Do you know what the most popular college major is? It isn’t English, or Business, or History. Only 5% of students major in Engineering and only 2% of the population goes on to become Doctors. No, 90% of college students are majoring in “I Hope I Graduate and Somehow Everything Works Out”.
Others are majoring in “I Hate School, I’m Learning Nothing, But If I Don’t Get My Degree My Parents Will Kill Me.” There’s also “I’m Finding Myself, Partying, and All It’s Costing Me Is a Debt That Will Crush Me for the Rest of My Life.” That’s the reality. But I don’t have to tell you that. If you’re reading this book, you’re likely one of the millions of teenagers or twentysomethings who is exercising more maturity and rational judgment than their Parents. You’re actually questioning if you should go to college.
For almost 12 years, you’ve been told what to read, what to do, and what to think. You’ve been beaten into submission with this concept: “Without college, you don’t have a future. It’s necessary for success, for a good life, a rite of passage, and without it you’ll end up a hollow waste of a human sucking dried cranberries off the bottom of a Mexican dumpster. Babies will cry at your very sight and women will shriek in horror as you walk by.” Well that last part was from “The Princess Bride”, but you get the point.
But now, after all this time, something is stirring inside of you. A voice questioning this dogma you’ve been fed since you were in diapers. Maybe it is terror at the thought of starting your adult life shackled to the kind of debt that, historically, only gambling addicts incurred. Perhaps it’s being smart enough to know that you don’t yet know what you want to do with your life. Maybe you’re tired of sitting in a classroom. And maybe it’s a desire to put together your own future.
You want answers. You want clarity, a clear idea of how life works and what to do. You want the freedom to think for yourself and the power to pursue that, whatever it may be.
The problem is, no adult you’ve ever met has told you the truth. You aren’t even allowed to question this belief or discuss it. If you try and have a candid and mature conversation with your Parents or Teachers about the value or necessity of college, you are berated, yelled at, pressured, and condescended to.
It’s a place of fear, constraint, pressure, stress, and misery. The people who are supposed to be guiding you have pushed you into a corner and are sitting on your chest. They call this an “Education.”
I remember advising a 17 year old in New Hampshire, sharing facts and realities from the working world about the modern reality of life for college graduates. She attempted to engage her Father in a conversation about the topic.
Her Father had a degree, and made less money than her Mother, who did not have a degree. But both Parents were pressuring her to go to a private University, even though they’d saved nothing for her Education. The Father was insistent that his daughter become mired in debt to get something that, by his own admission, is “useless”. I talked to her on Skype and explained the hellscape her life was going to be like after taking out nearly $80,000 in student loans. She changed her course and avoided that level of staggering indebtedness.
I thought, “How is it on me, a random dude on the internet, to be speaking sensibly to young people about their futures while their Parents behave like Crack Addicts?”
It’s quite, as they French say, “Messed up.”