in your heart and soul that you want to be an accountant, you should be able to opt out of having to take a philosophy class that goes over nothing really pertaining to you. You should be able to swap that credit for an additional math class or office ethics class that will help you.

If you’re unsure of what you want to take and what degree you want to aim for, you should be able to not only take an aptitude test, but to be able to “shop” the interests you do have to help you make the decision. What I mean by that is you can go and sit in on a couple of different lectures, see what the class material is like, if you have an interest, and then have the option to take that class or not. There can be a deadline that you have to keep, but a way for you to try out new things in a controlled way might help a lot of people make the big life decision they are forced to make at a young age.

I’m a firm believer in community and junior college. I think that these are more affordable ways to take general education courses needed, they help make sure you’re on the right path, and they tend to be great segways to a big state school. There is a stigma around them as being a baby college or for only dumb people and are generally looked down upon. Sure you can’t spend thousands to live in a dorm, with huge classes with 100 people or more, or go into huge amounts of debt; but hey, thats the dream for college kids right?

Taking your gen. eds. at a community college should be something that more high schools push, especially for students that are unsure of what they want to do. Going to a big state school or private university gets you the diploma, but getting there starts the same way for everyone. We all have to take that random english class, we all have to learn about basic chemistry, we all have to be stressed over meaningless classes at some point. My question is why pay more for that?

Pushing a higher education in high schools should always be the goal, but when someone know that they don’t want to go to college, they just want to work, they shouldn’t be shamed for that. If they know they want to join the military and figure out their life a bit more should be seen as noble and smart rather than the easy way out. Going to trade school for a year shouldn’t be seen as a way to fail but rather as a way to succeed.

If someone want’s to go to trade school and become an electrician, let them do it without the judgement. If an accountant’s house needs to be wired, who’s supposed to do it if the world if full of doctors and lawyers? Someone who goes the trade school route, who knows the ins and outs of how electricity and currents work, can tell you whats wrong just by a brief explanation of whats happening are very valuable to our society. They make good money, have union jobs, and have a certain job security that some can only wish for.

What some don’t realize is that in the near future we’re going to come to a point of not having enough plumbers, electricians, professional painters, etc. because we forced college on people who didn’t want it. I think that people who go to trade school make up a good portion of our societies wealth; not only monetary but knowledge. They keep our society going in ways we don’t look at hard enough. They might seem lower class, but at the end of the day they aren’t; their vital.

Going to a four year college doesn’t make you any better than someone who worked their way up in a business with no degree in their hand. Having a typical college experience doesn’t mean someone who didn’t go so school didn’t have that exact experience. Having debt for a flashy school isn’t guaranteed to get you a good job anymore; experience does.  Having street and book smarts are equally important. Never put someone down for what they have an interest in or what they strive at. Success isn’t always measured as a piece of paper in your hand or where you went to school; it is more based on experience and what you have learned in your years. Keep that in mind while passing the construction worker making 30% more than you with job security.

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