“I have never met a man so ignorant that I couldn’t learn something from him.” – Galileo Galilei.
In the next couple weeks, I will be going back to college. I took this previous academic year off. I did so mainly to save money, but also to get a small breather from the grind of higher education. As I am sure many have heard, taking a year off (or more at that!) is not for everyone. As my year comes to a close, I would definitely have to agree—doing so is not for everyone.
Despite what some may believe, hearing those words may come with a negative pretext and connotation. When, in fact, it should be anything but negative. It should not be perceived as a harsh comment. From my perspective, the argument is not about whether or not someone should take an academic year off, but whether or not someone should pursue a degree from a higher education institute. I think most anyone can agree that college—not taking a year off—is not for everyone. It may seem like I just completely changed the argument. You are right! I did! I think people have a skewed idea of higher education, in general.
College is not for everyone because some people just flat-out struggle in a typical learning environment. Most of the time, those that struggle have no control over their setbacks. That is not to say that these individuals do not put 110% in their book learning—believe me, they do! I have worked with many disabled young people who poured their heart and soul into learning, and they still struggled. It broke my heart to see that their learning barrier was not something they could easily dismiss. I saw the perseverance and determination in their eyes. I could tell the answer was just on the tip of their tongue, but they could not get it. Now, why am I saying this? I am saying this because those same students who carried that learning barrier with them were some of the brightest and most advanced when it came to hands-on learning. So many of those students were great at operating complex machinery or understanding abnormal concepts in the technology world. Those students that sat in my office should not have been in a university setting, they should have been at a technical college where hands-on learning is the norm!
College is not for everyone because some people just do not like the rigid structure. Some people do not enjoy having to learn and complete things at a certain time. I am not meaning that in a negative way at all. Let me rephrase that through my own experiences: The biggest reason why I was okay with taking a year off is because I thrive off the typical higher education setting. I love learning in a classroom, the homework is not too bad sometimes either. I know myself well enough. Due to my overall enjoyment of learning, strong drive and motivation, I knew I could afford to take a year off and be fine. Now, that is not to say that the first month or so won’t be difficult because it will be. Thankfully, I am only taking a couple classes instead of a full load, which should help. However, not everyone is capable of doing that. Some people just need to go straight into the workforce. The people who don’t like the rigid structure that college requires are probably the same people that would prefer to just work their way up in a job field they like. There is nothing wrong with that!
With all that said, though, I think everyone should try some form of college at least once—whether it be online, a semester, a single class! However, chances are, if someone does not like the load that high school brought, college will not be any easier or better. But, some people do go to college just for the social aspect of it. A lot of times, people say college made up some of the best years of their lives. That may be true for some, yes. I do acknowledge other common reasons students attend college. I am not really for the social aspects of college. Do not get me wrong, I LOVED the people I met and the connections I made while I attended a junior college my first two years. But, I did not primarily seek out those connections when I started my undergraduate degree. My main goal and purpose in attending college back then and now is to academically excel! If great relationships come along the way, awesome! When you keep the focus of college to learn and challenge yourself, great connections come your way without any effort on your part. You have to keep your priorities straight, which is true no matter what season of life you are in.
All in all, whether you have a degree or not, never stop learning. And if you do go to college, make sure you get a degree in something you love! Make your learning something enjoyable! I cannot tell you how many people I know that go in to this field or that field solely for money or out of societal pressure. I hope and pray those are not your intentions. Regardless, to you fellow soon to be college folk, let us enjoy our last free moments before we get back to the grind. For those of you that are not going back to the grind, for whatever reason, make the most of the time without meddling homework assignments and late night study sessions.