This Point of View article is the second in a two-part series about the college search process. The writer, 17, is a senior at Bethlehem Central High School who is attending college in the fall. She has recently been accepted to the University of Vermont, Fordham University, and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is (very carefully) making her decision soon.
Imagine, for a moment, the look of a parent’s face if they are told that their child wants to go to art school or, heaven forbid, become a poet. Even a marine biologist is scoffed at. Now consider the mortified parent who is told their child wants to opt out of school entirely. After all, we’ve always been told that if we don’t get into “a good college” then we’ll never amount to much. So, at the will of popular opinion, these children are put into college, acquire debt, and increase the demand of college education, keeping tuition rates high. And what happens? Only 56% of students actually finish attending a 4 year college. Our education system is characterized by common core classes that every student must take that all students need the same path in their education. Their passions are forced to fit into a major, or face being forgotten entirely. The system does not accommodate to different types of intelligence. There’s so much pressure to attend college, it doesn’t seem like a viable option to just start working, or following your own path. Electricians, contractors and plumbers can live extremely fulfilling lives and can make twice or three times more money than that of a college graduate.
Yet who would want to work in a field that’s been characterized and stereotyped as for failures and unmotivated dropouts? I’d like to see you learn how to fix the intricate workings and wirings of your precious foreign cars engine. It clogs up the system to put these individuals with unique talents in environments that don’t do their talents justice. We need blue collar workers skills daily, and always will. But how many psychologists or businessmen do we really need when we already have such a surplus? There may be more fulfilling paths, yet students will enroll in med-school and law-school where just seeking a nice salary is not going to cut it.