Is College Worth The Effort?
"College has been a total waste of your time and money!"
Imagine telling that to a student who just finished four years of hard, grueling, expensive work; or, even worse, a parent who paid for their child to finish that same grueling work. But, in some ways, that statement can’t be any further from the truth. College can prepare a student for life in so many more ways than for a career. However, in the way that college is supposed to prepare soon-to-be-productive students, that statement could be right on. As a student myself, I’ve found college to be a little bit of both. I often find myself asking, "How will this help me later in life?" But, then again, college gives me more control over my life and where I want it to go. In trying to figure out what exactly made college like this, and whether the way I felt was felt by others as well, I interviewed an Anthropology teacher at Las Positas College, Mr. Toby Coles, and I examined an essay by Caroline Bird called College is a Waste of Time and Money. The two sources offered interesting views from both side of the spectrum.
While interviewing Mr. Coles, I found I tended to agree with him on several of his points. Mr. Coles summed up himself, and how I feel, quite simply: "College gives you options." Unlike high school, you’re not required to fulfill a certain number of units in one year. If you have other plans for your life, you can accommodate those while going to school. But, that applies not only while you’re in college, but also when you get out of college. "Life’s about choices," Mr. Coles continued, "it’s about having choices. You come to critical points in your life where decisions have to be made, hopefully you have some options...[A college education] puts you less in a situation of life dictating you." While I tend to agree with this position, Caroline Bird didn’t.
In her essay, College is a Waste of Time and Money, Caroline Bird examines how college has been viewed for so long as the best place to send high school grads no matter whether they actually want to go or not. She says in her article, "...we fool ourselves into believing that we are sending [students to college] for their own best interests, and that it’s good for them, like spinach. Some, of course, learn to like it, but most wind up preferring green peas." I see her point that college sometimes seems like the only option that’s not the Army for high school grads. If I had decided to not go to college for a semester or two right after high school so I could save up some money, I know...