These days, people just expect every high school graduate to follow the exact same pattern: go to college, get good grades, graduate, and get a good paying job with benefits where you’ll stay until you retire. Well, I’m here to tell you that that plan is stupid. Think about it logically: the average American changes jobs at least once every 2.5 years. No, I’m not going to cite that, look it up. Last time I read a study on that particular statistic was over two years ago, and considering recent conditions, I doubt that the number has gone up…
Either way, the whole “company will take care of you” plan is stupid and shallow. The company will not take care of you. There’s no such thing as a pension plan anymore in the private sector. I know what you’re saying, what about government work? Well, think about this from an economic stand-point: would you rest your hopes of a happy and care-free retirement on a company that is billions of dollars in debt and has posted record losses every year for almost the past decade?
I know I wouldn’t.
So, for all you soon-to-be high school grads out there, the world can be a scary place to be going in to. Don’t worry, I have some advice that will make things much simpler for you. We’ll discuss college, “real” life, and the real point of it all: joy. Let’s begin.
College these days is generally viewed as simply a way to increase your income. Let me advise you against thinking this way. It’s a terrible way to view college. College should be something you do to learn and grow as a person, not to get a worthless piece of paper. Think about it this way: the average college graduate makes around fifty thousand dollars a year. The average college graduate owes at least thirty thousand dollars to somebody (most probably don’t even know who), that they will always legally be obligated to pay back, regardless of financial situation. This is the one type of loan that will never be wiped due to bankruptcy.
Some college grads end up with over a hundred thousand dollars in student loans, and usually even this only makes them a little under a hundred thousand dollars a year. If you take into account the fact that they’ll be only bringing home around fifty thousand a year, and of that, a large chunk will be going to pay back the loan, they’re no better off than they were before college.
That is if they went to increase their income. That is a terrible paradigm, but there’s a different one to consider. Perhaps instead of going for the money, they went to college for the learning experience. To see what interested them, and to get a broad understanding of as many subjects as is possible. From then on, they would always carry these experiences with them. And that is priceless. This also decreases the likely-hood that the person would take out ridiculously large loans in order to pay for classes that they’re not ever going to want to remember being in, in order to do something for the next ten years that they never wanted to do to begin with.
I think you see my point. Go to broaden your horizons, not to fatten your wallet.
The illusion of a “real” life has always amused me. Getting a “real” job, and paying for a house you can’t afford, a car you can’t afford and a family you rarely see is simply not appealing to me. Who says that you have to follow this path? What is the end result? Some respect from your peers for folding in to peer pressure, rather than the feeling of exhilaration as you pursued your dreams and deepest desires? Not worth it.
Joy is the most important aspect of life. If there is no joy in what you do, don’t do it. Why would you want to do something that feels terrible? Why would you get up every day to go somewhere you don’t want to go, do something you don’t want to do, with people you don’t want to be with, if there was an alternative? Well, there is. Just, do what makes you joyful. It doesn’t matter that it’s not acceptable according to modern society to be a vagabond. Just do it. Want to be an astronaut? Keep going. There’s no reason to give up on that just because it’s “unrealistic”.
Just remember to pursue your joy, don’t fall for the illusion of “real” life, and to view college as a chance to expand your being, rather than narrow your choices, and you’ll be much happier than most people in our backward country. Most important of these is joy. Always keep joy in your life, and you’ll do well.