College. There’s a lot of social pressure to go and get a degree. It can seem tough to get a job without one. People of the older generation would graduate and be easily promised a job, or so they say. So it’s easy to see why they promote it so heavily. Yet today you go through the trials and tribulations of further education only to be thrown into society where you’re lagging behind because you were busy going to classes instead of learning how to survive. In a professional sense, getting ahead is not so much about what you know, but more so about building your credentials and rapport. With so many people out there from different walks of life, businesses don’t care about who you are, but they care about who you can prove yourself to be on paper.
However, on the other hand, it almost seems like a perfect government scheme. You spend tens of thousands of dollars to enter a program that offers no preemptive promise of fulfillment in life and then they force you to pay them back months later at high interest. This nearly ensures that you give them money and also become a working individual therefore making them more money through tax revenue. As the antiestablishment cynic that I am, I say that college is a business like any other, and only survives off the fact that students pay them big bucks. So with that said, is it worth it, or is it not worth it? I may not have all the answers, or any answers really, but having just recently graduated, I can at least talk about my experience. So here goes nothing.
College is like a weird bubble that obstructs your view of all outside influences. While you’re there, it steals your focus and becomes the only thing that matters. Now, I’ve just recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree and I have more debt than I know what to do with. After having taken the past four and a half years to go through the trials of school, I now have to figure out how to thrive in society. The proverbial bubble has popped and I find myself in a job that seems completely irrelevant to my education and I’m facing a whirlwind of obstacles that are impeding me from propelling upward on the social ladder. Now I have to sit and ask myself, what exactly did I get out of school? Well, surprisingly, a lot. And furthermore, I am not really worried for my future. While I understand that it may sound like I have disdain for school, I am mainly just aiming to offer multiple perspectives to the point to make you think. So here’s what I got out of it and why I am not worried.
While I firmly believe that school is not necessary at all, I am completely satisfied with my education, and am nothing but pleased with the fact that I went through with it. I am often bothered when somebody says that a graduation certificate is just a “piece of paper that says they can work,” much to the same degree that the opposite extreme annoys me when somebody says that you can’t get anywhere in life without a degree. You need to first look at your motivations and decipher what is bringing you to think in ether of these ways. To me, a graduate certificate is not just a “piece of paper, but it’s a symbolic representation of the skills and qualities you may have attained through the years of educational advancement. It’s a badge of honor saying that you didn’t give up in the face of a challenge. Sure it serves as a hefty resume booster, which can aid in a job search, but why do you think that is?
There are many characteristics that college instills in you as long as you are willing to go through with it. Each semester you are forced to undergo a rapid changing environment. Through a different housing environment, to a different schedule, to different class tasks and so on so forth, it teaches you adaptability. You’re forced to learn time management through maintenance of homework and studying, classes, meetings, seminars, a job if you have one and all sorts of other factors involved. It teaches you social competence by forcing you to grow accustomed to giving presentations, working and producing different constructs with a wide variety of people that you may or may not want to deal with. I can go on all day, but I’ll stop there. My main point is that college instills you with different qualities of success by forcing you to cope with all sorts of mental challenges. How you react also tells you a lot about yourself.
On the other hand, adaptability, time-management, social competence; these are all characteristics that you can acquire through drive and perseverance. Everything else is all public knowledge. Classes just act as an arbiter aiding your understanding of a topic through mentorship. Like I said, I by no means think that college is necessary at all. There are plenty of successful people out there who survive on wit alone and one cannot ignore the fact that there are people who didn’t even graduate high school and still make it plenty far in life. Sure I understand that sometimes there are circumstances that inhibit personal growth, but complacency is no excuse.
Realistically, any situation in life can be a learning experience if you choose to think of it that way. You have to be mindful and actively look for the lessons to take away. For example, just last week I was outside waiting for a bus. I got cold and decided to put on a jacket. As soon as I did this, the person to my right noticed and did the same. This is wildly meaningless and perhaps could have just been a coincidence, but if not, then at that moment I was confronted with the fact that my actions, now matter how harmless or minuscule they may have been, had an influence on someone else without my intent. One cannot escape their own person ripple effect. I could elaborate on that, but this is just an example and not the purpose of this post. So anyway, back to how to grow as an individual without school.
The best way that I can think of is to be active. However, being active, in most scenarios costs money. So just skip the middleman and work. But again, don’t become complacent. Find your limits, and work a little bit past them. Once there is nothing left to learn at whatever job you’re doing, then start searching for something new. It’ll keep you connected with different people and build that social competence, searching for a new job will aid you with time-management, getting a new job with help with becoming more adaptable, you’ll learn new skills on each job, and you’ll build a better resume by having acquired new skills. Sure it may not be easy, but college isn’t easy either. Luckily, we live in the age where you can do everything in the comfort of your own home with the power of the Internet. So start now and always strive to learn and grow. Your own personal betterment starts with you.
In the most simplistic of ways, college is just experience. Sure you learn material from classes and whatnot, but you are also bombarded with all sorts of different scenarios that you can learn from. Nobody got anywhere in life by saying I can’t. If you want to get somewhere in life you have to put in work, but you can’t let your fear hold you back. If you think that you can gain something from going to college, then do it. If you trust in yourself to be okay without it, then don’t bother. Something that separates successful people from non-successful people is the drive to action. Lots of people have plenty of ideas and voice their motivation but never create any result from that. It’s because of this that I find motivation to be useless. Don’t be motivated; be productive. As long as you’re moving, you’ll get somewhere. And don’t worry if you’re lost right now and or feel alone in the process. Eventually, people will see the path you’ve created and begin following along.
Stay tuned and as always, peace