AUTHOR: BEN WALTER
In the past several weeks I have seen countless articles and videos highlighting the debt students are in and how certain things might be happening that will make it harder to pay that debt - or that will you in debt longer than you expected. Luckily, I never went into debt for the time I spent in college. I did drop out though because the debt was inevitable. So, in a world where we are told to get an education and the solution is always going to university, is there another way? To answer that question I think you have to respond to a whole slew of others.
What do I want to do? What am I passionate about?
Answering this question is hard. It took me nearly a decade to finally answer it after high school. I might have achieved an answer sooner if this question was indeed asked of me and the one inquiring cared to help me find a path to pursue that passion. That's not to say people didn't care, but we all get caught up in the rat race of making money and paying bills - basically, sustainability of self and lifestyle. And we need to find ways to pay those bills, but now more than ever there are ways to make money and live your dreams.
For me, it's obvious now; I wanted to be a filmmaker when I was younger. I wanted to write stories and bring them to life. It's what I was constantly thinking of, but I grew up in a blue-collar suburb of Fort Worth, TX. The only thing that was seen as successful was going to college and finding any job that paid well. Once you graduated high school, it seemed that dreams had to die and I let mine.
Honestly, if we let people be honest with their answers to this question and legitimately help them find a path to achieving their dreams, instead of saying "good luck with that," I think we might be able to save people from a lot of wasted time, wasted money, and wasted effort.
Does your passion need a particular type of education?
You are passionate about helping people and excellent at science - you want to be a doctor. That's awesome! It sounds like you'll be in school for the next decade and leave with sizeable debt, but you'll be able to pay that debt off as an MD.
Getting your hands dirty and working with mechanical things gets your motor going - technical school or an apprenticeship is in your future. We need more mechanics, plumbers, and electricians.
So, those are two paths that are widely accepted. Then the person comes along who wants to write a novel or intends to make films, or any creative/liberal arts topic. Go to an expensive university and spend massive amounts of money to hear the same thing you could have read in books or watched youtube videos. You might disagree with me, but on a grand scale, a lot of my peers are starting to agree with me.
You can learn to do the things you want to do on your own, and you can create or find the community that college gives you on your own.
What do you think? Am I off base? Let me know below.