Should You Go To College?
I used to spend a lot of time hanging out in Facebook groups for digital entrepreneurs. Some of those groups have thousands or even millions of members from around the world. I met my ex-fiance in one of those groups. I’ve made online friends in them who I still talk to somewhat regularly.
And one common theme that I’ve noticed in the digital entrepreneurship community is this: “college is a scam.”
First of all, I disagree. But I’ll get to that later.
There’s this underlying theme in the digital entrepreneurship community that the best path to success is to basically say “fuck the school system” and don’t ever work a job because you can’t go “all in” with your business if you’re busy with school or work. Plus school supposedly “doesn’t teach you anything useful” anyway and student loans will bite you in the ass.
High school dropouts are treated like rockstars and people with college degrees are almost viewed as less credible than those without, regardless of what their degree is in. It’s a weird contrast to the traditional path to success that many of us were taught by our parents. I think it’s because many digital entrepreneurs take a lot of pride in rebelling against the status quo.
Even though the real truth is, there are countless ways to become successful in life and there’s no one-size-fits-all formula that works best for everyone. College may actually be a great fit for you, or it may not.
But what do YOU want to do?
If you’re debating whether you should go to college or not, there’s really only one simple way to answer that question.
Do you want to go to college? Then yes, you should go.
Do you not want to go to college? Then no, you shouldn’t go.
When I was in high school, I didn’t want to go to college initially. My dream was to move to Los Angeles and become a model and Hollywood actress. But I ended up deciding last-minute to go to one of the local state universities in my home state. I graduated four and a half years later with a degree in multimedia journalism.
Some people might argue that I wasted away those years and I’d maybe be a celebrity by now had I skipped college, but I have zero regrets. I loved my major and I’m really grateful I got to have the classic American college experience, which involved being an editor for my campus newspaper and going to a lot of frat parties.
At the time though, it had been drilled into my head by society that going to college is the only way to be successful. And I know now that that’s not true.
But on the other hand, those digital entrepreneurship Facebook groups have quite a few teenagers in them, and the common advice given to them by adult group members is that they should skip college and instead focus on growing their businesses.
Or more specifically, that they just shouldn’t bother going to business school. According to them, college is only useful if your goal is to be a doctor or lawyer, but it’s useless if you want to be anything else.
Therefore, they would consider my journalism degree to be useless, since it’s in the liberal arts category. But studying journalism taught me how to write better, which definitely helps me here on Medium. I’m not sure if I’d be as competent of a writer otherwise.
And I was still able to move to LA after college and become a model and social influencer. So it’s not like I really gave up anything anyway.
If you were to ask me whether or not you should go to college, I would simply ask: do you want to go? Yes or no?
But make that decision based on what YOU want. Don’t just say yes because your parents want you to go. And don’t just say no because that business “mentor” you met on Facebook told you not to go.
Unless your career goals require specific training or certification, there’s really no right or wrong answer.
We’ve all heard the stories about college grads working at Starbucks because they can’t find jobs in their field, and high school dropouts becoming millionaire business owners. Although I’ve noticed that the former seems to be more prevalent whenever the economy’s bad and the latter seems to be more of the exception than the rule.
Even in those digital entrepreneur Facebook groups, as much as they love to hate on college there, plenty of successful business owners do have degrees. One of the major benefits of going to college is the networking opportunities, which can be very helpful in the business world. Although due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the future of that benefit is uncertain.
That being said though, I do feel like the concept of a college degree being a requirement for success in life is becoming less and less of a thing. Student loans have gotten out of control in recent years and more people are discovering the benefits of trade schools, plus there’s tons of ways to learn new skills online now through both free content and paid courses.
So choose the option that feels right for you. Go to college if you want to, or don’t go if you don’t want to. Listen to your heart, not other people’s noise.
Bonus tip: If you do decide to go to college, pick a major that you enjoy, not just whatever you think will make you the most money. People might give you shit for it, but you’ll be happier in the long run.