A Not-So-Alternative Option to College

It was my father’s dream to put me through college, on his buck. He fulfilled that dream and was able to pay lump sum for my undergraduate degree from William Paterson University of New Jersey, but I was on my own for my graduate degree. Fortunately, I took my education very seriously, earning high marks and ultimately was awarded a graduate assistant’s position, which came with a full tuition waiver for my graduate degree.

Despite being a bookworm all my life, I never lost sight of the importance of skilled labor. This is mainly because I watched my father closely as he gave my family a beautiful, comfortable life on a blue-collar wage.

These days, as I watch more and more colleges cave into leftist agendas and embrace liberal ideologies via radical professors, I wonder how much longer the average American is going to see value in a college degree.

After a few minutes visiting Campus Reform or The College Fix and reading the never-ending examples of radically-left professors using their positions of power to push their own agenda will have most people questioning why young adults even want to go to college anymore, considering the well rounded education based in critical thinking and free thought is barely visible anymore beneath piles of liberal propaganda.

But what other choice do young Americans have when high school guidance counselors are pushing the four year track on every student, regardless of whether or not a college degree is even worth it for those students’ goals?

A Not-So-Alternative Option

Colleges and universities have agreements with high schools and programs like “On Site Decision Day” to help keep enrollments high, but college really isn’t the right track for far more students than one may think.

If you asked me what I learned in college, I’d only be able to tell you that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Everything I learned about writing, communication, and media came from either high school curriculum or hands on experience at internships and earlier positions in my career. I still learn daily from those around me and develop new skills (i.e. SEO and digital writing).

If I could go back to high school knowing what I know now about what I learned, I would opt for the technical, trade-based courses surrounding digital media (production, lighting, sound engineering, etc.) instead of the art side. I had these skills already, and I missed a huge opportunity to learn new, applicable skills that are in very high demand today.

If I could go back and pick between going to a college or a trade school, knowing that left-wing professors would push their ideologies on me and waste my time, I would probably enroll in a trade school and go into a technical field.

The Track to Success Is Not Universal

When I debate the value of college today, I fall back on a very simple example of American success: the young barber in Anytown, USA. He or she knew college was not going to help them and that cosmetology school and maybe a business certificate from a local community college were the right steps to take.

Those steps could, and should, start at the high school level with work/study programs and partnerships with an established barber shop or hair salon. This would mean that at age 16, he or she is getting hands on learning, and by 18 having a license and enough hours for their own chair.

Everyone needs a haircut, and if you’re from New Jersey like me then you’re in that chair every two weeks like clockwork for a shape up, $20 a pop.

Everyone also needs doctors, lawyers and teachers, so it’s important that this isn’t taken out of context. College degrees can and do have value if the individual that earns it uses what they learned effectively in their life and career. That being said, I have yet to meet someone with a degree in social justice event organizing and expressional dance who was able to find a job that pays their bills.

However, I do have tons of friends bartending and working in family restaurants, making a killing and finding small business success, while their sociology degrees hang on the wall above the kitchen.

One friend, who opted to remain anonymous, confided in me that she thinks she should have went to chef school. She told me that she feels “slighted” that she spent five years in college for a bachelor’s degree that is all but useless. And the sad truth is that there are many people who feel the exact same way.

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