By Roxanne Reyes
Do we really need a college education to get a good job? Is college a scam?
We all were told by everyone that getting a college education is necessary in order to get a high paying career. In addition, we were advised that with higher education we could make a lot of money–such as a million dollars that was mentioned by Hilary Clinton. Moreover, it would be excellent on a resume to employers looking to higher someone with a college background. We also were informed we could live the American dream to buy a nice house or a beautiful car and have financial stability to support a family. Could this be true? Sign me up for college because I want a piece of the American pie.
Like many college students we were told like myself, informed by family and especially high school and college counselors that we could make a decent and tremendous salary with higher education. However, we soon found out the disappointments and lies that were told by college experts. We all looked forward to a nice hefty paycheck once we were done with college, but found out in the real world it’s not that simple to get a job today. Many negative setbacks kicked in to high gear, which included huge loan debts some owing up to $100,000, unemployment sometimes for more than a year and having to move in with parents or with other roommates to save up money. Also the emotional obstacles like feeling useless, depressed and unworthy of not getting that high paying job that we were promised after graduating. I remember taking a teaching job for $800 per month after I graduated from college, which was like minimum wage on a college degree. I was lucky that my husband had an income to support the both of us. I could probably only afford to pay for the utilities and food. Therefore, I got no high paying job, instead I had accumulated several thousand dollars in a student loan that took me a while to pay off.
More headaches started to consume me. I soon found out I needed a teaching license and possibly a master’s degree to be an educator. However, that’s not all because I moved around many times I had to take a state test to teach in different states. I also learned that I needed to be on a waiting list to be enrolled in the teaching program because the college I was going to attend accepted a limited amount of students per year. Many problems ran through my mind–I thought to myself I’m going to be in debt for the rest of my life, a teacher’s salary was extremely low, your students could lack discipline, and the job is overwhelming. My future wasn’t looking bright for me.
How about starting a family? No way, we couldn’t afford it. My career as a teacher was just starting and we had no money to raise a family.
Did I feel that I got a high quality education?
No, I didn’t get the best education for my money. Here’s why I feel that way. Some professors were late to class, didn’t care about the subject, or they purposely failed you. I had a professor that was constantly late to class or didn’t even bother showing up to class without any notice. Moreover, I had a communications teacher that taught us nothing about public speaking, instead he told us that if you just do five speeches this quarter I’ll let you ace the class. Also about the class that set you up for failure- the teacher purposely misguided you on algebra that didn’t make sense when she instructed us. I even went to her for help and told her she didn’t make any sense by teaching us short cuts. I was lost in her class and gave up by taking the F for failure. My mom even told me to take the F, which was surprising. She wanted me to fail too. I felt like a complete loser. I hated school and started to think it was a system set up to have students drop out while they take your money.
Was there a better plan for us?
Yes, take specific training courses at a technical college or take classes that will enable you to gain a skill in the workplace. Also doing apprenticeships such as, learning to be an electrician, mechanic, drafter, or welder could gain you the experience employers look for in a person. Computer courses like web designing, hardware repair, software engineering, game design, graphic arts or programming are high in demand for most companies today. Being skilled in one of these areas mentioned above is a lot more useful for employers. Right now I’m learning programming and web design as a supplement to be a technical writer. I find that being computer literate in today’s modern world is extremely important for the job you want. It takes careful research of the specific career you are interested in, so be sure to look deeply into what you really want to do your whole life.
I find that having a four year bachelors degree is not always necessary. Make sure to pursue an education that can get you the job. Look at the statistics or talk to employers about what’s the necessary requirements to that job you’re seeking. Don’t depend on professors or counselors for their opinion all the time because they might not tell you the truth. Be your own detective and get correct answers from experts not ignorant people. Get answers that matter not hot air. An electrician or plumber starting salary could be up to $45,000 per year. They make a decent living wage without higher education. It might not be a million dollars, but it’s enough to get by.