14 Years and Counting: What being in college for the majority of my adult life has taught me

Number 1: College is an institution whose parasitic nature only becomes symbiotic depending on three factors.

  • Opportunities which allow for one's financial security.

  • Access to available resources exist without major barriers.

  • Having a high level of initiative.

Number 2: College offers predatory loans.

Students loans are loans that are approved even if you prove you cannot pay it back. In every other situation, out in the real world, your debt to income ratio is a heavily weighted indicator of whether you will be approved for a loan. Student loans, however, are based on need, which implies that the requested amount will not be able to be paid back, especially if the loan has a long term and acrues interest.

Number 3: The purpose of college is not necessarily to see you reach your goals and succeed academically, it is to prepare you to go into the workforce...whether you've been working already or not.

If you began working at age 16 like I did, you are no stranger to work culture by the time you get to college. This information doesn't matter because college is designed to prepare you for a lifetime of work. The institution becomes your 'employer', and introduces you to one of the most toxic of environments, the education system. Here you learn grades are meaningless, projects really just teach you how to work with people, and introduce you to our capitalist soceity and responsiblities of adulthood.

Number 4: Tests mainly test how well you test.

I test well in writing, English and history and not so well in math. This information had no barring on me obtaining my degrees but I understood they were required for a passing grade. What was important is regardless of my grade, I obtained a level of proficiency and confidence that the knowledge I'd obtained would be able to translate to when I entered the career I was going to school for.

Number 5: More school doesn't equal more career options or better paying jobs.

While better options and pay can be obtained from the years you dedicate to furthering your education, this isn't intrinsically true. There are many career options that do not require higher education and there are some career options which require higher education that are not sustainable for one's financial goals. This often leads to graduates burning out or going into a different industry.