Opinion: Is college worth it?

Matthew Bertovich

Matthew Bertovich

Matthew Bertovich is a junior psychology major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact Matthew Bertovich at [email protected].

Your parents, school counselors and the media all say that making the choice to go to college is the most important decision you will make in your entire life. But many who attend college change majors multiple times before finally dropping out. Many more will graduate but end up working in an unrelated field. So is college really worth it?

College is attended for a variety of different reasons. Some students who aren’t sure about their future go to college for the “experience.” If you don’t move out of the house and spend thousands of dollars on room, board and textbooks, then you’ll certainly miss out on something fulfilling and life-changing.

While I appreciate that college can be a transition into independence, and that these experiences can prepare you for real world situations, is college really just a four-year day care center so parents can finally get their children out of the house, cooking their own food and doing their own laundry?

Simply going to college for the “experience” cannot be worth an average of $24,000 a year. In addition to that money, you’re giving up two, three, four or more years of your life. That time is priceless, so don’t use it to forestall actually having to do something and live in the real world.

Some students go because they need the special education for their dream job. Since there is no other way to enter the fields of science, medicine, engineering, etc. without a degree from some respectable institution, college is their only option. But unfortunately for many other graduates, a degree in their field isn’t quite as useful. Most employers prefer professional experience, something most lack after graduation. So students get stuck looking for entry-level jobs that simply aren’t available to them.

Why do these young men and women decide to go to college? The sad truth is that many students choose to go to college because they think it’s their only “secure” route to success (which has somehow become the same word as happiness, but the two aren’t one in the same). I respect these individuals for studying a field they find interesting while they are in college, instead of studying a field that they find practical. But they’re forced into higher education because they fear they will fail some expectation, or disappoint a loved one.

College, to many people, has become nothing more than job training. American pragmatism has clashed with intellectual thought, but it doesn’t need to, and certainly never used to. Since when is the practical option necessarily the correct one? College has become a security blanket for so many people, and for some it’s a wet, cold and lethal blanket for dreams.

The point I’m trying to make is to think about where you are. There are a lot of people going to college that shouldn’t be: people who have no idea what they want to do; people who are only going to satisfy some sort of social contract. For these people, the debt and effort incurred during college is probably not worth the possible gain at the end. Don’t rely on college for happiness; there are other ways to obtain it.