For or against higher forms of education
Thinking back, I remember being asked to make a project in grade eight that would explain the steps I would need to take to reach my goal of becoming my future self. In high school I was continually asked to plan my future education – after all, education was sold to be my only way to becoming successful in life, or so I was led to believe by teachers and guidance counselors. If you had the grades to get into university it was a silly question to ponder it seemed – everyone expected that to be done – being young, it seemed effortless to follow. The big decision after all wasn’t going to university, but choosing which one was most desirable to go to.
Over the years, my mind changed a few different times, but never did I question going to university – my grades where high enough, why would I think of doing anything else? The thing is, when you are in high school, you don’t completely understand what you want, or what university is even all about – it isn’t the next step, it’s the next step of many. The shock that is cast on many soon to be graduate faces is not disconcerting – it’s typical. Most people who enroll in university think that they will be well-equipped and ready to jump into whatever profession they set out to when beginning their university career, but then recognize – wait, I’m not qualified. What’s next? How long is this going to take? Did I ever really want this in the first place?
There is and has been a lot of debate on whether university is worth it anymore – that an undergraduate degree is the new high school diploma – and I don’t argue this. This may be a hard pill to swallow – being thousands of dollars in debt – but it’s true. Do I regret getting an undergraduate degree? No. Do I wish I had done something else? No. Do I think I will be able to get the perfect job with my undergraduate degree alone? No. Am I ok with all of this? Absolutely.
It is at this time, that we all need to recognize that is isn’t the degree that is going to get the job, it’s the persistence, the effort, the desire and passion to do well for ourselves, the ability to get creative and become adaptable, to take on new challenges and excel in ways we never thought possible. Having an undergraduate degree may not mean what it used to, but that doesn’t mean that isn’t of great value. The skills learned being an undergraduate student are irreplaceable. If studying and expanding your mind to look at things in a different light seems attractive to you, then you are in the right place. It alone may not qualify you for a job that you desire, but it will help shape you into the person you want to become, or reinforce who you already are.
The financial burden that comes along with an undergraduate degree is substantial – and it may set you back for longer than you had planned but that does not mean that what is gained while here is not of value. It is a different kind of value – something you can never lose. Having a substantial amount of student debt to pay back does sometimes feel overwhelming and daunting – but the amount of knowledge and experience gained – in work and in life – is irreplaceable.
Looking back, would I have made different choices here and there? Possibly, but I know each one made me who I am today. Would I have decided against university? Never. The constant debate regarding whether or not undergraduate degrees are useful or a waste of time is tiring, it comes down to the person. If getting an undergraduate degree is something you have always wanted – I think it is necessary that you follow that desire. If you are getting a degree solely to fulfill the desires of someone else – then I think it is time to reevaluate what you are choosing to do, because those four plus years of your life (and thousands of dollars) are things you can’t get back.