I remember since early on that everyone expected me to have this elaborate and well thought out college plan. It was the 8th grade and my teachers were asking me what I wanted to major in and where I wanted to go, as if 13-year-old me knew what was best for my life.
College has always been in my plan for my future. The kind of career I want to go into requires a degree. You can't be a nurse without having a license which you can't even test for until you have at least an associates degree. Before a nurse, I wanted to be a Neuroscientist, which also requires a degree. Before that, a Biomedical Engineer. Before that, a teacher. Degrees are required for any of those.
But college is not for everyone.
Neither of my parents has a college degree. None of my uncles have college degrees, my aunt does, but no one else in my immediate family has one and they're doing just fine.
High schools tend to push onto students that they have to go to college in order to have a successful life. At the beginning of every year, you have at least one teacher who asks where you want to go and for what degree. If you say that you don't want to go to college, you are instantly chastised,
Does anyone not see how messed up that is?
College is not the only option out there. It is not the only path of your life that you can take in order to live happily. What about the trades? What about the military? What about any of the hundreds of other options?
We should not be shoving college down every teenager's throat. To say that college and student debt is the only way to a happy life is just comical. For some people, college is the way that they need to go. For other, trade school is what they need. For others, they just need an apprenticeship. For some, they want to keep working for a while so that they can figure out what they want to do and pay for college when they are able. And that is OK!
The only person's journey that we can judge is our own. We have no control over the lives of the people around us, no matter if we think we do or not. How dare you shame someone because they know that they will hate college and would much rather learn plumbing, welding, or construction. We still need those people in our society! Do you know how large a shortage we are going through of trade workers because everyone is pushing for kids to go to college?
At the end of the day, the kid who went for plumbing is going to be making more than the kid that went to college for 4 years, racked up thousands of dollars in debt, and is working at a department store because no one wants their Bachelor's degree in psychology.
Shame on you if you think that college is the only way.