The truth about college.
Question 1: Is college needed to become successful?
Question 2: Is college a good thing?
This is an article published about college from someone who’s never actually been to college. A lot of this is my personal opinion based on what I’ve seen and learned. Similar to most my articles.
Technically I have been to college. In 2015, I went to the Los Angeles Film School for 3 months. Art School is much different than regular college, but they do follow similar principles.
Most art schools are much more expensive. The school I went to was about 1800$ a month. At the time I was able to pay for it out of my own pocket. If you do the math that’s about $5,400 for only 3 months of schooling. We can surely assume at least $600 was spent on different expenses as well. For someone paying out of their pocket, if you ask me if it was worth it I’m assuming you already know my answer.
“ F%CK NO ”
The first class was an absolute joke. It was about marketing and developing your brand (from what I remember). High school level projects like building a slideshow about our passions, and presenting it to the classroom. Additionally, creating a LinkedIn profile and a group video about what creativity means to us. Honestly a disaster and waste of precious time & money.
The second class was at least a little more practical. We practiced camera and lighting techniques and learned how to analyze a film. We also learned how a green screen works and functions. One of the projects I remember doing was finding an image from a movie and recreating it in real life. I did learn a lot of new things in this class, but nothing I couldn’t figure out without a few clicks of a mouse on a site we call YouTube. Still not worth $1800.
The third class, ah. Finally… the editing class. My passion, my joy. Taking a combination of clips and creating a masterpiece from the heart. I learned how to use the program called Avid, which was the movie standard at the time. The entire month was laid out for people who have never touched an editing program, and for some of the students, a computer. It was hopscotch aside from the unusual complexity of the program avid. What we were doing was pure cake. I did enjoy the class because I am a video editing geek at heart. Did I learn something? yes, not much though. We took clips from a shoot with two actors talking about beef. We were instructed to cut the clips at the appropriate spots and make multiple drafts. It was centered around the organization and proper way of editing for movies. (no creativity required). The second project was to group up with individuals and create a one-day Noir style short film. Finally, something I could put my individual creativity in. My group partners, don’t even let me begin. They doubted my ability to achieve the look we were aiming for nearly 100 times. Like I don’t know how to add a black and white filter and edit to a suspenseful song, wonderful.
After the 3 months, I realized that there was nothing I could learn here that isn’t widely available to me on the internet. Of course, I wouldn’t be able to receive hands-on training like I did at the film school. I still don’t believe it was worth the astounding $1800 a month. I could never spend the money it would take to get a film degree by the slight chance I may be able to get a job with it. For that amount of money, I needed more than just a slight chance. Someone with no experience in camera work, grip work, audio, filming techniques, and editing techniques is more likely to get a job in the industry if they have a family member in the union. In reality, it’s all about connections.
Back to question number 1.
From the very beginning of our lives we are told from our parents, teachers, and counselors that if we aim to become successful, we must go to college. Sometimes even being told that if we don’t go, we are guaranteed to work an entry level job our entire lives.
“ You’ll end up in McDonalds or Burger King ”
Salary by education level — Varies by type of degree. Information provided by: https://smartasset.com/retirement/the-average-salary-by-education-level
Less than a high school degree:
Weekly: $493 Yearly: $25,636
High school diploma:
Weekly: $678 Yearly: $35,256
Weekly: $798 Yearly: $41,496
Weekly: $1,137 Yearly: $59,124
Weekly: $1,341 Yearly: $69,732
Weekly: $1,623 Yearly: $84,396
As you can see the better education you receive, the higher amount of earnings. There’s no doubting that. The problem is while most jobs require let’s say an associate’s degree, a lot of the people applying will most likely have a better degree. It becomes this constant cycle of needing more school to get the job you thought you were qualified for in the first place. When you get an associate’s you’ll find yourself having trouble to get a job because there are a hundred others also applying, those people having a bachelor’s. Who are the employers going to choose? I believe this is why we see so many individuals with years worth of schooling having trouble finding a job equated to their degree.
There’s no question that $84,000 a year is a lot of money. In this day & era, there are people under the age of 18 that earn that amount in much less than a year. There isn’t a substantial amount but there’s definitely a plethora of kids and young adults that make almost double that per year, with no schooling whatsoever.
The average student takes 8.2 years to slog through a PhD program and is 33 years old before earning that top diploma. By that age, most Americans with mere bachelor’s degree are well into establishing themselves professionally.
-Lyn O’ Shaughnessy “ 12 Reasons not to get a PhD ” (CBS news)
We can consider that 8 years realistically could be more like 10 to 11 years. If you factor in that some people may not being doing college full time and some may take breaks every couple semester, 10 years at least sounds a bit more accurate.
So back to the question, is college required to become successful?
Yes and No.
There’s no question that the better degree you have, the more likely you are to find a job and earn more per year. Will you be rich? No, not necessarily.
It doesn’t give much support for the image of self-taught entrepreneurs, relying on their own wit and wisdom rather than higher education. — Sean Coughlan (BBC news)
We’re in the generation where the people that make the most money are the ones who build companies from the bottom up. Self-made entrepreneurs. Those who spend the years they would in school discovering how to turn their passion into a full-blown business. Those are the individuals that are likely to make 80 thousand dollars in much less than a year. You’ll find that most of them will tell you straightforward that while they learned a lot in college, 95% of it didn’t teach them what they needed to know to start a successful business.
If I was an entrepreneur looking to hire someone into my business, I’d rather hire someone with extensive skills in my field, rather than someone with a paper that shows they were able to follow the rules.
If you enjoy working a 9–5 job and want nothing more than absolute certainty that you’ll make a decent amount in the future, go to college.
Back to question number 2, is college a good thing?
I’m pretty sure most people would agree with me here. I believe college is a good thing regardless of what I stated above. It depends on your circumstances and the type of person you are.
There are many many jobs where certain degree’s and programs are mandatory. For instance, If you truly aspire to become a doctor, lawyer or a surgeon, then yes college is going to be a big part of your life. Obviously, you can’t get these types of jobs without med school, law school, and other training. All 3 of those careers are very high paying jobs with a lot of responsibility. It makes sense why you need extensive training to be able to do them. Nobody wants a person with no idea what they’re doing walking in and saying “ Kay, let me just cut open the skull right here ”.
56% of students who start out a 4-year college drop out by their 6th year (collegeatlas.org)
It’s important to be absolutely certain that before pursuing a career path, it is exactly what you want to do for a living. You don’t want to find out you enjoy coding or web development after you’re already 3 years into med school. It does happen pretty often too. People spend countless years progressing into a specific career and one day realize they have much more passion for a completely different field. I think it’s a huge reason we see so many individuals who despise their 9 to 5 job. Well, if you don’t enjoy it why did you go through 4 years of training to get it?
“ I wanted to do what makes the most money ”
Everyone reading this should know that if you’re only following the money, you’re making a huge mistake. Follow what makes you happy and stick to it.
Passion > Prosperity
In my honest opinion, I think anyone making an effort to increase their income is an excellent thing. I know this contradicts what I just said but there’s more to it. If we consider going to class the same as watching tutorials, webinars, listening to podcasts, then it’s no different. Whether it’s through schooling or staying up to 3 am every night, and watching/reading information online. Being ambitious to learn more and increase your knowledge will always be a great thing. It doesn’t matter how much you learn, if you’re not able to utilize what you’ve learned then it’s merely a waste of time. I see positive actions in anyone making an effort to become more valuable to society and ultimately earn more revenue.
More value = More money.
Last but not least, the worst thing about college. (Think you know what I’m gonna say here)
The average debt for someone with 4 years of college is in the 30 to 50 thousand dollar range. Of course, that depends on where you live, what school you go to, and the type of loan.
That’s an insane amount of money to owe. I couldn’t sleep at night knowing I owe 30 thousand dollars or more. I wouldn’t go to school unless I knew I could afford the classes. I don’t want a percentage of my paycheck for the next 5 years going to paying off my loans. Debt for those finishing medical school could be upwards of 150 thousand dollars. And we’re not even counting the worst part, interest.
Understand this entire post is based on my opinion. I’m not going to post stats that aren’t certified through a website. There are so many different things to be said about college, this is only a portion of it. I’ll make a part 2 in the future. Remember I’ve never been to college before because I personally won’t go unless I know I’m getting what I’m paying for. I don’t mean the lessons and classes, I just don’t see my determination being there yet. I have many other plans and things going on in my life there’s no way I’ll be able to fit in time for college. I still would like to go sometime in my 20’s to network and increase my knowledge of business marketing. I have a lot of friends in school right now, and I’m proud of them for that. I want everyone to understand that college is a great thing but also not essential to becoming successful.
In this world, you don’t need a piece of paper to prove you know shit.