College is pretty overrated if you ask me. Of course, I don’t mean that going to college and getting a degree to pursue your passion is overrated, I just mean that college in general is overrated.
The pressure society places on young adults to go to college and earn a degree is truthfully ridiculous and overvalued. The idea that the only way to become successful in life is to attend college and earn a degree is an outdated belief. We should be encouraging the younger generations to explore their passions. If they can achieve their ultimate goals through a college degree, great! But if not, we need to stop feeding kids the idea that not going to college equals becoming a failure.
Most 18 year olds have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their life, but we still send them off to college and expect them to pick something that they kind of like and succeed at it. When teenagers go to college without the slightest idea of what they might want to pursue, they often waste lots of time and money while they test out multiple career paths. Instead of considering that they might be struggling with finding an ideal career choice for them, we assume that they are lazy and indecisive for taking their time. Deciding what job you are going to have for the rest of your life at 18 isn’t an easy choice to make.
Furthermore, college is pretty expensive. Some kids have to pay their own way through college, which can be an extreme challenge while trying to earn a degree. Community college is an incredible way to achieve your required curriculum at a cheaper price. Furthermore, community college classes typically offer smaller class sizes and more approachable professors. For students not sure of where they want to take their future, community college is sometimes the best choice. However, the stigma around community college is often negative. People assume that community college is for people not intelligent enough to get into a university, when in reality, most community college students are there because they just want to get an education and don’t necessarily care for the whole “college experience.”
Another great alternative to attending college right after high school is to take a gap year. Many European cultures stress the importance of taking a gap year in order to figure out what one really wants to do. I think many people could benefit from a gap year or semester. Not every gap year involves backpacking around Europe and exploring your inner self. Sometimes a gap year is just time for you to work and save up money while you decide where you want your life to go.
I think it’s time that we stop judging people for their choice of college or how long it took them to graduate or if they decided to take a few years before they went back to school. At the end of the day, a degree is just a piece of paper and what truly matters is if you can actually apply yourself to the real world and do your job well.
Written by Rylee Matousek