College has always been part of my future plans. I grew up in a household that strongly encouraged me to pursue a college education because neither of my parents finished college, which isn't a bad thing. However, both of them have mentioned that they individually wish they had finished school with some sort of degree. My dad has said, "College ain't for everybody. It sure as hell wasn't for me." I agree with him on the first part, but I love school. Although I love and enjoy college, I am not blind to the fact that many people hate the idea of it and/or wish not to pursue a college degree.
In high school, kids that focused on "the trades" were often teased or made fun of, which is unfair. The students that took classes like electricity, carpentry, engine mechanics, welding, or any of the other trades should be given more credit. The world will always need mechanics, electricians, and welders. It's time that the people who pursue those career fields be given fair credit and not looked down upon simply because their chosen careers don't always require a college education.
If everyone went to college for some fancy-ass degree and no one wanted to do electricity work, this world would be in a bad place. Picture life without car mechanics. Or contractors. Life would be much more difficult and although we would have to figure a lot of things out for ourselves, we wouldn't make a whole lot of progress without people who do those things day in and day out for a career. I had friends in high school that, when asked about college, would say, "Nah, it's not for me." That's great! That's correct! College IS NOT for everyone. However, they were often judged or slighted by their peers and educators for their decision not to obtain a degree. That's what's wrong. People are too keen at turning their nose up when they hear of someone not attending college.
If someone chooses to pursue a career field that doesn't require college, but that's what he or she likes or what he/she feels will allow him/her to be successful, that is his/her choice. I encourage people to attend college, though, because I love it and I have learned so much in just a year. Many opportunities have come my way because I attend college, but my situation is not the same as John Doe's down the street. Everyone's capabilities and desires are different from one another, which is why individuals in skilled trade fields deserve respect.
Learning a skilled trade and not attending college are two separate subjects, though. I feel that if one chooses not to pursue some type of post-secondary education, one should try to learn a trade or skill of some sort to make them marketable in the work industry. I do not support those who choose not to make something of themselves simply because they are lazy. That is where a clear distinction needs to be made: people who choose not to attend college because they are learning trades are DIFFERENT from people who choose not to do anything with their lives. Individuals pursuing trade education are not lazy or less motivated than those of us obtaining college degrees.
If you are friends with someone or know someone who is attending a trade school or program, let him or her know that he/she is supported. Those of us who attend college should not feel entitled because we have different abilities or circumstances that allow us to obtain post-secondary education. To those of you who are reading this and are pursuing a skilled trade, I am proud of you. Honestly, I wish I knew how to weld or wire a building or construct things from wood, but I don't. I have abilities that better suit me in a classroom or behind a drafting screen.
Trade workers should be given more credit. I am simply giving credit where I think credit is due. Support trade and vocational education. Tomorrow's generation isn't going to survive without it.