College is still worth it

This is an old article uploaded to the site for achieve purposes.


Over the spring semester I had a pretty severe internal debate with myself. I kept asking the question if what I’m doing in college is going to be pertinent for my future career.

I entered college with a pretty narrow idea of what acceptable career options were: Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer. I was smart, and my parents always pushed me. And I definitely don’t blame them; these are all great careers. But society has conditioned young adults to believe two detrimental fallacies when choosing a career. One — that the greatest factor of happiness is how much money you make. And two — that more education is the best way to ensure you earn the most money.

While I don’t think everyone falls victim to these lies, a significant number of young people do. I know that I did.

In the Fall of 2015 I enrolled as a Chemical Engineering student at the University of Kentucky. Yet I knew little about engineering; and even less about chemistry. So why in the world would I chose that major? Well, because I looked at a list similar to this. Who wouldn’t want to come straight out of college and make 70,000 dollars a year?

Me! ME! Sign me up.

That’s a lot of money, especially for a y22-year-old who’s starting their first “real” job.

But before I even took my first engineering class I knew that I wouldn’t be happy being an engineer. My plan was to pair an engineering degree with an MBA, and become a business executive. Of course I had absolutely no idea what a “business executive” did — but I knew they made a lot of money, and they didn’t have to do “engineering stuff”.

Fortunately for myself, I had a precipitative event that really shook my life up. Among a number of other things, it led me towards what I’m really passionate about doing. I began surrounding myself with like-minded people, and working on a few projects, CommonSenseNews being one.

Eventually, I arrived at the conclusion that money doesn’t determine happiness or satisfaction. If someone offered to pay me $200,000 a year to shovel dirt for the rest of my life, I wouldn’t take the job; I would be miserable.

Money’s important. But there are many of ways to become wealthy that don’t involve college: Real estate, small business, innovation. Not a single person on the Forbes list earned their fortune by working as an employee for 40 years. Most, in fact, pursued what they loved.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t work for someone else. Because almost every one of us will at some point in our lives.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to college. Because I think that college can benefit everyone.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t become an engineer, doctor, or lawyer. Because by all means, the world needs you.

What I am saying, is that you should do all these things because you want to. You should do all these things because you’re driven to. Because working on the technology that makes autonomous cars possible excites you so much that you dream about it every night. Because spending your career working tirelessly to develop a cure for cancer makes you sick with joy just talking about it. Because making a difference though an unorthodox approach to the legal system has been your only focus since you set your sights on becoming a Judge.

College teaches you the skills necessary to pursue these passions. If you’re crazy about something that requires a college degree then there’s no question, college is the way to go. So I have no doubt that college is still “worth it”…

But it’s not the golden expressway towards a happy life.

There are many different roads that will take you to the country club. All you have to do is decide between the scenery.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed.

-Harrison B

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