I’m going off the reservation again. This is all stream of consciousness, so, I’m apologizing up front.
The other half and I got into a discussion the other day about college degrees. My contention was that college is not for everyone, and for many people it will just be a waste of time. He thought that I was being disingenuous because I hold two degrees and fully expect my younger sister to attend college, yet I deigned to say that everyone shouldn’t attend college. We won’t see eye-to-eye on this subject but, I thought that it was a good idea to flesh out this thought online.
I want to tell you not to bother even considering an expensive college, but I would be lying to both you and myself if I did. Even though I firmly believe that college is not for everyone, I still believe that they can still be institutions of learning, idea development and culture sharing. I just don’t know if paying $25,000 for that privilege is worth it. And honestly, I really think that you can learn just about anything from classes online or outside of traditional colleges.
Did you attend college? How many hours did you waste sitting in classes that you have long since forgotten? My art class? A joke and a way to boost my GPA. The algebra, trigonometry and calculus classes that I spent thousands of dollars on? It’s done a bang up job of helping me choose the winning lottery numbers. The various animals that I dissected in anatomy and physiology? Okay, that will actually come in handy when I turn into Dexter’s replacement (love that show), but I’m never going to use those particular set of skills, unless I’m butchering a whole chicken.
Wait! Don’t hit the button to send me hate mail just yet. I will be the first to say that we still need to educate future doctors, engineers, teachers, electricians, construction workers, etc., but not every single profession requires a college degree. For some reason though, we’ve begun to equate a college degree with, I don’t know, competency and intelligence. What a joke!
Honestly, most of the people who I went to college with probably should not have spent their time in school. Frankly, if you haven’t learned basic grammar and spelling by the time you reach college, you’re best served watching PBS and by visiting your local library for adult literacy classes. I see the way that people spell online. I see how many people can’t tell the difference between “there”, “their” and “they’re”, and that’s just the beginning.
I had the pleasure of glancing through employment listing recently and my eye brows shot up at how many employers were requiring college degrees for positions where it was absolutely not necessary. Want to be a receptionist? You need a college degree. What?! Why would you need four years of college to answer phone calls and greet guests? Are you kidding me?
I get that our education system is sometimes flawed. I know that many young adults are leaving high school without skills that are easily transferred into the business world, but it’s up to us to change this system. Why not change high school eduction to include practical skills that can lead into careers that will not necessarily require college degrees?
How did we get here? How did we get to the place where it’s okay for our children to begin taking on massive amounts of debt, mainly before many have even earned one penny or are even competent enough to know the financial implications of the debt that they are taking on? Why did we convince ourselves that the potential financial benefits far outweighed the time that it took to repay debt larger than the starting salaries of many students now leaving school?
I watch our governmental representatives debate student loans, but I get the feeling that they don’t get it. These individuals are often the financial elite who don’t have to worry about paying their student loans or putting their kids through school or being able to find jobs that will pay enough to support a family without working 60 hours each week.
Put your pitchforks down. I will not say that YOU in particular or your children shouldn’t go to college. But, I will say that you should evaluate whether your chosen profession requires a college degree or if trade certification would suffice. Don’t waste time, money and energy on college courses that you won’t need – like the jewelry making class that I had to shell money out for in college. Art appreciation my ass.