When students graduate from high school, they’re often filled with hope and optimism for the future. They imagine the fulfilling careers they will have, the nice home they will live in, and the freedom to travel and pursue meaningful hobbies in their adult years.
Unfortunately, as most young adults begin to learn, this rarely is the case. Perhaps one of the most obvious reasons for this harsh reality check is college itself.
High school graduates likely spent the last year or two of high school preparing for college. They studied relentlessly to improve their grades, crammed for standardized tests, exhausted themselves pursuing extracurricular activities that would look good on paper, stayed up late applying to colleges before deadlines, toured schools, and painstakingly decided where they would spend the next four years.
And for what? Tens of thousands of dollars of student loans? Diminishing job prospects? The realization that what you’ve been studying you’re actually not passionate about?
Four years later, they’ll graduate from college shackled to debt they cannot pay off, deciding to downgrade their dreams to whatever they can afford. They dream career quickly became whatever job they can find; that dream house became whatever apartment they can afford; fulfilling hobbies turned into coming home from work exhausted and stressed.
This graduation season, spare the 18-year-old in your life some stress. Don’t push them to attend college unless it’s absolutely mandatory for their dream field (doctor, lawyer, etc.) Rather than spend four years and endless money at college, spend that time and effort getting hands-on experience. Learn the skills you need, build practice, shake hands, meet people. In four years, you’ll be better off than your peers.
Avoid the Optimism to Disappointment pipeline. Avoid college, if you can.