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You do not need a college degree to change the world

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Illustration by: Alyssa Curry | Staff Illustrator

College is a tool to discover interests and help students decide what career path they would like to take in life. However, it is not necessary to pledge your soul to student loans to find out you want to spend the rest of your life playing hacky-sack or building computers.

When many fresh-faced 18-year-olds near high school graduation, they are faced with the daunting task of deciding what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and may have no idea. Subject to pressure from parents and high school guidance counselors, around 20.5 million students will decide to go to college.

America’s pre-collegiate education system is faulty at best. Standardized tests teach students how to test well, but not how to learn and apply knowledge to the world around them. American colleges and universities seem to be following a similar pattern.

Students are required to take either one or two standardized tests before they even enter college. The SAT and ACT “determine” if a student is fit for university—never mind students who are brilliant, but not when it comes to taking tests. Instead of focusing on creating well-rounded and educated individuals who can reinvent the work industry, students are focused on making the grades.

Some young adults enter their freshman year of college unsure of what corporate hell they would like to submit to for the rest of their lives, and continue to not know all the way up to graduation.

The original intent of secondary-education was to provide an opportunity to see the world creatively and imaginatively. When students aren’t learning, they have no reason to be in school—especially when paying thousands of dollars for lessons they do not care about.

It is stressed consistently throughouta student’s career, the importance of obtaining a college degree. People would have you believe the only way to be successful is by sticking it out through four, six or even ten years of schooling to find a job. Yet,  upon graduation the lack of jobs sends you back home with Mom and Dad.

You do not have to go to college to learn about the world around you. You do not have to go to college to make an impact or to get a job. You are not promised a job with a college degree, and you are not promised a job without one.

Sure, you will most likely have an entry-level position in a lovely cubicle at some office park if you get a degree, but not everyone wants to live that awe-inspiring lifestyle.

Not to imply that you will become the next millionaire if you drop out of school, but take a look at the vastly successful people who either dropped out of college or did not attend:

Oprah Winfrey reinvented the media industry after she dropped out of Tennessee State University.

Bill Gates revolutionized the computer industry after leaving Harvard.

Steve Jobs became responsible for a tidal wave of life-changing technology after spending one semester at Reed College.

College is not for everyone, and that is exactly how it should be. The world is filled with vastly different people who can fill a variety of niches and services. Do not succumb to the pressure of getting a degree if you do not want one.

If you do not love what you are learning in school, it may be time to ask yourself: “Is this what I really want?”

-Mikala Everett is a mass communications junior

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