Contrary To Popular Belief, You Don't Have To Go To A Four-Year University

Contrary To Popular Belief, You Don't Have To Go To A Four-Year University

Teach your kids that swinging a hammer is just as important as filling out spreadsheets.
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I love being in college. The atmosphere, the sense of freedom, and the opportunities for networking are endless. However, this is life isn't fit for everyone, and that's more than ok! There's been a social stigma that's been pushed onto America's students that they have to go to a 4-year college. And while it's true that a bachelor's degree opens up doors in the corporate world, not every high school student is trying to pursue a career in the corporate world.

There are trade schools and apprenticeships that teach young men and women trades that are critical to the functioning of society, yet these are things we take for granted. We need to remind the students of America that building things with your hands is just as important as any other career.

Let's start by addressing the stigma that's been pushed by society. Classes like woodshop and auto-tech are considered the "dumb classes", and this has unfortunately prevented many students from learning valuable skills for life as well as exposing them to potential career opportunities. The idea that these classes are considered "blow off" classes absolutely floors me. The amount of time, attention to detail, and work that goes into these classes challenges your mind more than most AP classes. Not to mention that men and women who work in these fields require several certifications in order to do the work that most people consider non-important.

Another false narrative that's been pushed in America is that people who go into the trades were too dumb to go to college. This could not be further from the truth. As I mentioned prior, the amount of schooling that people go through to obtain these certifications often exceeds the daily work of most college students.

If you don't believe me, here's an example for you. I was in woodshop and construction classes all four years of high school, and I am so thankful I made the decision to do it. My teacher, Mr. Cattero, is one of my favorite people and was a key mentor to me in high school. This man not only has a bachelor's degree from Illinois State University but also has three masters degrees. Now if you still believe that anyone in those fields are idiots, I would heavily advise you take a look in the mirror.

My last point I want to make is the issue of money. Many people think that attending a four-year university is the only way to earn a living in America. This is once again a false narrative. Many people with certifications in automotive careers, as well as welding, make far more money than most people with bachelor's degrees.

Everyone is entitled to their path in life. There's nothing wrong with attending a four-year university and going into the corporate workforce. However, what is wrong is not exposing students to all their options. There are literally millions of jobs out there that we don't have people skilled enough to fill. Teach your kids that swinging a hammer is just as important as filling out spreadsheets.

Cover Image Credit: Christopher Burns

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14 Signs You Go To A Small School No One Has Ever Heard Of

"Your class size is what?!?"

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When most people are in high school, they look at all of the big schools that are known around the country. Schools like Rutgers, Ohio State, UCLA, University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University are often at the top of peoples' lists. Believe it or not, some people don't want to attend a huge college. If you're like me, you like having small class sizes where your professors get to know you and you always see someone you know when you're walking on campus.

Once you decide where you're going and become a student there, you constantly hear the same comments from people, whether they be good or bad- but you wouldn't want it any other way. Here are signs that you go to a small school that no one has ever heard of:

1. People always mess up your mascot

Rider University

"Broncs? Like the Denver Broncos?"

"No. Just the Broncs."

2. "Oh I've never heard of that. Where is it?"

3. "Wouldn't you rather go to *insert huge state school here*?"

The answer is always the same — nope.

4. You find people all the time who know or is related to someone who went to your school

"Oh, my cousin's friend went there!"

5. "Your class size is what?!?"

6. You've never had class in a lecture hall

Patricia M Guenther

Or class with more than 50 students.

7. When people come to visit, they can't believe how small your campus is compared to theirs

Well, at least we can get up 10 minutes before class starts instead of an hour to catch a bus.

8. Dining options are limited

Rider University

But you joke around and make the most of it, secretly hoping your campus will open a Panera or Chipotle like every other school.

9. People are amazed that you actually get to know your professors and the people in your classes, and that they get to know you

Not to mention that professors are a great reference for getting a job after graduation.

10. If you went to a big high school, your college isn't much bigger

Rider University

There are about 1,000 students per class, so only around 300-400 more students than you graduated high school with.

11. Your school doesn't have all of the big sports, like football

Jamie Lewkowitz

But hey, at least we're still undefeated!

12. When you get into your major classes, you always have the same people in them

13. You can't find anything with your school's logo on it, so constantly buy more apparel from the bookstore

Rider University

You walk out of there $100 poorer with a new sweatshirt, mug, and sweatpants that you didn't need.

14. You get really excited when someone has actually heard of your school

Giphy

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I Don’t Want To Admit It, But Math IS Important

Liberal Arts majors, this one is for you.

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I hate math with a passion. But I think it's necessary.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about confusing trigonometry or calculus. I'm talking about basic algebra, geometry, and other everyday math functions.

I was never an A+ math student. My dad used to be a high school math teacher, so luckily for me, if I was struggling in my math classes, I would just come home and ask Dad to "tutor" me or prep me for my tests. I feel bad for anyone who had/has a hard time with math and doesn't have such a resourceful person in their life, because I don't think I would've passed my classes without him.

Now, I haven't taken a math class in at least three or four years, but I know that being out in the workforce requires at least basic math skills. How come they teach us how to divide square roots and not applicable things like how to calculate a good tip (shameless plug - always tip your waiters at least 20%) or discounts?

There are so many necessary skills you'll use for your entire life that are not taught in schools.

Long ago when I was in 3rd grade, one of my teachers read us a book called "A Day Without Math." The book basically went through a school day where there was no math. People couldn't see what speed their car was going, cash registers didn't work, clocks were nonexistent...basically, the entire world shut down. Whenever I was frustrated and angry about my math class or a certain problem, I tried to remember that book. As much as I despised going to a math class only to leave in frustration, I knew it was for my own good.

Because when you think about it, our world really wouldn't function without math!

I wish math classes would've focused on the usefulness and practicality of their teachings instead of what was written in the textbook. Having a dad who worked in the school system, I understood that the teachers had to follow a certain curriculum, so in a way, their hands were tied. But then the issue simply gets passed higher and higher up until you reach the people creating the textbooks and curriculum school systems buy and use.

Maybe there's something we can do, whether it's petitioning for more teaching kids more usable math skills or continuously asking your teachers why you're learning what you're learning. Advocate for yourself and for future generations to learn the skills necessary to survive in our modern world, but at the same time remember that the problem doesn't necessarily stem from teachers but the curriculum being decided at levels far above their pay grade.

Moral of the story - even though I know a good majority of us (especially us liberal arts majors) are not fans of mathematics, let's work on learning and remembering the basics so our world can keep on turning.

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