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College - as seen by one with no experience in it

Posted June 24th, 2020 at 02:37 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
It finally happened.

I have finally signed up for college.

I know that for most people, college is 'the thing' you do after high school. That's 'how it works': high school, four years or so of college, get a job, retire in however many years.

Coming from a self employed family and being homeschooled drilled such notions out of me early on. I realized that just doing 'the thing' that everyone else did was not what I wanted to do, especially when I saw people with mountains of student debt, stuck in a cubicle working a job they hated for the rest of their lives, breaking their backs trying to make their bosses rich.

I wasn't doing that. No way.

So I largely dismissed college for a very long time. It took me a long time to figure out that while what I had learned was valuable, I had gone off the deep end with it. College itself isn't bad; you just need to know what you're doing.

In terms of college, the absolute worst thing you can do (in my admittedly non-existent experience) is to just go in with no idea what you're doing. That seems to be how most kids out of high school do it. Then they figure out some major half way through. Horrible idea.

The thing with college is that you only get in mountains of student debt if you can't pay it off. I think (again, no experience here) that a lot students pick a degree to major in which is very unlikely to help them pay off the debt they accrue.

What you need to do is figure out what you want to do before you ever sign up for college. Take a good hard look at what you really enjoy and why you really enjoy it. Find a job market where you get to use those skills to make money.

Then ask yourself: can I get in that market right now? There are tons of jobs which you can get into without a college education, if you can prove you know what you're doing. For instance: writing. All the diplomas in the world won't help one bit if you can't write. And conversely, if you can write well, no one cares if you have a diploma or not.

This obviously doesn't hold true for something like lawyers or doctors, but you get the idea.

If you then determine that you do indeed need an education, and that said education will enable you to land a job which will in turn enable you to pay off any debt you might accrue - do NOT go to college.

At least not the one you might think of.

The bigger the college, the bigger the price. But in reality (again, with my non-existent experience), smaller colleges, like community colleges, can usually offer what you need for a fraction of the cost. And usually you can get it in a fraction of the time too.

Sure, you can go to a big-name four year college, but you could also go to a community college and get the training and experience you need. No, you probably won't have a four year degree, but you'll be able to do the job. (Some markets are picky about having big four year degrees, so this obviously doesn't work for everything.)

(Again, this doesn't apply to things like being a doctor.)

My point in all this is: it pays off to not blindly do what everyone else does just because it's 'the thing' to do. Take a step back, form your own opinions, and proceed accordingly. You could save yourself a lot of time and money, and ultimately wind up doing something you enjoy the rest of your life.

~TGRF.
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For those interested, I have opted to pursue classes towards a network administrator (aka, cross between IT support and cybersecurity). I will be taking two degree programs over the space of 3-4 years.

Cybersecurity is a market which is expanding and will continue to do so (barring EMP-using alien invasions). This will allow me to easily pay off any debt. This job will also allow me to create systems and provide technical support, two things which I feel I will enjoy doing.

In the long term, I fully intend to support myself through my writing. This is a very stupid idea if it's the only one you have, so cybersecurity is the fail safe backup plan. It will support me until my writing does.
Total Comments 4

Comments

Old
TheAverageFan's Avatar
Ironically Network Administrator + Writing is exactly what I'm aiming for at the moment too. It's one of the three jobs out there that occasionally has some down time for you to write.

~TAF
Posted June 24th, 2020 at 05:58 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
Old
The Grim Reaper's Friend's Avatar
Huh. Great minds...

Out of curiosity, what are the other two jobs?

~TGRF.
Posted June 24th, 2020 at 06:24 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend The Grim Reaper's Friend is offline
Old
TheAverageFan's Avatar
Librarian and security guard.

~TAF
Posted June 24th, 2020 at 06:54 PM by TheAverageFan TheAverageFan is offline
Old
Tornado's Avatar
Hah, nice TAF.
You have a great perspective there TGRF.
Best of luck to you.
I think Metallica said it best in the song Motorbreath.
"Those people who tell you not to take chances,
they are all missing on what life's about.
You only live once, so take hold of the chance.
Don't end up like the others, the same song and dance."
Posted June 29th, 2020 at 10:21 AM by Tornado Tornado is offline
 
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