Just because I blog about simple living, it doesn’t mean I’m a simple Simon. Living simple should not exclude an education. A dorm room is good place to learn to live simple, too. If you don’t get an education while you’re young, you might regret it later. I did.
Lately, I’ve heard a lot of arguments from younger people for skipping college. It goes something like this: “College is too expensive, and besides I can get a good education online because we have so much knowledge at our fingertips.” They usually have dreams of being online entrepreneurs or rock and roll stars.
No College, No Money
Excuse me, but this idea that we can get a good education online is stupid. Sure, we do have access to information, more than ever before. But a college education is created and organized in a way that gets you the specialized knowledge you need for a solid career.
I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased on this topic. After all, I teach communication courses at a community college. But if it weren’t for my own college education, I’d likely never be where I am today.
My journey wasn’t easy. I learned the hard way and started later in life. That’s right, I was one of those guys who was going to do it myself. I was going to be a professional musician. If I’d only known then what I know now.
Why You Should Get A Higher Education
- Your chances of making it big are very slim: We all hear the stories about people who don’t go to college and wind up in high positions. Richard Branson and Bill Gates come to mind. But for every one who makes it to that level without a college degree, there are probably 100,000 who don’t. I planned on being a big-time songwriter when I got out of high school. I even went to Nashville and gave it a shot. The competition was fierce and my chops needed improving. I wound up back home without a pot to piss in.
- You don’t want to flip burgers or work at a mini-mart: While I wrote songs and drank beer by day, I worked flipping burgers and cashiering at a mini-mart by night. Now, I have respect for people who do that kind of work. They should probably all get a raise. But most people don’t respect burger-flippers and cashiers. That’s one reason they’re such crappy jobs. I wound up at dead-end jobs until I was 30 years old. And that’s likely where you’ll wind up without a higher eduction or some sort of professional training.
- You’ll make more money over a lifetime: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, your lifetime earnings increase with your level of degree. Your chance of being unemployed gets lower with a higher degree. When you go to college, you can get more than a job. You can gain a career. You can do something you love. You’ll likely get health and retirement benefits. As a college instructor I got all that and more.
- You’ll gain respect: If you skip college, you might get lucky and become the CEO of an international airline. Then you might get some respect. Realistically, without college you might be the cable guy. As a teacher, I’ve gained respect in my community. Plus, teaching others a skill like public speaking is rewarding in itself. I get to help people conquer their fears. How cool is that?
- You’ll have the tools to go solo: Getting a college education gave me the tools I need to become an entrepreneur. I learned how to communicate. I worked in radio and learned to overcome my fear of public speaking. I worked on school newspapers and learned how to write. I wrote a master’s thesis and learned how to persevere. I worked part-time while I went to school and learned the value of hard work. College helped teach me what it takes to make it. It can do the same for you.
The Final Word
So the next time someone tells you they’d be better off to skip college and join the race to become an online success, remind them of this: Only 12% of all bloggers make more than $100 per month. And if thats not enough, you can make more money, you guessed it… flipping burgers.
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