As my final weeks of my junior year of college slowly conclude, I cannot stop but wonder how I got here. How did I push through all these years of school? Who should I thank? As a senior in high school, college seemed to be this awesome thing where you can have a great time and still get an education without being in the shadows of your parents all the time. It seemed liberating almost. It seemed like I would finally get a chance at the world. I would make new friends while still keeping the ones I had from high school in my memory.
I saw college as this thing which was given, not which was achieved. As I was finishing up high school, my guidance counselor was famous for constantly telling us seniors what to do and how to do it regarding applying for schools. It almost seemed like we didn't have a choice. I mean...we did. It just seemed like we would be without opportunity if we didn't apply. I had friends applying to colleges left and right, almost bragging about how many they applied for, making it seem like that had some type of correlation with intellect. Those who got into their school with a full ride were praised, honored, and even had huge celebrations. Graduation parties would only tenfold that sensation. It seemed all like a very welcoming departure of our comfort zone. As nervous as I was of heading to my school of choice, I was still excited.
It has almost been four years now, and I cannot help but notice the common ground all of us college students have now. We now find ourselves burying our heads with books, pulling all-nighters, and leading sometimes reclusive life styles. School has overwhelmed us at this point, and it almost makes the whole celebration thing a little naïve. Now we are approaching our endgame, our conclusion of our education ( for most people). Now we have to start worrying about what lays ahead of us. Now we need to start worrying about somehow making all of this time seem like it was worthwhile in the end. We suddenly have this epiphany of "Wait, college was suppose to be fun and special...why the fuck can't I find a job that aligns with my education?" We tend to, as students, not really think about the possible consequences of not getting our way. When things go wrong, we might freak out. High school does not train us for that. High school prepared us for the biggest assumption in our education; we are something special.
The truth is, we students aren't special at all. We are not some fire burning in a dark tunnel. We are the leaves in the tunnel that nobody really pays attention to unless they makes a noise. We are constantly told that we are somehow special for making the choice of getting a higher education, and high schools love sitting on their pedestals of students who pursue higher education. The thing many of those high schools refrain from disclosing is the percentage of students that actually follow through with their endeavours. Cool. 90 percent of your graduating classes graduate. Now what percentage out of that succeed in college? I am sure it is well below the aforementioned percentage.
Now I know this is a huge depressing idea that I am sure many high school/college students might be reading, but it needs to be said. When we see someone whose gone through his or her education and cannot find a job, their student loans constantly robbing their pockets, what comes to mind? Do you view the individual as being cheated by the system and given the short end of the stick? Or do you see someone who is to blame for their own failures? Often times it is a mix of both, but the reality is no one is given anything in life. Not money, not a house, not a car, and most certainly not an education. I believe that is what should be taught in our high schools in this day and age of high competition. We should be taught that our dreams are not confirmed at the sight of college, but by pushing through to the finish line and coming out on top. How that is done is up to the individual. If there was one way to put this whole article into a phrase, it would be this.
Siphoning every high school student through the same college worm hole telling them "College is the only way to go!" and assuming good will come of that is ethicaly wrong, and a detriment to the coming generation of educators.