College Isn’t for Everyone – No, Really

by Matt Price

I had the chance the other day to talk to a recently graduated high school senior while getting an ice cream in town the other day. He was glad that school was over.

I asked him if he would be attending college somewhere and his answer was a resounding "no."

He said he was tired of school and just wanted to get on with life, maybe get a job at the local factory where he could start, walking in the door, at more than $11 an hour - good money for an 18-year-old.

My response to him was something of a surprise and goes against everything our society is telling our kids. I told him college wasn't for everyone.

I went on to tell him that bucking the trend now may save him embarrassment in the coming months and a sense of failure that could follow him all his life.

The kid warmed up to me because I think he thought he was going to get the standard speech of, "you've got to go to college — if you don't go you will always have a low-paying job." In fact the pressure is so powerful that we basically tell graduates of high school that they will be losers in life if they don't go to college.

In the past 50 years, or so, we have reduced education from an end to a means. College is not about expanding your knowledge anymore — it's all about making more money.

If you think I'm lying just ask any student why they worry about college at the age of ten. Mom and Dad have big dreams for their child — as long as the dream includes lots of money at the end of the rainbow.

Even our teachers, for the most part, don't encourage their students to get an education so they too could teach others. Why? There is no money in teaching — you need to get a degree in something that can make you a lot of money.

The system has produced a lot of people who hate their work. My number-one question to a teenager is what do they want to do? The answer I usually get is, "I don't know — something that makes a lot of money." This is where we are.

Kids start studying for the SAT or ACT while in grade school so that they can get high scores so they can get into the right colleges so they can study something that doesn't interest them a lick.

When they get the "right degree" they apply for jobs that don't interest them in the slightest and start drawing a paycheck that is never enough because the student loans, (some to the tune of over $100,000) may take more than 20 years to pay back. And those are the ones who graduate from college.

A lot of kids go off to college with big paychecks as their motivation, only to fail. Within six months they are back in town running a cash register. You can tell from their body language that they consider themselves a failure.

They failed to live up to our dreams for them and we never considered theirs.

We have failed to instill one of the number-one truths that a parent can hammer into their child. Money is not everything and money cannot buy happiness and contentment.

I grieve at times because we are trying to fit square pegs into round holes We have become a society that worships science and mathematics at the expense of philosophy, history and art In pushing education for the sake of money we have lessened ourselves to a society of workaholics who hate what they do but possess a lot of toys that they don't have time to enjoy. College is not for everyone. An advanced degree is no guarantee for a contented life.

Money is not everything.

Doing something you love to do even for nothing, has and will continue to produce the kind of person other people want to be around.

Now think, who is the loser in the long run?

(Matt Price is a pastor, author and columnist. His e-mail address is theparsonperson@yahoo .com )


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