For the Person Who Thinks Education Doesn’t Matter

For the Person Who Thinks Education Doesn’t Matter

Or that college is a waste of time.

Whether you are still in high school and have persuaded yourself that college is a waste of time, that you can get a job, and make good money without a degree, or if you’re already in college and the stress and workload have you doubting if this really is the right path for you, here are some points to think about, who knows? Maybe something will resonate you with you and change your mind.

A college education can…

Prepare you for an exciting career

You want to be a banker? Lawyer, doctor, business owner, fashion designer, cook, or automobile engineer? No matter what your dream job is, there is a school that can help give you the necessary skills to get where you want to be. The time you spend in school will be well worth the return when you're living out your dream instead of working in a temporary job in a field you maybe don't even enjoy.

Give you goals that you strive to achieve

Anyone will tell you that college is not always a blast, honestly most of it (the work part) isn't. But the thing is, worthwhile doesn't always have to be fun. Just knowing that you're on a path, with milestones set up for you to reach is great motivation that you can and will succeed. It is good practice for the rest of your life to allow yourself to set up a goal you really want to reach and then give it your all until you get there.

Allow you to study in a different city or country to experience a different culture

Getting an education in any part of the world really is a huge privilege because you get to meet people from both far and near, hear of their cultures, unique thoughts and opinions, and see how different things can be when you travel to a new place. Many students take a semester of school to learn a language in Spain, or France, or wherever they would like. People also go to the Galapagos Islands to study biology, to Rome to study architecture, to Washington DC to study politics, or to Africa to do research on the animals. No matter what you want to do, there are always endless opportunities to see what lies beyond your horizons, all while learning and enhancing your education.

Meet new people, make friendships, and network for job opportunities

When people say that “college is what you make of it’, they’re right. If you are the type of person that talks to people in class and hangs out with peers to study, or whether you are the social butterfly that is quick to get together a group for Sunday brunches and weekly outings, there are always tons of opportunities to meet people at college. You can join clubs, go greek, become a part of a pre-professional group, or just talk to the people that sit by you, and before you know it you will have built several relationships that you know you can rely on.

Learn about things you had never even thought of

before I started college i had no idea what I was in for. It doesn’t matter what your major is, there is always room to take classes outside of your main interest just to learn and explore different areas that you had perhaps never even considered before. I learned all about psychology and it really helped me to understand a lot about why I do certain things and see into the way we all act and why. I learned about several different religions, some of which I had never heard of before, and learned to appreciated the different beliefs of people from all over the world. I learned how to sculpt ceramics and make pottery pieces, I was able to take classes in two different languages, and even do research on fruit flies in biology. No matter what your expectations are when starting off your education, know that there is so much out there, so many opportunities just waiting for you to take advantage of, and so much to learn.

Get a high beginning salary just for having an education

Right out of high school many young adults are fed up. They are fed up with having been in a classroom for most of their lives and doing homework that bored them into thinking school was just a bunch of busy work and a waste of time. They are eager to get out of high school and get job. They want to start making money instead of doing assignments for once. This sounds like a good plan, but I assure you it isn’t giving yourself the chance you deserve. Right out of high school you are not going to be able to make as much money, get a high position, or work for a company that has the same goals that you have, without going to school and getting the necessary skills and training necessary. On average, people with a college education earn nearly twice as much as those with only a high school diploma. By going to college, you are making an investment, an investment in yourself, your potential, and your future.

Give you something no one can ever take from you…they can take money and possessions but not education or skills

No matter how lucky you are, how well off you seem to be, material things are always, inevitably temporary. Things can change very fast and with the blink of an eye you can find yourself in circumstances you had never imagined. People and situations can change, you can always lose your house, your money, your possessions, and in many sad cases, be left with nothing, and no way back out. By getting an education you are giving yourself a gift that no one can take from you, no matter what happens you can use that knowledge and your skills, and hard work to find another opportunity and get back on the ground. Education equals security.

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I'm An Art Major, But I Hate My Art

It's a little harder than macaroni necklaces now.

I walk up to pin my homework on the drawing studio wall. As I fumble with the push pin while my fellow students scramble around me trying to find space for their own work, I notice the sheer amount of push pin holes in this wall. I wonder exactly how many students have put their work up in this room, whether they worked tirelessly all week on the piece or just put it together 45 minutes before class.

I wonder if they’ve felt the same as I do, unsatisfied with this week's work and hoping for better results next time.

I roll my eyes at myself for getting distracted and squeeze my piece in between two amazing drawings from my fellow classmates. I already see flaws I should’ve covered up in my piece. God, I think, the professor’s not going to be happy with me. Everyone else in this class is so great at what they do. I hoped for at least one person to be worse than me this week, but I’ve never felt like more of an amateur in my life.

There is a difference in hating your work or feeling like an amateur as a fine arts major rather than a math or science major. If you mess up an equation or experiment, the answer you wrote is wrong. There is no arguing over it, you just need to try again or get a point off your test.

In an art class, there is no "wrong," but there is "bad," and it is so easy to be bad.

Being told that you are incorrect is very different than having an awkward 20 seconds of “ehhh” while your professor tries to pick out something they can comment on without completely tearing the assignment to shreds. I’ve often said I’m an art major because I can’t do anything else, and while that is a (slight) exaggeration, feeling that your work is unsatisfactory in a creative field makes you feel like, for lack of better term, a total loser.

Even so, I believe that if you are the smartest person in the room, you should leave that room as fast as you can. The last thing I want to be is the best in the class because then I don’t have room to learn. I am in college to get a degree, but I am also here to learn and get better at my craft, and without struggling I would just be bored. Because of that, I am thankful for being upset with myself. I see too many fine arts majors think they are too good for critiques, and I never want to be like that.

I have so far to go, and I couldn’t be happier.
Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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Dual-Enrollment Is WAY Better Than Taking Those AP Courses, For Several Reasons

Because colleges won't always accept your AP credits.

In high school, you probably had the option to take Advanced Placement (AP) courses — which are basically considered "college-level" courses. The hope is, if you pass your AP exam (with a certain score) at the end of the school year, you will not have to take that same class in college (i.e. AP English is equivalent to an English Composition course). Students tend to seem more marketable if they take AP classes in high school — sometimes multiple at a time. Honestly, it's not worth it and here's why.

I visited 22 colleges. Twenty-two. I was on a hunt for the perfect nursing program. During my junior year of high school, I wasn't doing well in a course, so my guidance counselor suggested dropping the course and enrolling in a local, community college course (this is called "dual enrollment"). I was VERY hesitant at first. I liked my friends in the class and didn't know how I felt about taking the course at a college. What if I didn't have a good professor? What if I hated the class? What if I didn't pass? Will I seem like a loser if I drop out of our class?

I gave it some thought and ended up dropping the course (which I was failing) and signed up for the community college class over the summer. It was about a twenty-minute commute, two days a week for three hours a day (sounds awful but it wasn't at all) over the summer.

The community-college class far exceeded my expectations. I loved it! The introductory course had a research component and required a research paper. The class surprised me because,

1. I ended up falling in love with the course and college,

2. I loved my professor (who wrote me a letter of recommendation), and

3. I earned an A and it boosted my GPA!

When colleges re-calculate your GPA during the admissions process, they count other college credits to be (usually) higher than any AP credit.

Here are some more MAJOR benefits to choosing dual-enrollment in high school:

1. You get the fundamentals of college down

You get an idea of how college works and what to expect after graduating high school. Dual enrollment tremendously prepares you for a four-year college.

2. You know which credits will be accepted by four-year colleges

Every college website has a transfer credit section. There's usually a link (on the institution's website) where you can type in the college you want to transfer credits to and it will give you a precise list of what WILL be accepted to the other institution. Many colleges claim they "may accept AP credits," but there's no guarantee. I saw so many friends of mine become infuriated when their college didn't accept the AP credits they promised they would. Every credit I took at the community college was accepted to my current university.

3. Better school schedule

You usually have a time-block in your high school schedule where you can leave high school during the day to go to the college to attend class or go to the library to study.

4. You get the basic classes out of the way

You don't have to take the basics everyone else takes freshman year of college (i.e. English composition I and II, intro to biology/chemistry/physics/communications, etc.). You can jump right into more upper-level courses (and potentially graduate early).

5. It will likely cost less than what you'll pay at a four-year institution

I've noticed course fees are MUCH less at community college. Also, many four-year colleges allow you to take up to 18 credits per semester (i.e. six, three-credit courses) but they still charge you for the maximum number of credits you can possibly take. Therefore, if you aren't taking all six're getting ripped off.

6. Nearly all college courses are one semester

AP classes are two semesters and often meet every day. Why overwork yourself for an entire year to POSSIBLY get AP credit?

7. College is structured better

You know your schedule from day one of class. I've never seen any AP teacher have a syllabus ready on the first day of class.

8. Your classes double-dip!

You're getting credit in both high school AND college for every course.

The only downfall to taking the college class was that I needed to pay for the course out-of-pocket. However, MANY community colleges have different financial aid for students. For example, the community college I attended gave any person of color a free college course if they were considered to be living in poverty (household income of around $30k or less per year). If you were adopted through the Department of Social Services or are Native American, you were also eligible for a tuition waiver. There are so many resources — you just need to do some research.

Cover Image Credit: 123rf

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