If you’re in college, at some point during your four years there, you will question if you’ve made the right choice. What should your major be? Did you choose the cheapest school? Should you take out a loan? One question that plagues a lot of us students (whether we act on it or not), is whether we should have gone to college or not.
*gasp* I know. No one really likes to touch on this subject. It has been ingrained in our minds since we could comprehend that “success” = going to college, graduating and getting a degree, getting married, having some babies and working for the rest of your life to pay back all those student loans. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. You may not have to work for the rest of your life, but if you don’t know how to save or invest your money wisely, that actually may be your reality.
It’s vitally important to think about your future as unbiased as possible. The truth is that your future should not be determined based on society’s views of success, your classmates or even your parent’s influences either. You’ve got to do what’s best for you and sometimes that may or may not involve college.
So here are five questions one should ask themselves regarding whether or not they should attend college:
1. What do you truly want to do? Will it make you happy?
Have you really and truly asked God, searched your heart and found what your passion is? It’s important to expose yourself to as much as possible to give yourself a better understanding on what various careers involve. For example, while I was in high school I was involved in an externship class during my senior year. It was such an awesome experience because it allowed for the students to decide for themselves which professional career they would like to “intern”. The students were also given the responsibility of doing all of the corresponding to their externship of choice. This allowed for us to practice networking and interacting with professionals. Please please PLEASE make sure that your career of choice is something that will make YOU happy in the long run. Could you wake up smiling and happy to go to work years down the road? If not, you will quickly burn out once the excitement wears off and that is not the foundation of a happy life.
2. How might you reach your goals by attending a trade school or a community college?
It’s very common for people to look down upon community colleges/trade schools or view them as subpar but the truth is, if you can do what you love and all it takes is a few years at a community college and/or trade school… why not!? Be smart. Save that money and go to culinary school. In a few years, you are qualified to cook to your heart’s content and work your way up to your dreams. You’re not in debt and you are happy. You didn’t have to go to a four year university for that.
3. How much does your salary tie in to your happiness?
This is a question you are really going to have to answer for yourself. If the only reason you want to be a doctor/engineer/dentist/lawyer is because of the high salary, you’re cheating yourself. Life is SO much more than that. Find your passion. Seek God. Find your true calling and purpose. If it turns out that your calling just so happens to be super lucrative, awesome! If not, do what you love. The money will follow.
4. Will you be able to successfully get a job in your field of choice without going to college or is college a requirement for that field?
Let’s say you’ve decided that you want to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. Cutting into people is your thing and that’s what makes you happy. BUT… you don’t want to go to college. Um. I’m sorry, but you have no choice. If you’re gonna be cuttin’ into ANYBODY you’d better have a couple degrees.
I know this post may seem like I’m advocating not going to college but you have to be reasonable. There are many careers where going to college is unavoidable. There is nothing wrong with that. As long as that career is the one for you, do what you have to do to attain your goals.
5. Have you considered becoming an entrepreneur?
Personally, I am extremely interested in entrepreneurs. You have to have a lot of courage and self- determination to become your own boss and manage a business, but the rewards are immeasurable. Many entrepreneurs don’t need college degrees. Depending on which field your business is in, it can actually be something as simple as handing out some business cards and promoting your at-home daycare. There’s nothing wrong with starting small. Every successful business had to start from somewhere.
As you’re reflecting on whether or not a traditional 4 year college is for you, know that this is definitely not an exhaustive list, but these are just a few questions you should consider before deciding whether college is right for you. Deciding what to do after high school graduation is so important. Don’t make the decision uninformed of your options.
Miranda Elise is a Christian who also happens to be a senior Biology major at the University of Florida. She has numerous hobbies and interests that include running a photography business as well as selling handmade crocheted beanies in her Etsy shop. She also enjoys helping others avoid making the mistakes she has made by offering advice and knowledge through her blog, MirandaElise.com and Youtube channel. In her spare time, Miranda enjoys reading, spending time with her family and baking black bean brownies.