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The Independent

Stop and Think: A student’s take on jumping straight into college after high school

Spencer Jones, writer

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College isn’t for everyone, though there are statistics that show people with a higher education are more likely to generate more revenue over their lifetime. Being someone that’s on the tail end of completing their secondary education, I have regretted most of it.

Coming out of high school in 2009 as the class president and ranked in the top 10 from an academic level, I wasn’t ecstatic about going to college.

Most of my teachers in the Chicago Public School system couldn’t keep my attention with the subpar and patronizing curriculum they presented.  I’ve always been a person that believed an education isn’t everything. After my high school graduation, I was prepared to work so I traveled and lived in different states. I lived as frugal as possible so I could save money while seeing the country until I knew where I wanted to take my life.

Two of the main issues I see with jumping straight into college is wasting time and money not knowing what you want to study.  

I’ve had classmates that were excited to go away for college but were forced to come back home after a few semesters because of the cost of living in a dorm and lack of state funding. I didn’t want that and I accepted that fate beforehand.

I, like most of my classmates, lived in poverty and the idea of putting money to the side for college wasn’t my reality. To add to the lack of financial security, we were unprepared and uninformed on how to be ready for the college curriculum. Something else that added to this equation was the fact that most of us were going to be the first person in our households to receive a college education, causes us to fail in most cases.

I didn’t want to fail.

I researched and spoke with everyone that I could before enrolling in college. At the age of 21, three years after graduating from high-school, I enrolled into a community college to save money on general education classes.

While at the two-year school, I kept in contact with the two universities I was considering attending once my associate’s degree was obtained. At the same time, I was building my freelance portfolio in the broadcast media field.

Waiting to graduate to start seeking experience no longer works. If you have nothing to show to employers, besides a piece of paper with a section that shows you participated in a social club you won’t stand out.

My philosophy is that you could either wait and start at the entry-level position once you graduate, or start at the entry-level position while still in school and graduate with a probable chance of getting a better position.

Don’t go to college just to say that you want and have nothing else to do. Don’t go to college if you know it’s not for you.

There are careers in this country that have great financial upside with no degree required. Don’t fall for the notion that after you finish high school, you must go straight to college. A few decades ago that might’ve been true. If you have the work ethic and drive to build a diverse financial portfolio on your own, do so first.

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