For a long time, I thought I would be a kid forever. High school was probably the slowest period of my life so far. Getting up at 7:00 a.m. just to go to school for roughly seven hours and then doing four more hours of homework was just not my scene. Honestly, I think many would agree with me on this. High school classes were much more rigorous and stressful than many of my college courses. So why is this? Why do those who struggle so hard in high school usually do so well in college? I've always asked myself the question over and over and I think I've finally found the answer: In high school, it's not really about the learning. It's about the grades, the reputation of the schools, and the credibility of the teachers (or lack thereof.) When I finally made it to college, it all clicked. I love college because you walk away with more than just the memorization of a subject. You walk away from a class with real information that you can cite without even thinking. It's not all about the test scores. Public schooling is in need of a serious makeover, no doubt. People need to understand the one thing that all high-schoolers are thinking--COLLEGE IS NOT FOR EVERYONE!
When I was in elementary school, there was a poster hanging in the lobby of a little girl in a graduation cap and gown. There it read, in large white lettering: "It's never too early to start thinking about college." Now, in kindergarten, I didn't really think anything of this. I was just a five-year-old in a frilly dress thinking about which Barbie I was going to play with after school. But even though I didn't realize it at the time, that poster was mentally scarring. By the time I was in middle school, teachers were telling me to start taking up extracurriculars so that I could be a well-rounded student by the time I started applying to college. They didn't even ask me if I wanted to go to college. None of the teachers, faculty, or staff ever asked any of us if we actually wanted to go to college. In society today, parents start saving for college before the stick even turns blue.
By the time I was a senior in high school, every relative, neighbor, and family friend started asking me what schools I was applying to. They asked me what I wanted to major in and what college I wanted to go to and I always thought, "What if I wasn't planning on going to college, what would I say then?" There was a good amount of anxiety implanted in each question I was asked. I always just wanted to answer, "I'm seventeen years old! I have absolutely no idea what I want to do with my life!" Really, though, what seventeen-year-old isn't confused about their future to some degree? Especially in the modern era, when everyone already expects you to have it all figured out?
After high school, not going to college is probably the bravest thing you can do. It's like swimming against the current. Your whole life, you're pretty much expected to go to college so that you can get a well-paying job. But if you're good at something technical, why would you go to college for $80,000 a year when you can go to technical school for much less? You can get paid straight out of training, make enough money to support yourself, and most importantly, live debt-free!
So, if you're going to take anything away from this article, it's to stop asking teenagers about their future. As someone who will be a sophomore in college and still has little idea of what she's doing, I'll answer that question for you: "I don't have any idea."