College Pressure

by Trinity B. , Grade 11, Thomas Jefferson Highschool, Council Bluffs, Iowa, 51501, IA USA
Teacher: Kristy Harris

College Pressure

Has anyone ever told you “You have to attend college to be successful and get a good career,” or something along those lines? This is something that I have been told from a very young age, and for the longest time I believed it too. As I got older I realized that you don’t have to go to college to be successful in your career or to find a successful career. Instead I realized that people who don’t attend college can have just as successful of a career as someone who attended and graduated from college with a degree.

College is a subject that I have become more and more passionate about. Did you know that in October of 2015 69.2% of 2015 graduates from high school enrolled in a college or university shortly after graduating. I feel as though we are expected to graduate high school and go directly into college to get a good degree and start a successful career. That’s the standard, or you could say the ‘norm’. We are prepared for college the moment we get to highschool. Some would say they even start preparing us in middle school. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing but it’s as if some young adults feel pressured sometimes to join college in order to be successful. A lot of us want success but don’t have the means for college whether it be mentally or financially.

My mother would be a great example. She spent many years at different jobs that were often the complete opposites of each other. She has worked in many different fields in her lifetime. That is until a few years ago when she found a job that she decided to pursue a career in. In the midst of looking for a new job and rewriting her resume a thousand times till it was perfect, she got a job offer that sparked her interest. She took the offer and within months was a great leader for her coworkers and continued to work her way up in the business. The more promotions and higher positions she got, the more she realized that she truly loved her career and was happy to finally be successful and stable all at the same time. One thing I haven’t made very clear yet it that my mother never attended college. She had me and my brother at a young age and had no time for school, only time for work and family. She wasn’t broke or poor but she also didn’t have the money to go to college even if she wanted to. My mother never saw herself having a career like the one she has, a desk job wasn’t ever her thing. However she wouldn’t of had it any other way. Now that she has a career, she’s surprised she’s come this far on just a high school education and enjoys going to work everyday.

I feel as though a lot of kids go into college unhappy because they feel forced or pressured to go. A friend of mine even dropped out because she initially didn’t want to go to college but felt obligated to in order to be successful and make her family and friends proud. Another friend of mine went to nursing school for over a year and racked up thousands of dollars worth of student debt by the time she realized she didn’t enjoy nursing as much anymore and wanted to pursue something else. She felt like because she’d already invested so much into nursing, her hard work and her money, that she would continue with that career and settle for less than what she wanted. College isn’t for everybody though, and that’s why there are jobs and future careers accessible to people who haven’t attended college or gotten a degree. A lot of young adults would rather find their dream job and settle down in life instead of attend college for years and pay off student debt for twice as long. I understand that everybody is different and every situation is different. I’m not saying I think young adults shouldn’t go to school or attend college after high school, I just don’t like that so many feel like they are obligated or pressured to go because of what they’ve been told throughout their lives..   

There are many many other examples of people besides my mother who have become successful in their careers with just a high school education and diploma. A lot of people find themselves wanting to be their own boss and have their own business that they can run and operate. There are plenty of entrepreneurs  who are very successful in their careers. I want the people that I’ve gone to school with for so many years to be able to do what they want in life without feeling pressured or obligated to fit into the standards. In my opinion the standard shouldn’t be “Get good grades, graduate high school, go to college then get into a successful career.”

I think people should care more about this and not be under the impression that they have to get a degree and successful career. Anyone should be able to do what they want with their life after they graduate, especially if that means they go about it the same way my mom did and waited for the time to come instead of forcing it. Do what you want with your life, find a successful career with or without college and prove to yourself that you don’t have to fit in with the crowd and the standard norm. You can accomplish anything you want to without going down the same road as your peers have year after year. I personally want to go to college, but some of my friends and peer don’t. And I’m sure that one day they will have just as successful as a career as me in the future.

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