Opinion: Pressure to attend college

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor

Kara Taylor is a freshman journalism major and a columnist for the

Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Young adults today receive a great deal of pressure from society, I know I definitely have. A lot is expected of us, more so than earlier generations. We are expected to achieve certain goals in this lifetime. For some people these goals are so serious they may feel like they are failing if they don’t achieve them. We receive a lot of pressure to attend college, get a degree, and make decent money.

At one point in high school I felt left behind my peers who were getting their driver’s license at 16. It may sound silly, but I felt the pressure to receive mine at 16 as well. I lived very close to high school and didn’t see the point in rushing to get my license.

Learning to be self-efficient young adults is very important. We should develop a work ethic, obtain an education and learn to drive. The only concern I have is while in the midst of achieving these goals are we fulfilling what makes us happy as individuals? For example, many students fail their first year of college because they attend right after high school. Society says “go to college right after high school,” and that simply doesn’t work for everyone. According to Educationse.com, 35 percent of students will drop out of college their freshman year. Not everyone has the discipline or desire to obtain a degree right after high school, but with all of the pressure they go anyway. I have had friends who weren’t ready and sure enough they are no longer in school at this point.

At one point I debated if going to college was for me, but then I thought about all of the sideways looks and questions I would receive. “Well, what you are going to do now, work?”, “You need a degree.”, “If you don’t go to school you won’t get a decent job.” I have heard it all, as I am sure most of us have. I made the decision to be here, I didn’t let anyone make that decision before me, not even my parents. I’m here because I love my major and school as a whole. The material and life experiences I have learned since being here are irreplaceable.

Sadly, there are some students who don’t feel that way. Family, teachers and friends have pressured them to attend college, which can take away from the experience. I have actually heard students say “I didn’t want to major in this; my mom wanted me to do this.” I want nothing more than to make my parents happy, but majoring in something you have no interest in is very hard.

I was asked to speak to a group of seniors from a program called Project Grad in my hometown, and I willingly told them what I thought was the truth. If you are not ready, take time off to think about what you want. Wasting your time and money is not wise. We all know loans have to be paid back whether we receive a degree or not.

We are young, with a lot of life to live, do what makes you happy. Take time out to travel, get involved in hobbies or simply take a break. It may actually benefit you in the long run.