Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Lie--You MUST Go to College

Ok, parents and teachers don't kill me over this one. I know it may not be popular. I have fought against this lie for many years--including the 4 years I taught high school. I met some opposition sometimes! This one is pretty simple though. College is NOT for everyone. Young people need to hear that. Our society--from the president all the way down to individual parents--puts an intense amount of pressure on the youth. There is this pervasive mindset that college is THE ticket to success, wealth and happiness. This is a LIE. Plain and simple. College will not make you happy, wealthy or successful.

First, lets address the idea that college is necessary for success. College will not guarantee your earning potential. It does help (to some extent) give you an edge. There are some jobs that will require a college degree. Many of those jobs do pay more than jobs that don't require a degree. That said, there is an endless supply of exceptions to this rule. Compare the salaries of a diesel mechanic and an elementary school teacher. The other flaw here is the definition of success. I have discussed this on several occasions but it is always worth reiterating. Success should NEVER be measured by salary--NEVER.

So what does impact your earning potential? I think it is a combination of several things. One, you need a marketable skill set. For some, this comes with college. For others this comes from a technical school. Still other acquire this skill set from experience and experimentation. All are viable options as long as you can market them. Two, you need the drive to leverage your strengths. If you can't sell your skills, they get wasted. Be proud of your abilities--they are gifts from God. Three, you have to be able to differentiate yourself from others with the same skills. Maybe this means you connect to groups of people that are underserved, maybe you tweak your product to make it different or better. I don't know. But you should. Next, you have to find your calling. If you are doing the work God put you here to do, you will be successful, period. Finally, you go DO IT. You can make plans and scheme all you want but if you never put any action behind the plan, it is a waste.

Don't misunderstand me, I think college is valuable. I think many, many people benefit from it (even those that don't graduate). I think if you don't know what you want to do, college is a good place to "find yourself" (sometimes). Just remember, college is not for everyone. It's ok if you want to go to a tech school. It's ok if you want to go to Nashville Auto Diesel. It's ok if you want to join the military. There are lots more options out there. This country needs people at every level of the employment chain. The important thing is that you develop some kind of marketable skill and put it to work.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I totally agree. I think a major flaw in our education system is that we demand & expect EVERYONE to produce the same cookie cutter results. Society would run much more smoothly if people were trained to do what they're best at instead of someone else's expectations.

Post a Comment