Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Unnecessary college

I am coming to believe that far too many people go to college. I almost feel like I was lied to as I finished high school and college (I am sure it was unintentional). I remember getting the message from many sources that if you just finish high school, you can get a better job...and then, if you just finish college, you can get the job of your dreams... You know what, I'm now on the other side of high school, college, and hopefully before long, graduate school -- and it's not true.

Don't get me wrong. I think a college education can be a valuable and wonderful thing. I do not even remotely regret the years I've spent in "higher" education. But I believe you should absolutely not go unless 1) you can do it debt-free, and 2) it can help you fulfill your passionate purpose in life in a direct and deliberate manner. I no longer believe that an "undeclared" major is acceptable, and while I must concede that I was undeclared for the first year, it was only because I couldn't choose between Physics and Biology. If you don't know what you're doing in college, get a job where you can meet people (preferably related to something you enjoy doing) and read, read, read until you find out what makes you come alive. If you can't stand reading, then get out and learn everything you can, hands-on, about something you love doing (and find a way to enjoy reading, while you're at it, but that's a post for another day).

Do you know what I did for the first year after obtaining my 3.99 GPA B.Sc. in Biology? I managed a Subway. This was a, shall we say, character-building experience, but it was hardly the dream job I had been promised if only I did well in college. The problem was, I didn't need a piece of paper that proved I could store and regurgitate a massive amount of information about immunology, ecology, evolution, microbiology, and molecular and cellular biology. I needed to know what I wanted to do with that information. A vision for your life is vastly more important than a college education, and cannot be replaced by a degree, no matter how fancy the scrollwork or heavy the paper. Some goals in life do require a college-level understanding and vocabulary, but it is a mistake to expect that simply having the degree will get you anywhere.

Tune in later this week for more college thoughts and reflections...(if my cold doesn't continue to beat me into a pulp, that is!)

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking about going back to school lately. I think that I would want to do it just for myself. So that I can feel better about myself. It's fun for people treat you like you're a moron or to be pitied because you haven't finished a degree.