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.