Why College is Still Worth It

I have three degrees, and not one of them has helped me get a job. I’ve never worked in any of my fields of study. Never. If that’s your only yardstick for measuring a college education, then yeah, for me it was a monumental waste of time and money.

But I still maintain that college was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I would be a completely different person were it not for higher education. The impact it has had on me has been priceless.

First of all, dorm life is the perfect transitional period between living with your parents and entering the real world. You can try new things, have new experiences, and make truly epic mistakes while still being in a relatively supervised environment. It’s a very important rite of passage. Freedom with a bit of a safety net.

And I guarantee you that you will never find it that easy to make lifelong friends again. Something about pulling an all-nighter or sharing a room with someone bonds you. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it yourself.

And I truly believe that it’s nearly impossible to go to a university and come out without your horizons having been broadened. You are exposed to other cultures, different schools of thought, and controversial points of view. You learn to question authority and make informed decisions. You discover the importance of thinking outside the box.

Continuing a formal education past high school also helps you discover who you are. You spend time with different types of people. You have different successes and failures. Saying to yourself, “I’ll never do that again” is every bit as valuable as finding your niche or your calling.

Having that amazing 4 year span before the chains of life start weighing you down in the form of mortgage and debt and relationships and obligations and soul-crushing responsibilities is also invaluable. I miss that feeling of only being lightly tethered. I’d love to have it back.

And, yes, of course I learned things that are quantifiable. I speak Spanish. I know the difference between there, their, and they’re. I suspect that if necessary, I could still remember how to rappel down the side of a cliff. And the critical thinking skills that I perfected there have served me well every single day of my life.

So yes, move heaven and earth to go to college. Just be more realistic in your fields of study than I was. You will have to pay the bills eventually.

If you skip this precious milestone in life, you’ll be selling yourself short. And you’ll never know just how much more amazing you could have been. Go for it.

college

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2 thoughts on “Why College is Still Worth It

  1. Samuel Ramirez

    Thanks for a great post Barb. I was lucky enough to have used my degrees in both English and Theater throughout my career. I agree that college is an amazing right of passage. It taught me responsibility and independence. It also opened my eyes (and ears) to amazing ideas and to the world beyond my home town of Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. And I was blessed with friendships that I still maintain until this day (like you dear Barb!)

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