I just graduated with a bachelor’s degree, which was necessary in order to become a teacher, but it got me thinking.
When you talk to people graduating from high school, it’s so easy to ask them, “where are you going?” Of course you expect them to respond with the college they’re going to, but then there’s the people who rightfully respond differently. They tell you they’re not going to college, in order to follow a different career path or just to save money for now.
So often, the first reaction to those answers is surprise (at least for me), but it shouldn’t be. The last time I got that answer from someone, I realized that maybe I should be redirecting my question to something different. “What are you doing now that you’ve graduated?” might be a better alternative.
Because let’s be honest, college really isn’t for everyone.
And it shouldn’t be. First of all, it’s expensive. There are so many people out there that can’t afford to pay what a college demands, and so it’s completely out of the question. And I don’t blame them. I know I wouldn’t want to be paying off those loans for years and years after college has ended.
However, beyond the expense is something more important. College is great for those whose career paths will require it, but you’d be surprised to know how many don’t. More than that, it matters less that you went to a nice, expensive college and more that you just have a degree. Especially after you’ve gotten your first job.
I’ve seen tons of people who have gone to trade schools or just gotten a job straight out of high school. It isn’t weird, and honestly I’d say it’s smart. If they have the motivation, they’re going to succeed just as well as (it not more than) those who went to college.
Society tells us that if we don’t go to a four-year university and pay thousands of dollars for a paper degree, we won’t get anywhere. It tells us that we won’t have any value and won’t get hired for a great job. I think it’s the biggest lie there is.
College can be important, but it’s not the most important thing in the world. We need to start being more accepting to those who choose not to go down the college route. More than that, I think we have something we could learn from the people who make that choice.
So, next time you’re asking someone where they’ll be going after high school, try rephrasing it. The world is full of options, that’s what makes us all unique.