Columnist explains why it’s OK if college isn’t the right fit for everyone

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Mary Ross and Mary Ross

In this day, there is so much pressure on high school students to continue their education at a college or university. I know I felt it when I was a senior. This pressure results in people going to a college or university when they aren’t necessarily meant for it. In some cases, this pressure to receive a post-secondary education when it’s not necessarily right for a person results in them dropping out or failing school entirely. In the last week, I’ve heard from a couple of my friends about kids I went to high school with dropping out or failing college because it wasn’t right for them.

These kids, and probably many more students receiving post-secondary educations, feel the pressure to do so because there is a stigma around not having a college degree.

However, there is NOTHING wrong with not having a degree. There is NOTHING wrong with going for a semester or a couple semesters and realizing that college is not for a person. There is NOTHING wrong with deciding a post-secondary education isn’t right.

I mean, my entire senior year of high school, I didn’t want to go to college. I didn’t think college was right for me. My plan was to save as much money as I could, join the Peace Corps fresh out of high school and travel the world. Obviously, I changed my mind. But that doesn’t change the fact I didn’t think college was it for me.

I didn’t want to have insane amounts of debt. I didn’t want to be in such a high-stress environment. I didn’t want to run on coffee constantly. I didn’t want to do a ton of school work.

But I felt the pressure to continue school. It was expected I go to school. It was expected I get a degree. It was expected I excel in school and after school; it’s expected I excel in my career. But those expectations came from others.

My expectations for myself ultimately have become to continually push myself to be better and be as happy as possible with my life in the process. I have disregarded what other people expect of me, unless disregard for their expectations inhibits my ability to achieve mine.

My expectations are why I ultimately decided to attend college. I’m going to get a degree that allows me to see the world in many different lights as to be a better person and citizen. And I’m going to get a degree that allows me to do the one thing I love to do more than anything – write.

Despite my story turning from thinking college isn’t for me to deciding to attend college, the point remains that college isn’t for everyone. And that’s okay.

There are so many other options out there besides a post-secondary education. People can join the workforce, enlist in the military, take some time off the travel the world, join the Peace Corp, go to a trade school and much more.

There is no shame in deciding college isn’t the right fit. There is no shame in doing a 180 degree turn in life to do something completely different. The happiest life stems from knowing what is right for you and going and getting that life.