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I graduate high school in just a few weeks, so naturally I’ve been thinking about college. Mainly, about how it seems like a giant waste of time. My two older siblings have graduated from good universities already, but now they can’t find jobs and are up to their eyeballs in debt. I’ve been reading a lot about how college is just a giant scam — perhaps best encapsulated by this great parody video — just the next bubble that’s going to burst when we all realize the cost has well outpaced the value. I’m thinking about breaking my parents hearts by not going. Is college worth it?
— Higher Learning
Dear Higher Learning,
When I think back to all my school years now, it all seems so bizarre. School is weird. College seems even weirder. It’s like a job, where your main work is studying, but instead of getting paid for the work you do, you have to pay to do the work. Of course, the idea is that you gain wisdom and ability that far outweigh the cost of attending, but as you mentioned, sometimes what was gained doesn’t necessarily equal greater opportunity or income.
I never went to college myself. I enjoyed almost all of my early school years, but by the time I hit high school it seemed like more of my life interests were outside of the school curriculum, and the two schedules couldn’t coexist. By my junior year, I was determined to get out of school as quickly as possible, so I began taking a bunch of extra credit classes to graduate early. Most of my friends were older and already out of high school at that point, so most of my social life didn’t revolve around school. And I was doing lots of music and paintings and sculptures and stuff which school just took time away from working on. Again, it wasn’t that I didn’t like high school, I just liked doing other things more.