Okay so I guess I am a walking oxymoron. I am a college graduate, tutor kids for the ACT/SAT, but I no longer believe it is necessary to go to college to succeed. Don’t get me wrong if you want to be a doctor, veterinarian, lawyer (or any job that REQUIRES extensive specific education) college is probably your best bet. However, I will not be telling my children they have to go to college to succeed.
To be honest a lot of college curriculum is 10 years behind the times and teaching outdated ideas. I will use my education as an example. I started my college career in Architecture. Until you made it into the School of Architecture, you were considered Pre-Architecture. You were not allowed to use Auto CAD or any other design software. You had to draw by hand. My sister worked for a lady who was the last person in our area to hand draw designs… In 1998! I was drawing designs in college in 2007-2008. Yep there’s that 10 years.
After realizing that I loved learning about architecture but not doing it, I switched majors to Journalism. My track was News/Editorial. I took one class on how to design the layout for a newspaper. That was all they offered. I wasn’t slacking in tech classes. They just literally didn’t offer any type of web news classes. (Maybe I needed a better advisor… I don’t know.) All I know is when I left, I was set for writing for a newspaper… oh wait no one reads newspapers anymore. It’s all online! I had a friend that was on the same track as me and she is a successful journalist… She ended up going to a private design college after public college to learn what she needed to be competitive in our field.
Maybe I’m the only person jaded by out-of-date college education, but I doubt that. Of course I will share these stories with my girls to help them make a better choice, but archaic education is not why I won’t be telling my girls they have to go to college. It’s just the simple fact that they don’t have to go to college to be successful. There is so much FREE information out there by highly successful individuals who don’t have to follow a college’s agenda that paying THOUSANDS of dollars to hear it from someone who has to conform to an agenda is unnecessary (for most professions).
So many of my students tell me they have no idea what they want to do so they will figure it out in college. Most of these kids will be taking on thousands of dollars in debt to hopefully figure things out which makes me sad. They have no idea what it is like to pay off loans post-grad. It’s not fun believe me. I ask why they want to go to college and they tell me because that’s what you are supposed to do after high school. That also makes me sad… The only options aren’t college or McDonald’s after high school. There is an entire world of possibilities if these kids only took the time to stop and look.
Both my husband and I went to college. We met in college. I graduated because I wanted that piece of paper. He dropped out after the first semester of his JUNIOR year because he realized that there wasn’t anything the college was teaching him that was actually relevant to what he wanted to do with his life. That’s right he only had 3 semesters left before graduating and decided to quit. He quit before he had to start taking on debt. He quit because he did not feel like he was getting anything out of what they were teaching him. This was not a popular idea at all. (I was thrilled because I didn’t have to watch him suffer/complain anymore). He knew though that telling his parents was going to be hard, and it was. But both myself and his parents couldn’t be more proud of him now.
What my husband did was some serious soul-searching. He knew that he was either going to work for his father’s business like he had been doing for several years already or he was going to work for himself. He never wanted to work for a corporation. He’s almost 29 and has held true to that notion. He thought about what he really wanted out of life. He thought about what he enjoyed doing. He thought about what would bring him happiness. He fell in love with Regenerative Agriculture. He has recently fallen in love with Permaculture. He knows what he wants in life, what brings him happiness and what he enjoys doing. And he is doing it!! How many people can say that? Can you say that? I hope you can.
So what has he done for education? He had to go back to college to learn everything he knows now right? NOPE. The vast majority of colleges only teach conventional agriculture.
One thing I love about the field he has chosen is there are so many people who are highly successful (who didn’t go to college for agriculture) who believe in sharing what they have learned so the next generation can continue the work without as many pitfalls. It is a community of sharing. My husband for the last 3 years has immersed himself in hundreds of podcasts, books, YouTube videos & seminars. He has gone and met some of his mentors and talked to them. He has even been able to bounce ideas off them. He has toured other farms to see how they are successful. He gets out there and learns on his own.
This is why I don’t feel it is necessary for my girls to go to college. If college is their choice then so be it. I will support that decision. What I want my girls to do is to stop and think about what will make them happy, what they want to do with their lives, and what they enjoy doing. I want them to know that they don’t have to conform to the societal mold of “Going to college is the only way you can be successful.” I want them to see and learn from all angles of education. I want them to take after their father enough to have the courage to “Question with Boldness.”