I Was Wrong

When I was in high school, I assumed that each of my classmates would go to college. I only had sixty-five students in my graduating class, and only about half would go straight to college. Why did I think college was the only option? Both my parents graduated from college, and the only question my siblings and I wondered about was which college we would attend. The thought of not going to college never entered my mind.

One of my friends went into the Navy. At the time, I thought he chose to go into the military because his grades weren’t good enough to attend college. I was a cocky eighteen-year-old, and I assumed he would go to college if he could. Other students chose to work after college or join humanitarian organizations. I didn’t understand it.

Looking back now, I realize that I was totally wrong. My basic assumptions about education were way off. My friends who joined the military, got jobs, or volunteered with humanitarian organizations gained life experiences and education that I will never possess. I don’t know if they went to college later or not. What I do know now is that college is not a requirement for success.

In 2008, Robert Perry reminded us the “the U.S. Department of Labor reports that the country needs more graduates if we are to keep up with, let alone lead, other nations in the global economy” (625). He also said that by 2012 “there will be three million more jobs requiring bachelor’s degrees and not enough college graduates to fill them” (625). Did we graduate enough students to fill these needs last year? Maybe. (I’m guessing we didn’t.) Whatever ended up being true, the answer is not to force everyone to go to college. College isn’t for everyone, and there are myriad ways to live life honorably without attending college. In my opinion, our culture puts too much value on money, graduates, and jobs. We ought to spend more time thinking about the benefits of culture, community, and peace.

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6 thoughts on “I Was Wrong

  1. I somewhat agree with this post and I somewhat don’t. I come from a military family, and i also have a parent that now does very well from himself and he never received a college education. What i struggle to see is especially in today’s economy and society that I feel like college is much more needed than it used to be. Just like college isn’t for everyone the military isn’t for everyone. I myself happen to love the military so with that being said I just feel like, yes there may be other options than college to take off in a career but when I sit down and think real hard about what I want to do as a person I feel like college is the basic source I need to turn to recieve that knowledge to go ahead and pursue what it is I want to do with my life. I’m sure a lot of people feel this way. But anyway that’s just my thought.

    • Thanks for your comment, Ross! I agree with you…I think it really comes down to what the individual wants. In my opinion, most high school students don’t know what they want to do, and college can be a good way to find out. On the other hand, the military offers kinds of education and cultural experiences that I wish I had access to. Thanks again!

  2. Our society does rely on money, graduates, and jobs too much. I also think that is important. Today the way our society is run we need money, graduates, and jobs. I want to study to earn my doctorate and also volunteer and go on mission trips around the world. I think both are very fulfilling. Our society still needs college graduates to fill the jobs that need bachelor (or higher degrees). I think that if students are taught that you don’t have to go to college then eventually doctors, for example, will become very scarce. Today college is more expensive, time consuming, and tiring. The cons starts to weigh out the pros and most young adults don’t have the time, money, or motivation to finish. I’m not saying going into the military isn’t important or just as hard as college but it shouldn’t be a way out of the struggle to graduate.

    • I like your point about doing something other than getting a job. Serving others overseas (or even locally) through some kind of religious or non-profit organization can be super helpful and can even become a vocation. I think a liberal arts education is important and can prepare people for any occupation…though there are other ways to do this of course. Thanks for your comment!

  3. I am starting to realize the same problems you realized after going to college. I feel it may not be for everyone and I am dissappointed I did not pursue a different path straight out of high school. I was always told, “If you’re going to take risks, you should do it when you’re young.” I went straight to college out of high school. I believe your defined by your characteristics. Because of this, I feel I am very characteristic. I didn’t take my academic career seriously back then, and it led to me finding a job at a health store for a few years. I am very grateful for the job I had. I was good at it, and the information was some of the best anyone could ever learn. Yet, I wish I had done more foolish things at that point in my life, such as join an international organization or live in a different country for some time.

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