Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Is College Good Enough?

  I am in my freshman year of college. Now having said that, I don't really know how good college will be for me but I certainly hope it is worth it. I admit that what urged me to come to college was simply money,ironically  the very thing that kept me from going to college years ago. You see, after high school I didn't have the money to go to college. Instead I leaped into the real world thinking I knew enough to survive. I assumed I would find a job that interested me, begin at the bottom and simply work my way up the ladder. After many years of thoughtlessly jumping from one job to the next and wandering if I would ever manage to stay with a company long enough to receive any benefits I started working for a company in their quality control department and I actually liked it. I was working in a lab, wearing a white coat, and performing extensive tests on different products. I made more money than I ever had and was actually beginning to save money, but then the inevitable happened...the company closed. They went bankrupt leaving me looking for a job once again. This time I had a taste of what it was like to work a job I didn't hate, but rather liked, so I tried to find something else in that field. I quickly discovered that without a degree I was out of luck. I began working a factory job and, once again, living from pay check to pay check. So the main reason for my coming to college is because I am tired of working a job that I hate and still being broke. I want to feel successful.

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/kheelcenter/5279234053/">Kheel Center, Cornell University</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>

  Now that I am here I admit I have asked myself if this is the right decision for me.  Is college going to help me? While trying to research this for myself I read What Is College For and found out that "a research survey this year found that 74 percent of graduates from four-year colleges say that their education was very useful in helping them grow intellectually, 69 percent said that it was useful in helping them grow and mature as a person, and 55 percent said it was very useful in helping them prepare for a job or career. Moreover, 86 percent of these graduates think college has been a good investment for them personally"

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/juanillooo/471668553/">J.Salmoral</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>

Well that does sound promising but what if college isn't enough? I do worry that even with a degree I may not have the experience employers require. Why Your College Degree Is Not Enough says "It's hard to land a job without experience. In today's job market, experience trumps a degree every time." I also soon read that schools can teach you some bad habits. In The Bad Habits You Learn In School I read that "schools  do many things well, but they often cultivate habits that can be detrimental to future leaders." It went on to say how college graduates fear failure and they are sometimes only interested in getting their own work right, not worrying about the rest of the team.

  During my research I stumbled upon a list of a few facts at Gear Up about people who graduate from college that I found interesting:

                      * They live longer

                      * They are physically healthier

                      * They are more likely to get jobs and keep them

                      * They are more likely to enjoy the work they do

                      * They have more options and can change careers more easily

  All of that certainly sounds good to me. I also found an article in The New York Times that says college is a good investment for most graduates and that the evidence is overwhelming. According  to the New York Times "A new study even shows that a bachelor's degree pays off for jobs that don't require one: secretaries, plumbers and cashiers."

photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/15198978@N04/5065609239/">crazybarefootpoet</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a

  Well after researching the topic and applying what I found into my life's experiences, I have come to the conclusion college is not enough, but merely a stepping stone in ones life long quest for success and prosperity. I believe for many people college is the beginning of a new era for them. Up until this time they are usually spoiled by parents and high school teachers. So for a lot of freshmen this is probably their first real taste of being responsible for their own actions, going to class without being told, and learning to research things on their own. Also a lot of them may be just now working their first job. For me it is a little different. I have worked jobs, and have learned responsibility. Now I need to learn calculus! I need to develop better people and communication skills and leadership skills. And then I need to work and apply these skills at work and in my day to day life. Then and only then will I feel successful.

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