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Is College the New High School?

Is College the New High School?

By Laura Etheredge

As if we needed another reason to stress about college right now, this just in: a B.A. is a prerequisite to apply for even the most basic of jobs, which is to say nothing of the Olympic gymnastics required for the top-shelf job you might have in mind (no, literally, there’s a floor routine, and the Russians already hate your outfit).

But wherever you go, whatever you do, chances are good you’ll be a sad, sad mule to a serious load of student debt, meaning you (or someone who suddenly regrets loving you so much) paid for you to get a job to pay off the debt incurred by paying for school in the first place. (Something sound a little funny about this flaming death-spiral?)

There are a few simple ways to take the news: you can fight it, you can work it, or you can ignore it.

Fight it!
Does this kind of social pressure make you batpoo-crazy? Or maybe, sweet dreamer, college doesn’t feel right for you, but you still fully intend to do well in this world. You can always buck the trend: head off for a hot and heavy hands-on dose of the real world in the Peace Corps, or go to a vocational school that will deposit you directly into a practical, paying position years before your cohorts even start making a debted dime. (Yes, you may find yourself fixing pipes that are nicer than your jewelry—but so what?) Work hard and build up a business of your own, and just SEE who doesn’t envy you being your own boss by 30.

…Alternatively, you can go pure haywire and follow this guy’s lead. (Get jazzed to see how plan that goes over at home.)

If you don’t want to be suckered into paying a fortune into thin air for the right to alphabetize someone’s papers, put on your thickest thick skin (the universe haaates a genius trailblazer) and bushwhack your own path to the Successmobile.

Work it!
Alright, no big deal: you were going to go to college anyway, and this doesn’t change that. But you’re a smart cookie: if everyone is graduating with the same basic credentials, suddenly getting into college is the least of your problems—it’s getting out on top that you have to worry about.

So maybe instead of taking the first year to sleep through all your 8:30 classes because you guys ate all the brownies and then smooched till 4 AM, go for it like a soldier. Sure, no one’s there to make you do ANYTHING—and that kind of unchecked power is a siren song straight to the bottom. But knowing what you know now, namely that the world is an insanely competitive place and you need to eat everyone in your way on your way to the top (literally!), climb hard and climb fast from Day 0.

And then get ready for your M.A., cause the M.A. is the new B.A. LOL, WTF.

Ignore it!
…Or is this is just another piece of sensationalist news intended to scare us into—that’s right—more debt-inducing college? Pssht. Yes, it successfully drives you a little nuts, but not nuts enough to cut off your nose to spite your face. Every generation thinks things are worse now than they ever have been (curse you, rock ‘n’ roll!), so instead of giving in to the fear mongering, just keep a steady, authentic path—college, maybe, or maybe not; maybe some college and then some other stuff. Just do you, whatever that may be, and trust that the world will make way for your beautiful snowflake self.

What are you plans after you graduate high school? Do you view college as a necessity to get a great job, or do you think there are other, better ways to make a living and pursue your passion?

Topics: School, Life, College Advisor
Tags: college, high school, debt, pressure, college life, graduating high school, getting a job, college loans, the real world

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