This article, telling people that they shouldn’t go to college, probably feels like every parent’s worst nightmare.
But the fact is, our parent’s generation grew up in a different time. Going to college or working as soon as they graduated high school was:
a. the only choice most were given.
b. a reasonable choice.
With the economy how it is and the job market limited, we have to face the truth that college doesn’t always mean a better job.
Luckily, the younger generations are in a position to choose when and whether they go to college. I’m not going to weigh in on the debate of if you should go to college, since I did. That’s for someone else to tackle.
I’m here to talk to you about whether college is worth putting off. Whether that be for a year, two years, or longer.
To give you some background, I went to college. I didn’t question the notion of graduating high school and joining the ranks of undergrad college students the following fall.
I went to Florida State University for a year before transferring to the University of Southern California. I’m one of the lucky few who don’t have student loan debt. I did my first year of college at an in-state rate of which was covered by a scholarship. Then I transferred to the university my dad worked at.
Which meant I got free tuition.
I am beyond grateful that I was given those options.
Because if I had taken out loans to go to college, it would’ve been the biggest regret of my life. I’ll get into this more later.
College, and what you study while there, is not a choice to make lightly. It’s a significant investment of time and money. One you could carry with you for the rest of your life.
You want the choice to be worth it.
If you’re wondering if college is the right decision for you right now, consider these signs that maybe you should wait:
You have no idea what the f*ck you want to major in.
Hello, this was me. Not once in college was I excited about what I studied in college. I didn’t choose my major until my Junior year, and even then, I chose Communication because I figured it was a broad subject that could help me get a variety of jobs.
If you don’t have a burning desire to major in a specific subject, wait. Go out into the world, try out different jobs, gain experience, and figure out what you’d want to do for a living.
I’d do anything to go back to college and major in Psychology or Creative writing. Alas, I didn’t know this until well after college, after I dabbled in different fields. (Also, spoiler: my degree and major had zero impact on the success of my current career).
Your parents are supportive of you waiting.
If your parents are open-minded enough to support your plan to wait to go to college, by all means, run with it. I’d venture to guess that the biggest impediment to any person’s college plans is the pressure they feel from their parents.
In Europe, a gap-year is encouraged for students after 12 years of non-stop schooling. Why do you think backpacking is so popular there? They encourage young adults to travel and figure out what they want from life.
Bring up the idea to your parents. If they’re open to helping you figure out how to put off college for a year or two, jump at that opportunity.
You have the entrepreneurial spirit of Gary Vee.
Some people have hustle inside them. Me, I’d say I have half-hustle, but hustle none-the-less. I didn’t build my writing career sitting around, waiting for a boss to give me deadlines or someone to hand me golden opportunities.
If you have the itch to start your own business online, take a year or two to test out that idea. Mind you, it won’t be an easy choice. You need to work hard to make something out of nothing.
But the truth is, you don’t need a college degree for a lot of careers. Sure, they might help you in the corporate world, but not in the online world. You could start a drop shipping business, become a writer, manage people’s social media accounts, or learn how to day trade, all from your laptop. No degree required.
Your wanderlust is itching, real bad.
When I graduated from college, I took two years to travel the world before I came back to Los Angeles and got a “real job.” I taught English in China and Korea; I worked as a nanny in Barcelona. I found jobs that allowed me to live in new countries.
If you’re dying to get out into the world and travel, take off time to do that.
If you jump right into college, chances are, you’ll jump right into a job after. That’s how it’s setup. Before you know it, you have too many responsibilities to ever spend a significant amount of time traveling.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from my dad’s best friend when I was deciding if I should move to China. He said, “you don’t want to wake up at 80 years old and wonder what if. So travel while you’re young and able to.”
It would be a significant financial burden.
It terrifies me when I hear about a woman who has been paying off an $80K student loan for ten years, only to owe even more money than her initial loan. Interest rates are a b*tch.
If you aren’t sure what you want to major in for college and you would have to take out loans to study, don’t. Consider waiting a year, working, and saving up money, so you can take out fewer loans.
You’re better off creating some sort of financial plan. Calculate how much your tuition for four years would be. Don’t forget to add in rent, costs for food, and textbooks. Then look at the average salary of the job you’re considering doing. Is it enough money to properly pay off your student loans?
Your answer to that question could mean the difference between financial freedom and a lifetime of debt.
Don’t get me wrong, college does have benefits. I met great friends there, watched speakers who I admire talk about their careers, and went to quintessential frat parties (which actually get old, very quickly).
But at the young age of 18, I don’t buy into the idea that we should know what we want to do in life, especially with next to zero experience.
Instead, consider taking a gap year or two, come up with a better plan, explore the world, and try out potential jobs you think you might like.
College isn’t going anywhere.