College, or university for my British and Aussie pals, is supposed to change your life. For people going onto law school, medical school, and teaching, it’s necessary.
For everyone else, no. I went to college and feel like it was largely unneeded in my life. My university could’ve been any university. Like a bad sitcom breakup, it wasn’t you. It’s me.
Universities are not necessary for people in most walks of life. Almost everyone gets a job out of knowing someone. The number of people I’ve met without experience nor degrees of any kind in fairy decent corporate world and entertainment jobs is staggeringly high.
My university experience was me replacing high school with a two year community college and using those credits to free myself out of high school early, followed by transferring to a four year university. In that time, I never studied anything remotely useful apart from web design classes I used to fulfill my science credits. My journalism teacher I had in junior high taught so much more than any journalism class at my four year university; I transferred out of journalism into liberal arts for several reasons and that fo’sho was probably second place. In first place was that I had all my general studies credits done, should’ve graduated at 18, and took a whole year longer to graduate because the media department refused to let me take more than one to two classes per semester dependent on what kind of journalism classes they were. You learn journalism by DOING and THE WILL TO LEARN. Somewhere out there, a great journalism program exists, or maybe I happened upon having a meh experience at an otherwise good program. Whichever way you view it, the media department at my school wouldn’t let me transfer into film which was what I actually wanted — and no way in hell was I going to graduate at 22-23 taking one class per semester like a fool.
Much of my four year university learning was about memorizing stuff you find on Google or being taught material almost everyone knows. In between, I had a few good teachers who taught the material rather than shoving it at us.
When I complain, my mom who is big on education in her family for generations tells me it’s fine I went to college because people make fun of you when you don’t. I can assure you, getting a college degree won’t stop anyone making fun of you. The haters move onto something else.
Student life then was really awkward. Everything was about studying or internships. Maybe I went to too serious of a university. The people I liked most at school were the rock guys, rebels of some kind, mysterious writers, future novelists, future actors, etc — and they always either dropped out or transferred. The academic scene to me felt super awkward like a training program on how to make LinkedIn your whole life existence and jargon, and I didn’t know what to do. I’d have felt more at home elsewhere. Once again, it’s not you, school. It’s me.
As someone who doesn’t care much about paying to be taught stuff I can find on Google nor being involved with student life on campus, a university experience wasn’t a big deal to me. The film department wouldn’t let me transfer. The music department wouldn’t. Nor did computer science or theater. I was f—d by the rigid system where you get into a school and not much comes out of it. Some people land at a four year university and feel it’s the greatest years of their lives. I don’t know.
My motto is that we do things for a reason an have to make the right mistakes to land where we need to be in life. Thinking on that theme, I would not erase college out of my life because it would erase my path into meeting people I enjoy being around and being where I must be. If I were to redo anything without consequences on my current life, I would in a heartbeat not go to college.
For people who don’t go to college, you can go into the entertainment industry, write a book, open a small business, become a hairdresser, be a chef’s apprentice, become an entrepreneur, open a restaurant, or study ANY trade and get a job out of trade school. Or do nothing, if you want to be a society girl/boy, or, you know, be a homemaker who chills and takes care of kids. The latter stay at home parent thing isn’t for me, though I want to put it out there as I see so many men and women who really only want to be stay at home dads/moms going to school because of pressure. Who am I to look down on you for wanting that? Love and live as you please.
I am very lucky to have escaped school without student loans. If loans are an issue to you, and you don’t want to be in a highly educated specialty like medicine or vet school, or your specialty requires a degree (chemistry, art history teacher, scientific researcher, banking exec with an MBA.....) please don’t waste your time. You can self educate for free or, who knows, $50 per month buying books and how to videos. College doesn’t guarantee a job. The most you’ll get if you aren’t either well connected or in the predicament of meeting/knowing people if they don’t take you seriously? Well then! Hmmmm.... OK, I have it. You will impress people and people might possibly think you’re smart. Is impressing people worth spending years of your life doing something you won’t care about? No!
I come from a really educated family where I’ve had people do stuff like be part of the batch of the first female medical school graduates of one major university. My opinion here is unpopular and awkward yet something someone else must be thinking. If you come from an educated family, or any family, and are told college is necessary, please don’t go if you have second thoughts or plain old hate the idea.