For years upon years, we have dreamed of what life holds for us after college. Many of us envision lots of money and job opportunities. After you finish your undergraduate degree and are ready to take on the world, you might find yourself asking this question: “Was all of this really worth it?” I know I am asking myself that, and you should too. Our parents and mentors often tell us that a college degree is the “ticket” to a happy and successful life. Part of being a young man or woman is listening and believing your elders, right? Well, now hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt from student loans, I can’t help but laugh at that statement now. The “ticket” to life?
In an article written by Claire Bradley with Investopedia.com, she pointed out that 80% of millionaires in the United States of America have a college degree, but get this. Of that 80%, 40% are self-employed or own their own business (degree is not required). So, that cuts it to 40/40. Where’s the other 20%, you may ask? They never even darkened the door of a college classroom. In many undergrads’ frame of thinking, college is a perfect place to meet people and create connections. That is a solid argument, for sure. Truth be told; personally, I don’t think meeting people costs 100k dollars in tuition to shake some hands and create a conversation. That is totally 100% free of charge. We live in a world now where meeting people has never been easier; human interaction is as easy as it’s ever been before, and you can thank social media for a lot of that.
You have to scratch your head when you realize that college graduates make up 40% of the unemployment pool, and 46% of college graduates work jobs that don’t even require a degree. When former President Barack Obama was in office, he suggested that people can “earn more money” learning trade “than they might with an art history degree.” He was right. If you go to college, make certain that you’re making a lucrative investment and not just getting a piece of paper to hang on your wall in your bedroom to give yourself a pat on the back saying “I did it!” I know plenty of people who never finished high school and are making six figures annually. Is college really an investment? Is it just for the experience? What is it that reaps the reward for four years of college? For a quick example, Mary Kate Baumann’s undergraduate education cost her $200,000 at the University of Missouri. Her starting salary with her first job? $28,000. She will not break even financially until she is about 37 years old. Just ponder on that for a moment. Are you asking yourself that question yet? Was all of this really worth it? I bet you are.
All in all, as a college student myself at a Private institution, I have come to find out just one thing. I am in way too deep to turn back now. It would be like running in a marathon, pouring sweat and aching in pain, but not crossing that finish line. There are tons of college graduates that regret their decision when it is simply far too late. People who have their degrees hanging in their office, at a job they hate, still paying off their student loans. These people exist. It’s not a rarity of any form. So, I guess it leaves myself asking you one more question: If you were an 18-year-old high school graduate in 2017, would you still go to college?