No, You Don't Have To Go To College

Yes, It's Finally OK To Say That You Don't Have To Go To College

Graduating from high school is now like graduating from middle school.

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It has been drilled into our heads that we have to go to college. Graduating from high school is now like graduating from middle school, with college being the unquestionable next step. But with student debt at an all-time high, and tuition costs continuing to rise, more high school graduates are questioning their next moves.

For a while, it was taboo to say that it was OK not to go to college. Now, I think we can all agree that college isn't for everyone and that many people can really benefit from going to trade school or pursuing alternative career paths

After all, a degree doesn't automatically equal a better career or life.

If you're thinking of attending college, are already in school or have graduated, I can bet that at least one of your reasons for pursuing higher education was because your parents — or society — told you to.

But if you're not truly passionate about the degree you're pursuing, or you just picked a career that should make you a lot of money, is it worth going into heavy debt to attain your degree?

We're at a point where a lot of people are putting their lives on hold because of debt. They're not getting married. They're not buying houses. They're not having children. And all of this is because they simply have too much debt.

Of course, not every student has to go into debt to earn a degree. If you have the means to earn a degree with minimal or no debt, then there is no reason not to go for it.

But don't just assume that a degree in anything will automatically translate into a better career and a better life. I know plenty of people who graduated college only to enter a saturated industry with few job options. Some went back to school, while others took lower-paying jobs that didn't even require a degree.

Don't get me wrong. College can certainly give you a better life and career. If you already know the career path you want, then college may be the only way to attain your goals.

But just blindly pursuing a major you don't really care about is just wasting your time and money.

If you don't know what you want to do with your life career-wise, then it may be worthwhile to just start working and figuring out what you want to do before jumping straight into college.

With so many people pursuing college degrees, we're seeing fewer people entering the trades. There's now an increased demand for trades and skilled labor.

The construction industry, in particular, is seeing a tremendous labor shortage. If you like working with your hands and don't mind manual labor, this may be a great career option for you. We're also seeing a lack of plumbers and other skilled workers. Many workers in these industries are heading for retirement, and they have no one to fill their positions.

What many high school graduates don't realize is that these careers still offer excellent salaries. Electricians, for example, earn a median salary of $57,720 per year. You can still earn a good living without having to go into serious debt.

I'm not trying to discourage people from attending college. I'm just trying to encourage students to think about their next steps before they walk blindly into a major or career that doesn't pan out the way they had hoped.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Writing Saved My Sanity

Write it all down when you can't talk to anyone.

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I love writing.

I have since elementary school, and I've dreamed of becoming a published author. I started off writing stupid plays in elementary school, then it grew it almost writing a full-blown novel in middle school. I have no idea where that thing went to. It was all notebook paper and bad writing. In high school, my writing was kinda pushed to the side so I could focus on school. When I entered college, I started writing small poems about my now ex-boyfriend.

I was scared to express myself to him sometimes, the intensity of my feelings for him scared me. So instead of telling him, I wrote them down. When I tried to share them with him, he hated it. He thought writing down feelings was weird and creepy. So I didn't share anything else with him. When we finally broke up for good, everything just poured out of me. What I couldn't express verbally, I wrote or typed out.

I always have ideas flowing through my head. They never cease and I wouldn't want them to. Writing gives me an escape, from stress, work, school, or fights. It gives me a place to vent and to be open with everything. This is a reason I love writing for Odyssey, not only has this place brought me amazing friends but revived my love for writing. I'm never without my notebook anymore, I'd get distracted in class by an idea and have to write I think then and there.

I love sharing my more personal writing with close friends, especially my poems as of late. I found that I have a voice for young women who find themselves in a toxic relationship much like mine was. I want to speak out and show them that you can grow from the bullshit. It may take some time, but you will be better.

Writing saved my sanity. It allows me to express myself without having to use my actual voice. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate public speaking. I tend to psych myself out leading up to it. My current projects include writing for Odyssey every week, I'm in the process of trying to continue my short stories, and I'm excited to announce that I'm currently working on my very first poetry book!

Writing has given me so much, and I'm so looking forward to making a career out of something I love so much.

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