The Cons of Not Going to College

Although it was the hardest decision of my life, skipping college turned out to be the best decision I ever made. Not only has it led me to professional success and personal happiness, I also dodged many of the long-term detriments of our modern education system. More on that here.

However, despite professing the dangers of college and touting my successes as a dropout*, I can’t deny that my journey hasn’t come with its unique set of struggles.

1. Networking and Socializing

The most difficult part about never going to college is trying to build “adult relationships”. Once I entered the workforce, I found it extremely difficult to make new friends since the bulk of my social interactions were with coworkers. I suddenly had to start juggling the nuances of HR compliance and the fact that everyone was much older (and wiser) than I was. Not to mention, I’m still not 21 so I can’t exactly “go out and meet non-coworkers” without significant effort.

Additionally, college isn’t just about academia; colleges also serve as the very important catalyst to professional networking (especially elite and political schools). I neglected to understand the value of this networking until I launched my honest effort to break into corporate America; many people get hired on referrals and personal recommendations. At one point, a friend casually mentioned that they could easily get a job at Google with a non-tech degree since they’d attended an elite college and knew other graduates within the company.

2. The Fun

This may come as a surprise… but paying rent and eating leftovers for weeks on end isn’t fun. Adulting isn’t fun. But college is.

I’m personally not much of a partier, but college has other fun activities like football games, extracurricular clubs, studies abroad, etc. These activities don’t really exist anywhere else- it’s dang near impossible to get enough people together for a volleyball game, traveling is expensive and impractical, and everyone is preoccupied with the financial burdens of modern life.

As I like to say (inevitably at the most inappropriate of times), “for the low, low price of your childhood, you, too, can enter corporate America as a teenager.”

Photo by Jade Masri on Unsplash

3. Academic Exploration

I know this one sounds a little pretentious, but for many people it’s a serious consideration. College creates a space for students to explore their interests and, more importantly, gives them a few buffer years before they narrow in on a career path. In theory, anyway.

It’s a little ridiculous to expect 17 and 18 year-olds to know what they want to do for the rest of their life. College should theoretically create that time and space for young people to find their passion and mature before jumping into their careers. In my opinion, however, exploring one’s passions in our modern system is too expensive and, more often than not, said explorations do not lead to a job within the same field.

Regardless, there is never a similar opportunity in life to stand amidst a “candy store of ideas” and pick-and-choose your interests. Once you start working, you have to prioritize the knowledge that is relevant to your paycheck.

4. Living Away from your Parents

Most millennials matured into the age of Sallie Mae, inflation, and an overly competitive job market. Gen Z is following suit, with the added challenge that BlackRock is buying up all available real estate. As a result, many young people have a hard time achieving financial independence and move back in with their parents after college.

I’d argue that the act of going to college itself contributes to this epidemic of perpetual dependency… but most people still do. As a result, college can seem like a much-needed getaway from your parents between high school and a hopeless career. I’m not saying that this isn’t a valid motivator — I myself was lucky enough to move away from my parents and into my grandmothers house — but I’m not sure most people would have that option out of high school if they chose not to go to college.

For example, someone might have to stay with their parents for an extra year or two after high school while they gain financial stability… all the while, their friends are enjoying the liberties of college life. In the long run, however, that person may spend fewer extra years in total with their parents than their counterparts who end up taking on exorbitant debt. Regardless, it’s never fun to be a teenager and stick with your parents longer than necessary.

At the end of the day, all actions have consequences. In my opinion, the above considerations are much less detrimental than lifelong debt and restricted options, but everyone has to make that decision for themselves!

*I’m not actually a dropout. I just never went to college in the first place.

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Dexter

Dexter

Financial independence and personal fulfilment without a college degree