We are living in a time where young people have a louder, more influential voice than they ever have before.
There are teenagers running their own companies because they have the resources and because they have the guts.
The internet has provided us with an opportunity. We have information at our fingertips, at any time of day. We can document our work, contribute to open-source projects and be exposed to more possibilities.
This means that we can have autonomy over our life direction far sooner than any of our parents.
We do not need permission to be successful. We can create our own success.
Now, that is all pretty inspirational and motivating. But that alone does not build a solid argument to explain to opposers, why you will not be attending college. You need to create a sound argument based on solid reasoning and facts if you want to be convincing. You, also, need to be aware of how your parents’ argument can be poorly made and why so that you do not lose your footing.
Your Position: College Is dead.
1. Do not use emotion. Use a specific example.
Making a life decision is quite meaningful. Our reason for not wanting to go to college can easily sound like:
“Well, college makes me feel bored, unmotivated and sad so I don’t want to go and suffer.”
This will only make your parents think you are being immature and spoiled. Instead, give them an example of how you learned more from actively engaging in a project where you taught yourself valuable skills than you would learn from just studying material in a classroom. Show how learning by doing, trumps learning by a textbook.
2. Do not speak in circles. State a clear fact.
Sometimes we know that something is right for us, but we find it hard to explain that to someone else. We may start talking in circles:
“College is not for me, because I just don’t like college.”
That does not give your parents any convincing information. Instead, state a significant reason why college could be detrimental to your future. For example, the amount of money it costs to go to school could be used, instead, for starting up your own projects to then showcase to potential employers who are looking for those skills you just acquired.
Parent’s Position: College is the only way to succeed.
1. College is Tradition.
Parents want to ensure our security and success, so they try to convince us of their views in outdated ways.
“The only people who have been successful for the past century, are those that have gone to college.”
It is true, that many people, over the last several decades, have built financially secure, comfortable lives and it was a direct result of going to college. However, just because something is a tradition, does not mean it is the only way. Humans constantly create and innovate and change. We are entering a time of new opportunities. The tradition of college is no longer serving the same purpose. This argument is not valid for young people.
2. The Two Option Position.
Again, mostly out of love, our parents want to make sure we have a good life, so in an effort to ensure that happens they give us the authoritative two options:
“You can either go to college, or you can say goodbye to our love and support.”
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
Your parents will eventually come around once they see that you are actually succeeding in your own right, supporting yourself and being exposed to opportunities you had never thought were available to you.
Madison is a Praxis participant and a young professional. She wrote this piece based on the critical thinking exercises she completed in Module 4 of the Praxis boot camp. You can follow her work on her website, madisonpkelly.space or connect with her on Linkedin.