What Ever You Do, Don’t Go to College!
By ARTHUR MARTIN
March 22, 2017
If the Generation Z seniors are a reflection of my own experience, they are currently pushed very strongly by their mothers, school counselors, teachers, pastors, Hollywood, news anchors, magazine ads, and virtually everyone else “to go to college and better yourself.”
If you express any doubts about college and perhaps suggest alternative options like joining the military or just taking a year off from school you are immediately shut down with a myriad of excuses. I know I was. The public pressure and the shaming of not going to college was so strong that I, dear reader, made the single worst decision in my life.
I went to college.
I still have nightmares of the sleepless nights writing essays, failing tests, and filling in multiple-choice bubbles during exams. That is nothing however, to the true nightmare of graduating from college with a worthless degree and tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt.
You see, as a high school graduate I had no concept of money and the same people who where pushing me into committing four years of my life to an institution to ‘better myself,’ failed to tell me the consequences of these student loans that I was blindly signing. Fast forward to my college graduation and upon receiving my Bachelor’s Diploma in Political Science, I also received a letter in the mail to begin paying off my massive student loan debt. The problem was, during the time I spent in college, the American economy and social climate changed so drastically that college had become an absolute joke.
Don’t go to college.
Three big things have changed that makes college a zero-sum game for Generation Z (even in STEM fields.)
It is no longer a secret, since 1986, the tuition at American Universities has sky rocketed 500%. Yet, US inflation has only gone up 1/5th that since the mid 1980's….it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that thousands of students every year are being scammed into paying astronomical costs for an education whose benefits are highly circumspect.
The economy still hasn’t recovered from the Recession in 2008, those not in the labor force is at a record high of 94 million, Most graduates aren’t working in their degree field, many grads are unemployed or underemployed and for those Americans who are fortunate enough to have a job—71% of them are making less than $50k a year!
So, why would you burden yourself with crippling debt before you even have a chance to live your life? We all know that debt is slavery, but what most people refuse to accept is that college has become a scam.
You parents grew up in a different time and a different generation. You don’t quite realize how much has changed for the worst both economically and culturally since you where in high school--let alone in just the last 10 years.
Baby Boomers vs Millennials:
The Cost of Education Does Not Merit the Quality of Education:
Several generations ago, going to college used to be prestigious and meant something. The reason why it meant something was because it was exclusive and only an elite few could get in. However, after President Clinton made student loan bankruptcy illegal, the university system with that easy guaranteed money and federally backed student loans; decreased the quality of education to attract more applicants and increased tuition dramatically because of guaranteed non-dischargeable student loans (source: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/283625-how-the-clinton-administration-made-it-harder-on-student).
Here are some headlines that prove the quality of post-secondary education has declined:
Does that sound like a quality education to you? What are you seriously learning at these universities that you can’t learn at home?
The Democratization of the Internet:
The problem is that unless you get a STEM Degree, a majority of degrees kids receive today are completely useless. Yes, Arts Degrees (of which I have one) are completely useless in real life.
Do you want to be an Artist? Then paint!
Do you want to be a Musician? Then join a band and play!
Do you want to be an Actor? Then move to a bigger city and join a theatre production!
Do you want to become a better communicator? Getting past the ridiculous notion of a “Communication Degree” go and volunteer in your community or better yet, get a retail job where you are forced to learn communication skills.
With the advent of the Internet, anyone can become a master designer, mechanic, actor, musician, or artist for the low, low price of a monthly Internet connection. Youtube has a devoted channel for whatever you want to learn, from people who have nothing better to do than help you, “better yourself.”
Please make the right decision and be a “parent” to your kids and not their “friend”
If your kid wants to go to college for a useless degree, do not support them financially! Have a serious conversation with them about economics, the job labor market, their terrible life choices, etc… and convince them that they are better served by moving out of the house, getting a job, renting an apartment, buying a monthly internet service and learning (insert useless hobby) on their free time.
Generation Z, Why should you listen to me?
Because I went through the horrible mistake of college and watched 70% of my friends make the same mistake. We are now saddled with 10 years of college debt that we can’t default on, we can’t find a steady job, we can’t afford to buy a house, we can’t afford to start a family and we simply can’t afford to live our dreams.
The road to freedom, happiness, and success lies in being debt free.
With the economy the way it is and the absurd college/tuition bubble, the risks to your freedom and happiness by going to college far outweigh the benefits. So please do not let the future of Alaska--Generation Z--make the mistake of ruining their youth by becoming Post-Secondary-Education-Debt-Slaves to useless degrees.
What ever you do, just don’t go to college!
Arthur Martin ©2017
Arthur was originally born in the Soviet Union and immigrated legally to Alaska when he was young. He graduated from Craig, Alaska. Holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and worked for the Alaska State Legislature for three sessions.
Arthur now lives on Prince of Wales Island. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org - This column has been edited by the author.
Arthur Martin is the Editor of the P.O.W. AK Report
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