“…But you see, I have, let’s say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards.” — The Fountainhead
So you’re thinking about attending college?
Have you ever asked yourself your reasons for going?
Most young people don’t ask themselves this — I didn’t — but I think if more people did, they might find some surprising answers to the question. They might find that the four years, the debt, even the classroom setting, isn’t the best path for them. They might find that they can achieve their goals elsewhere.
Now, I’m not categorically against college, but I do believe that more young people should look at higher education within the context of their own lives, not as some foggy abstract that they go to, and accumulate debt to do so, just because everyone else is doing it.
Life is too short to live passively!
Think. Be an active participant in your education. Determine what makes you come alive, and decide for yourself what you should do.
It’s hard! But it’s a lot better than letting others answer those questions for you.
Here are 6 questions you can ask yourself to help you better determine what you should when evaluating the next steps to take for your education:
- What are my goals and how will a degree help me achieve them?
- Are the things I want out of college things that can be gotten elsewhere for better and/or cheaper?
- How might 4 years and debt limit my ability to achieve those goals in the future?
- What is the worst that could happen if I took a year off to decide?
- Do I really want to attend college or is it just something I’m told I have to do?
- What path will make me happiest?
If you answer these questions honestly and see that college is the best path for you, great! Go to college. But if your answers aren’t certain, or you know you can definitely get more for yourself following a different path, then at the very least, take a year to try something different. Don’t rush to commit yourself to something you aren’t certain about, especially if you have to take out loans to do it.