A small background to start off…
When school starts, I see numerous 9gag college memes popping up on my Facebook newsfeed on how to stay frugal living in dorms (see: 20 Times College Students Proved That They Are The Smartest People). Scrolling through these pictures definitely bring back the memories when I was living on campus! But now that I come to think of it, even though these pictures are just for laughs, there is no doubt that this has been a huge trouble every college students (including myself) has gone through.
Now, I’ve never done much research on how much tuition costs 10, 20, or even 30 years ago (but I firmly believe it is much more affordable than today, according to my third year stats professor). But nevertheless, my tuition costed me at least $25,000 for a B. Sc degree in 2014. Many of my friends who chose to pursue advanced degrees or attend prestigious schools can easily double, if not, triple the amount of what I paid for.
Before I started university, mom said that she would pay anything for me to get a degree. She would be willing to pay any amount for me to get the best education I can. In fact, I would bet that that’s what most (Asian) parents would do. Now, is it really worth it? Ten whole years (or more) to pay off the debt for a degree? Some people complain that it’s simply not right.
My thoughts after I graduate?
Back in the days (I’m talking about wayyy back), it’s easy for you to start a career right after you graduate. Offers are everywhere screaming out at you, companies are there to bid on you, and you just simply decide which company to go for (again, according to my stats prof). Well, it’s totally different now; you would need to expend a lot more extra effort to show your employers you are worth the hire. But what good is it when there are thousands and millions of you out there at the same time? Because of this huge competition, obtaining a degree won’t make you significantly much higher in demand – and that is a depressing reality. On top of that, you’re in a 10 year debt. 🙁
Well, honestly I just graduated only a year and half ago, so I have yet started my career life – and I can’t be the one representing the entire population of recent graduates. But as for myself and everyone around me, it’s safe to say that over half of the graduates aren’t even able to start their dream career.
The things I’ve learned in university has nothing to do with the school material, rather, it is more of what I learned about myself.
The four years I’ve been through university would probably be the best part of my life (you know, at this age you would’ve just gotten your full license to drink legally in Vegas). Even though I have exams to take, assignments to hand in, lectures to attend, there was no doubt that I had a lot of freedom. I enjoyed each and every moment I had – where to study, which social meetings to attend, or simply, where to go for lunch.
On the other hand, I learned a lot more about myself through those years. Other than the useless material I rarely used after I graduate, I learned that my capabilities of achieving and accomplishing things are much greater than I thought. It was also the time when I started to take on responsibilities and become self-disciplined. Believe it or not, it wasn’t until after three years of studying that I start to learn the importance of dealing with my bad habits – something that I actually couldn’t guarantee myself doing if it wasn’t from school pressure.
What I would rather do…
There are many alternatives to start off a career other than a four-year bachelor’s degree. Blue-collar (hard labor) training or a simple one or two year specialized certificates are available in the market out there. There is no huge ass student loan you’d have to pay back after four years, and I can promise that some of you will enjoy it hundred times more than a boring office job. Even for me, a girl who thought that education is the key to all successes, would now rather skip an overrated four-year bachelor’s degree education for a head start in the labor force. I simply believe that any full time work experience would be way more helpful (and less stressful) to jump start your career.
For another article that digs deep in this problem can be found here: Millennials, rise up! College is a scam — you have nothing to lose but student debt.