Ever since I was younger, college was always pushed on me, even in grades as young as the fifth grade. All of the careers that teachers told us we could be, mostly required college or some extra schooling outside of high school -- doctor, veterinarian, chef. Not once, throughout my entire 12 years of public schooling, was I told that not going to a college or university was a liable option. Obviously, the option was there, but it wasn't forced on us as much as going to college was.
All of my aspirations in public school did have some sort of schooling involved. First, I wanted to be a vet, but then I had to come to the sad reality of that job. Then, a dancer, but it wasn't something I was so passionate about. Next, a horseback rider, a dream job that faded quickly. And then, a photographer, which I was almost going to go to art college for, but art school is basically on the same level as not going to school at all -- it's not the first thing our parents want us to be doing. And it's understandable -- art is such a hard business to get into. Next, psychology, which is what I stuck with. I wanted to be a mental health counselor, and still do want to pursue this job, but now, I'm a Social Work major. And it just so happens that I love learning and going to school, but this isn't for everyone.
My boyfriend of 7 months does not go to college. He works in a construction business for his family. To be honest, when we first met and my friends found out that he didn't go to school, they were baffled. "Why?" "What does he do all day long?" "That's a little off putting." "But your're in college, that doesn't make sense." And it really confused me. Why did it matter if he didn't go to school or not? Maybe it wasn't something for him or maybe he was okay with what he was doing. As we came to know each other, I found out that he loves his family business and he loves the work he does. He says sometimes that he may want to go someday, but it really just doesn't interest him at the moment, and that's okay. But why, every time I mention that my boyfriend works and doesn't go to college, people have this sense that he isn't capable of succeeding because he isn't going for those titles that most people are going for?
In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a moderate college budget for an in-state public college for the 2017–2018 academic year averaged $25,290. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $50,900. If you are not passionate about something that requires you to go to school, why are people pressuring young adults to spend so much money just so they don't get stereotyped as lazy or incompetent? It is true that a lot of jobs in the world require a set of skills you can only get with a degree, but there is such a need for manual labor. And if everyone is going to college, we can't get any of the important jobs done.
It can be such a pressuring place for kids who are trying to figure out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Why do we push them in one path of life rather than laying out all viable options? There are needs for doctors, therapists, business owners, and other careers that college will help you with, but there are also needs for construction workers and other important handy jobs that this world needs. The pressures of this one path can be very detrimental to a child, and we need to start letting young children know that going to college isn't your only option to succeed in this country.