To School, or Not to School

In my first post, I mentioned how my primary inspiration for starting this blog was the – to be frank – pretty insane amount of debt I took on in order to earn a bachelor’s degree.

THE PROBLEM IS, FOR MANY PEOPLE, the debt JUST ISN’T worth it.

For me, it may have been. I graduated with a degree in Information Technology, and I am still working in a field that leverages my degree. Plus, IT degrees currently lead people toward careers that pay pretty well compared to other industries.

Conversely, I’ve heard countless stories of people who aren’t currently working in the same field as their degree, or their degree hasn’t led to lucrative jobs – or they aren’t working in their degree field because it doesn’t lead to lucrative jobs.

Now, if you already graduated, I probably don’t have to tell you that a degree in political science or art history may not be the best choice – at least not from a financial standpoint.

And if you actually majored in a field and are now working a low-paying job, I am sorry to hear that. I really, sincerely am. But that sort of scenario is exactly why I am writing this post.

College isn’t for Everyone

It’s really not. And you know what? There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Someone has to mill those auto parts, or become a master electrician, or what have you.

But for whatever reason, over the past several decades here in the US, it seems that many kids have been made to think they have to go to college. That’s not surprising though, as apprenticeships are not all that prevalent here.

Sprechen sie Deutsch?

Maybe you don’t speak German. No worries if not, but I do want to talk about one of the ways in which Germany’s education system is different from ours.

The Atlantic covers it in much greater detail, but here’s the short version: in Germany, there are apprenticeship programs called “dual training,” where students spend some of their time in the classroom, and some of their time at a real company where they get real job experience.

Not only are students paid for their on-the-job training, but they are even paid for their class time. Beat that, America!

Okay, I doubt that will be happening anytime soon. But I do think the US would benefit from a shift where college is not necessarily a given, depending on each student’s career aspirations.

What’s best for you, not what’s best for everyone

My “call to action” for this post is to ask that we start the change the conversation around education, and the way we think about it, too. I have felt there is something of a stigma around vocational training, but why is that? Everyone is different and we can’t expect everyone to follow the same career path.

Or, what about those who choose to do freelancing and other independent forms of work? Again, everyone is different. Not only is there nothing wrong with that, we should be embracing it!

 

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