Ultimately, it is the student’s job to ignore the stigmas, and teaching the youth that gaining knowledge in their passions, relying on their own drive, is where permanent change will come from. It is the student’s job to figure out if we want to pursue a wide base of knowledge at a liberal arts school. Its the students job to decide if we have a passion that we are so strongly invested in that we need a private school that will allow us to build our own curriculum. It is the students job to decide if we want to go to a state school for the experience, price, and connections before entering the working world. There should be no stigmas, no sneering at the highly personal decisions we make on how we get an education, whether it be in school, work or travel. We don’t need to cripple ourselves financially for success. If the passion to learn everyday exists, then that is success in itself. If we trust ourselves, and get over the blind faith in a degree, then future generations will indefintely see increases in creativity, job rates, and life satisfaction in general.
When students stop trying to fit into some mold of the typical college graduate, schools that are repeatedly invested in may have to reconsider their staggering tuitions as application rates drop. Other schools that offer non-conventional educations might see a rise in applications and perhaps won’t get scoffed at by the other institutions as they improve. More college bound kids will get the attention they deserve and the rates they pay will not damage their hopes at future success. Their education will do what it was supposed to. Suddenly, any college education will be “a good college education” especially if the focus is more on what to do with the education rather than how to get that degree. Hard workers who join the workforce won’t have to face any guilt at their decision and can take full pride in their work, never looking back with regret, never warning their kids to grow up and be different from them. Learning happens in every moment, every day, from the classes we take, the problems we face, and the people we meet. If we hold on to that burning desire to learn, and teach others how to educate themselves, it won’t matter if you’re a professor, a dancer, a mechanic, or a sky-diving instructor. We can begin to take pride, finally feel we made the right decision, and feel in control of our own fates.