There is no end to the reasons why you should go to college after high school. What about reasons not to? The idea for this post came to me as I was sitting in line applying for school for the third time and having recently turned 31. It felt pretty good for some reason(s). Well… Here they are in no particular order.
International Travel Is Easier When You’re Younger
That graph is totally based on guesstimation BUT I think it’s pretty true. RIGHT after high school it’s a little harder to travel because most people will be short on cash, connections and experience to make cool travel happen (but it’s totally possible). After a few years pass you’ll have some money saved (from working) and you’ll have met some people online/offline who have convinced you how cool [INSERT COOL COUNTRY] is and you’ll be all set to go!
This travel could TOTALLY be fit in right after college, or on some kind of exchange student thing, but there’s nothing better than doing it “on your own.” A degree DOES make it easier to get work outside of the country, but (IMHO) that’s another good reason not to have one. Learning to “wing it.”
As the graph moves to the left you’ll see it getting harder and harder to travel. I think this happens to just about everyone. You get bogged down with relationships, kids, work, responsibilities (house payments and the like), business, etc. Better to do it early (and often if you can).
Real World Experience Beats Book Knowledge EVERY Time
Too bad more people don’t get nudged towards not going directly to college after high school. It’s nice having the cushioning school provides for getting out of the house the first time, but how nice would it be doing it on your own right away. Getting a job, getting an apartment and buying a car all on your own. And doing it the good ol’ fashioned way, by working for it. You would learn real life living skills earlier on in life, instead of being like me… 31 and trying to figure them out now! Imagine cooking, cleaning and… learning how to live (totally on your own) right from the jump, all the while learning skills in whatever work you decide to get into (there are jobs, besides flipping burgers, available to those who lack a college education).
Pleasure Now, Business Later (Maybe)
Life is always hard work. Whether you’re in school, retired, a millionaire, broke… Life has ups and downs, it’s just the way it is. That said you could be experiencing these ups and downs while chasing your dreams instead of drudging through school with uncertainty. Of course, some dreams require school (doctors and lawyers), but many dreams don’t and why not pursue them fully right away! And… You never know. By chasing your dreams you might find yourself in a position of earning a living from said dream thus combining the business AND the pleasure (yay!) If that doesn’t work out for you, well, you can always…
Fall Back On School
I think this is what put the secret smile on my face. Once you fully play your “school card” it’s gone. Never to be played again. If you hold onto it for a little while you can work odd jobs, try starting businesses, live in a foreign country for 5 years, goof off with social media, win a free car with free gas, drive around the country, try to start more businesses and… Decide to whip out your school card when things start to slow down and you want to get focused (Note: Those are all things I’ve done. )
Once you’re done with school… You’re done. I mean, you can go back, get another degree, a masters, a PhD perhaps but then… When you’re done. You’re done. And it’ll be time to “pay the piper.” Why not save that until you have a better idea of what you REALLY want to do after you’ve experienced some things, traveled a bit and met some people?
I Should Have Waited…
When I graduated high school in 1998, I planned on going to school for physical therapy. I signed up for a year and failed all of my classes (except for Chinese language). What would have “made sense” (in terms of $ and cents) would have been getting some kind of “Information Technology” degree. I REALLY liked Chinese and decided that I needed to “move to China.” I ended up in Taiwan.
Before I go on to the next part of the story a side note. I was (am?) a mathematical GENIUS! (I think so anyway ). I LOVE math. The problem was I never saw a “practical” use for it (engineering, accounting or stock trading didn’t seem very “practical” to me.) I would have went to school for… “math” but I didn’t really understand what I was going to do with it… *back to Taiwan*
Well, after some traveling and meeting people I ran into jlick. Jlick somehow picked up on my interest in mathematics and business and introduced me to the world of economics! Since I never ran into economics in high school or college I never really knew what it was. After reading a couple books he loaned to me I FINALLY knew what I wanted to study! What’s funny is… I was 25 or 26 at the time. I didn’t figure out what I wanted to study until 7 or 8 years AFTER graduating. The year I spent in school was a COMPLETE waste time and money (except for those Chinese classes).
Anyhow… Just some food for thought. I think there must be a lot of wasted time, money and energy from people going to college before they REALLY know what it is they want to get out of it.
UPDATE! – Monday, October 10, 2011
Lucky you! You’re reading this after the update! A “bipolar brother” (which is funny because the post right before this was one of me running “bipolar errands“), created a guide to getting what you want without formal credentials. It’s EXCELLENT! Are you in high school now? Start following these steps! You might be making more than your teachers before you graduate. Just finished high school? Do this instead of going to school right away! Show the blog post below to your parents. What? They think it’s a bad idea? Awesome! That must be willing to pay for your schooling for you! If I was in your situation, I’d take the money, go to school (DON’T SLACK! It’s a waste of fucking time!) AND rock the system below my first year (while taking a really light full-time schedule). Can’t find work? SHUT THE FUCK UP! You have internet! Read the post and start making magic happen!