When I was little, I was told that college is just what you do when you get out of high school. Society says you have to go to college to get a degree so you can be successful in life. During your senior year of high school, it’s all about college applications and essays. College preparations are shoved down your throat by teachers, parents, counselors, and college representatives. By the time you get out of high school, you feel brainwashed in to thinking you have one option: go to college, get a degree, and get a high paying job.
But what if we were told that we truly can do anything we want when we grow up? What if we were told that it’s okay to be craftsmen and not just academics? The people who make medical equipment are just as important as the people who use them. The world has many gears that have to mesh to make things work. With no one in the factory making your shoes, you wouldn’t have shoes to wear. So why is it that society says we aren’t successful until we walk across a stage to get a piece of paper saying that we learned things?
It doesn’t help seeing all of your graduating class posting things about the activities they’re involved in. You start feeling left out of the fun; like you don’t belong. Everyone tells you that you have to have the “college experience.” However, I didn’t necessarily enjoy my college experience. I was so busy learning new music, performing, practicing, doing my other classwork, and balancing my relationship that I didn’t have much of a college experience. I didn’t join any clubs, go to football games, and I definitely didn’t go to any frat parties.
When my college career ended my junior year, I felt like a total failure. I had no degree, no relationship, and no job. I didn’t think that I would make it anywhere in life without a degree. Yet, only five months after my last day, I’m starting my own business and I actually feel happier than I did on a college campus with a ring on my finger. So why is it that a lot of people tell me that I should be planning on going back to school because I need to be successful?
Successful is defined by Merriam-Webster as “having the correct or desired result.” Society can’t make the continuation of that definition”…by having a bachelor’s degree and a high paying job.” Not one person’s “desired result” is the same as someone else. My definition of a successful life is being happy with who I am at the end of the day.
When we were kids, we all heard, “you can do whatever you want to be.” Eventually, we all lost that. At the end of the day, no one can define your success but yourself. It’s perfectly fine if you don’t get a college degree. It’s okay if your definition of success is not the same as society. If you want to paint, do it.
Don’t let society define you.