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The Miseducation of College Kids

10 May

Parents tell their kids daily to stay in school, get their education, and that once they have finished college they will have more options. College is thought by many people to be the means to a better life. Granted, people with college degrees, generally do earn more money over their lifetime than people without them.  However, the state of the economy directly affects everyone’s post college careers. Jobs that were previously thought to be recession-proof, are quickly being down-sized and eliminated altogether. The economical condition of our country is forcing people with good college educations into the unemployment line.

This forced me to think about how much I had actually gained from going to college. I definitely gained a large, student loan bill. But, I did not learn one education-related thing that has helped me in my career from the duration of my stay in college. I did learn time management, financial savvy, and that girls look really good in wet t-shirts, but that sums up my college education. And, it cost me $40,000. Granted, anthropology was interesting. Finding out about past civilizations and their contributions towards the development of current society was intriguing. I absolutely loved my psychology classes. Understanding the separate motivations of different people and applying theories as to why those people behave within and outside of social norms was interesting. But, no subject taught to me in a college classroom has helped me directly in life. I did not learn anything there that I did not already know.

Besides, supposedly giving you a greater base of knowledge, college is also supposed to help you find a career. Four years of college, theoretically, should guide you into the perfect job for your set of skills. Hypothetically, you hone your skills by studying the appropriate subjects which readies you for livelihood. This makes you a more well-rounded person which in turn makes you better for your future in your major. I know of exactly two people that actually used their college degree in the field that they planned to use it. One is a doctor and the other is a pharmacist. Conversely, I know two high school drop-outs, that regularly used and abused drugs, that are now successful entrepreneurs. Who made out better in these situations, the guys that studied relentlessly and racked up huge school bills, or the guys that slacked and got high? Yes, these are outliers of the common American. They were all on a pre-determined course with their careers. But, they are true stories of different roads to success. The rest of the American public is not necessarily in need of higher education. Only 29% of Americans even have a college degree. In 2009, 40% of students that enrolled in a college dropped out before getting a degree. That means students that will never see the theoretical pay-off of a college degree, incur huge amounts of debt without a feasible way of paying for it. A college education is overrated.

Overwhelmingly, who you know determines how well you do in life. If your parents are affluent then they can support you throughout your endeavors. Rich people have established networks of businessmen to call upon to get their children jobs. Extroverts engage in conversations with other businessmen and entrepreneurs, and build their own networks (if they are willing to work hard). If you are bright and develop a good idea into a burgeoning product, you can be a success. Your aptitude in life is not dependent on education, but is contingent on how fastidious you are in following your dreams. Steve Jobs did not go finish college. He owns the Apple corporation. Bill Gates did not go to college. He owns Microsoft, and at one point was the wealthiest man in the world. College is not necessary for professional advancement or personal accomplishments.

The intent of this article is not to dissuade the youth of America from getting a good educational foundation in school. Standardized learning does supply many people with tools that help them in their careers. However, you should not look to an education as the only way to a healthy career. At graduation in this economy, many former students are finding it difficult to find work. The graduates are becoming disillusioned by the fantasy that going to college earns you a good job. If your reason for attending college is anything other than wanting a degree to hang on your wall, then do not waste your time. College does not teach you anything. College will not assure you of any additional professional success. College is not the answer for the common person. Diligent attention to details, a good work ethic, and a strong belief in self is the only way to bring your dreams to fruition.

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