Since the dawn of the Y2K era, college enrollment has steadily increased. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, undergraduate enrollment, from the years 2000-2015, has increased by 30 percent. Furthermore, the percentage of students who were awarded post-secondary degrees have also grown at an average of about 40 percent since 2003. The days of getting out of high school and getting into the workforce are slowly dwindling. We’re now moving into the age where having a college degree is becoming the standard. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), from 1992 to 2016, the amount of high school graduates with no college in the workforce has dropped from the upper 30 percent to almost the middle 20 percent. Even workers with less than a high school diploma have also dropped from a little above 10 percent to now nearly 5 percent. So, what does that mean for the average student preparing to graduate high school or the mom that forgoed college to start working to make ends meet immediately? From the information that I just laid out, it would seem as if life isn’t going to get easier for them. But all too often, I hear this phrase spoken in blue collar jobs or in circles of people who have also forgone college to go out and make money, and I’m sure you’ve heard it too.
College isn’t for me.
Or the even better one, I’m not smart enough for college.
To those of you with college degrees who have heard this, I can understand your feelings of disappointment or thoughts of the lack of self-discipline the person who spoke those words may have. You busted your butt for four years. Had sleep deprived nights. Stayed up late studying for that exam you had to take at eight the next day. Sacrificed those good times with friends for writing that 12-page paper. I understand your dismissal of a comment like that. You’ve sacrificed your money, your time, and your life for that degree and it felt GREAT when you were done. That feeling of accomplishment from those hours, days, and years all paid off. Even as I sit here, writing this blog, I too have a degree and have spent those nights finishing homework, studying for that exam and writing those papers.
But I’d also be the same person to say, “COLLEGE ISN’T FOR EVERYONE.”
Easy for me to say huh!
Don’t get me wrong; there are some careers where a college degree is a must have and there is no way around it, but there are many other careers where actual knowledge or certification will get you entry.
But I understand. We all don’t learn the same. We all don’t catch on as fast as others. We have different circumstances at time periods in our life that may be more important than going to school at that time, and we all know how life can pull you down that path of work. If you haven’t read my story of how life can get in the way of your passion, I would recommend you read that after this. But the truth is, it can be a never-ending road if we’re not cognizant of our life. You have to step back and observe your life. Ask yourself, is this where I thought I would be? Is this the path I wanted to go?
Now here’s my truth.
College isn’t for everyone, but education IS!
In the 80’s and early 90’s, foregoing college or any post-secondary school meant that you had one or two options, work your way up in your current job or fork out the cash and go back to school. But this is 2018. We live in a world of online education, YouTube, Facebook, advanced technology at your fingertips. Hell, if you don’t know something, you can just Google it. What I’m saying is, there is no reason for you to go around not knowing something. But all too often, I see people depending on their job to teach them everything they need to know. They don’t diversify their knowledge.
Yes, there are plenty of people who have gone off to become successful without a college degree, but they all had one trait. A willingness to grow. They all lacked complacency. And this is what I continually tell others. Don’t be complacent. Don’t let life drive you down that endless road.
We live in a world where you can learn anything from home. You can become certified in almost anything just by devoting a couple of minutes a day to learning. You have a wealth of networks of teachers at your fingertips waiting to teach you anything you imagine. And in some cases, it’s entirely free.
Want to learn a new language, try Duolingo!
Looking to improve your cooking skills, try The Culinary Cook.
What about learning to code, C++, Python, Java, Ruby, HTML…try SoloLearn!
And here’s my favorite, Coursera.
Your life is only limited by your imagination, your dedication, and your effort. So, for anyone who tells you that you can’t make it without a college degree, just remember “COLLEGE ISN’T FOR EVERYONE BUT EDUCATION IS”