personal

Is College Education Overrated?

An article I wrote some time ago




Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Lady Gaga, these are only four names which are included in Time’s Top 10 College Dropouts. Their determination, talent and hard work prove to be enough to reach their greatest dreams and ambitions, respectively. Being college dropouts did not become a deterrent to their success. Unfortunately, though, not all of us are blessed with the kind of fortitude, ability and diligence these people possess. A person can take their stories as either inspiring to pursue their own aspirations or as a solid example and stop believing in the power of a college education. So, is college education still necessary at this time and age when in fact, there are people who have become successful and famous even without it?

I greatly believe that the necessity for a college education is highly subjective. As a person working in the world of finance, a college education served not just an important primary step to my career, more important than that is the preparation it gave me and the essential set of skills and knowledge it provided me. For me, only because I work in corporate finance, a college education is a necessary tool to know the core concepts, theories and basic background of my chosen profession. It acts like a Pro Tools 12.4 for a great music/sound. There are professions which I think demands a good college education, like in Finance and Legal. The problem with college education is that many people and employers misuse it as a basic standard for employment even if the nature of work does not really require a college diploma. Examples are the messengers, office maintenance and clerks. College has also taught me a lot of lessons regarding intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships. However, I must admit too that lessons like those can be learned not only in the universities or classrooms. But, it is but only fair for me to say that a college education has undeniably prepared and equipped me properly for the profession I have chosen.

Then again, it is not necessary for everyone simply because there are many vocations which I think will only anchor to one’s innate gifts and talents, and of course, hard work and perseverance. I do not think a college education is the sole gate for success and good living. If you look at the world right now, you will realize that what the world needs are talented people who are passionate about what they are doing. It is my view that forced college education drives people away from their true passions. If all would be required to finish college just for the sake of earning degrees and because it has become the norms of the society, we will be filled with unhappy college graduates, failing to fulfill their own destiny. Underemployment or mismatching will likely be rampant. Many I know go and finish their college just to please their parents and to be employed even if they know that their hearts desire for something else. The fire they have for their dreams does not burn, instead, it dies. Another destiny is set to be unrealized, just because one decided to pursue a college education instead of his or her own passion for a certain vocation. Everybody expects you to work in a good company after graduation and this expectation is the reason why only few can manage to gather the guts and courage needed to take back the control of their lives and pursue their own passions, even if it is not in line with the education they and their parents have spent time, money and energy for.

For me, it’s as simple as this, whether it will fire-up a person’s passions in life, whether it will help a person achieve his or her dreams and whether it will help a person get to his or her own destiny – that I think would be the suitable gauge on whether or not a college education is necessary. In conclusion, a college education is necessary whenever it will arm a person with the necessary technical skills and knowledge for his or her chosen profession. In cases where a college education just misleads someone from its true calling, then I tag it as unnecessary. Ultimately, a college education is not the only determining factor nor it can be used as a single definitive measurement for someone’s success in life. It is only a tool and not a guarantee for victory. Talent plus hard work, plus perseverance is still the formula for achieving what we aspire for in life.

Let’s not overrate a college education. Although I admire and find it inspiring, the stories of those who have shed blood and tears for their children’s college education, those who do not earn it should not be considered as lower-class citizens. Well, thanks to the World’s Greatest Dropouts, this notion kind of changed already. Still, they should not be looked upon down and their worth and contributions in the society should not be understated. Success, after all, is achieved whenever we do what make us happy and fulfilled while serving our own unique purpose to the world, with or without a college degree.

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