After high school, there is a lot of concern about what someone is expected to do. Most of the times, while in high school, we are told that we need to get a college education. We need to pursue higher education in order to be successful. From the point of 8th grade and beyond, it’s systematically implemented into our brains; we should start to consider where we want to go for college. When in reality, the concern should be with who we want to be as adults. This isn’t something we get told in high school though. Why? I really don’t think that if you asked someone why we must go to college that they would have a logical answer. It’s just something you do as a young adult. All through high school this notion about college resulting in success is brought up without acknowledgment of any other path leading to success. There are a lot of stigmas attached to the idea of not going to college after high school. Often times, people go to college and find out it isn’t what they want to do, they just didn’t want to be another person who “amounts to nothing” because they didn’t go. College seemed like the right thing to do after all. I mean, a majority of adults up to this point have endlessly asked you where you plan on going to college, so that’s exactly what you’re trying to do. All of those hours teachers put into college research and preparing for standardized exams that will help you have a larger selection of colleges you may wish to attend isn’t supposed to be a waste of their time, right?
In my own personal experience, I had a job the summer after my freshman year of college, and it was the most enjoyable experience I ever had. I learned more about myself than I had within the prior year of college and I vastly grew as a person - all while doing something I loved. I learned more at a job that required no experience than I had at a place I indebted thousands of dollars to for that exact same reason; to learn. I considered dropping out, absolutely. I wasn’t sure why I was to return to college in a couple of months. For what? I had made it. I found a job I loved and would love for the entirety of my life. But I left to go back to college. I really don’t have an answer as to why I went back. Why I’m back now. Why I’m indebting myself to a University that has taught me less in 9 months than a job in 3 months.
My point is, college isn’t for everyone and people shouldn’t perceive not going as a failure. Not going to college is probably one of the wisest decisions you could make as a young adult because we enter the reality of the world at the same time we are paying for classes for a career in which we want at the time. A lot changes as we learn about the ways of the world; this includes future plans. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 80 percent of college students change their major once and on average students change their major at least three times throughout their college career. This is because a lot of self-exploration occurs as a young adult, but remember - we’re to know what we want to do by 8th grade. The holes in the logic are pretty apparent.
I think that regardless of what someone chooses to do after high school, as long as they are a contributing member of society, we need to empower them. It’s okay to take a gap year to figure out what you want to do. It’s okay to go to college right away. It’s okay to never go. It’s just important that we all acknowledge that not everyone is set out for the same path and not one of those paths should be shamed or sought out as a failure. Just remember, whatever you decide to do after high school, do not let the attempted predisposition of college being the only option for success prevent you from doing what you’re passionate about.