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.