Writing Challenge, Day 17: Is College Really Worth It?
In my opinion, college is most definitely worth it. Pursuing a college education is a serious investment, one that is both financial and personal, but the things gained from it are invaluable. College is what you make it. The books and lectures aren’t the only places for you to learn and develop. If one is not willing to put in the work, or just doesn’t feel that college is for them, that’s perfectly fine. It is important for those individuals to see out other ways to reach their desired level of success (i.e. trade schools, technical careers, etc.). However, I knew that my goals could not be reached as efficiently without having a degree in hand. Plus, I value education so I always knew that college was in the plan for me. And now that I am a proud college graduate, I could not be more grateful for the many experiences I had during that time of my life.
College afforded me boundless opportunities to grow, make connections, and expand my skillset in ways I would have never been able to do had I not pursued a degree and spent time on a college campus. I made friends who have outlasted the four years of our formal education. I had opportunities to intern for a Fortune 500 company. I joined campus organizations that provided me avenues of creativity and fellowship, but also helped me garner leadership experience and a deeper understanding of how to collaborate at various levels of an organization. Then, when my formal education came to a close, I had access to a plethora of various resources that were available to help me at every level of seeking out opportunities to start my career. Although I know and understand that this path isn’t the end all be all symbol of success, I still wouldn’t trade any of those experiences for the world.
Although I know that I seem to hype up the college experience, I do recognize my own privilege and how it played a large part in my positive college journey. The fact is that my experience was in no way typical; I went to college almost free with my combined scholarships and grants. I only took out one student loan the entire time I was enrolled (by choice for some summer credits), and was able to pay it off within 6 months of graduating. I worked because I wanted to have extra money in my pocket, not because I was depending on my part-time income to pay for my education. I had done a lot of work on the front end (specifically in high school) to try to curb the financial and personal hardship many students discuss when talking about whether or not college is worth it. I did so to the point that my main worries in school were my studies, quite minute compared to the worries of most others. I understand that this is quite different from the majority of college students (especially among students of color).
My point is that, while college is great and served me well, determining its necessity and worth is going to look different for each individual person.
While it served me the way I needed it to, and I was able to maximize my time and involvement on campus, college still may not be the most feasible method of education for somebody else. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I encourage students to go to college and trade schools in the same breath.
Because when it comes down to it, my college educated self can’t build a house, fix a sink, car, air conditioner, or anything else if it breaks. We need professionals like foremen, plumbers, electricians, etc. to keep passing the torch to new successors because if they don’t, I and so many others will be S.O.L. when serious things need fixing.
All careers are important. All jobs are necessary. And all journeys are valuable, regardless of what avenues we choose to pursue in seeking to fulfill our own goals of achievement. College just happened to be a positive part of mine.