do too many people go to college?

People watching. My favorite thing to do. Maybe its because I’m a psych major or maybe because I love figuring people out and why they do the things they do the way they do them.Sitting in Dallas waiting for my flight back to Nashville I look around.USA today has a half page article entitled “do too many people go to college?”Do they??I think the answer is maybe.But why?

College has strayed from what it originally was intended to be.College education is also referred to as ‘higher education’ not ‘required extra education.’ So why does our society put so much value on having a college education?Not every job requires a college education yet nearly all employers seem to require one.I think the mentality behind this is that if you have a college education you must be smarter than the guy without one.says who???As a college student myself, I see tons and tons of people around me who are only going to college simply because its just what you do.When did college become ‘what you do’?why do so many people think less of someone without a college education?Many successful and influential people never attended college or attended then dropped out.Life is not about following the Americanized cookie cutter plan, life is about following your passions and dreams and fulfilling the unique plan designed just for you.Doesn’t that sound a lot better than just doing things because they’re the ‘things to do?’For some reason, our society has decided that the thing you do is ‘go to college and get a degree to get a good job.’I know I’m repeating myself but how stupid is that mentality.The issue behind the article mentioned above is much deeper than simply too many people going to college.The issue lies in the fact that too few of us follow our passions and recognize that we can each forge a unique path through this journey called life.We can be leaders not simply followers.Whether we lead others with us is somewhat irrelevant.We need to all take charge of our own lives and decide what is best for us not what ‘they’ expect us to do or what ‘they’ decided is the ‘best’ thing for everyone.Why would we settle for such a boring existence over figuring out our each individual passions?The Staples easy button is why.

We all want a quick fix and a quick easy way to accomplish everything. Throughout our lives, more often than not, we are encouraged just to take the pre-designed Americanized cookie cutter plan instead of figuring out for ourselves what we could be good at or what we want to do.This is tragic.Children are not encouraged to seek out their passions, they are encouraged to just do what the other kids do and not cause problems.Secondary school guidance counselors (more often than not) do not encourage their students to take interest inventories and hone in on their interests and passions and strengths and weaknesses.They set up three different plans and if you don’t fit on one then that’s unacceptable.Then you get to college and everything is open.You can do anything you want and live any way you want.That’s messed up.All your life you’re taught to just pick one of the available options then you get to the big state school and can pick from any class you could possibly want and have no idea what to do but you’re in college cause everyone told you college was what you do.

I think this is why so many kids fail at college and possibly fail at life.We do not prepare kids for THEIR future we prepare them for THE future.That may not make sense but let me explain.Like I’ve said before, we simply give you a few options to choose from and if you don’t like them well that’s your problem.When I was young there were always many options of what to do and we could pick and choose our classes as early as middle school (to an extent).Now you can still pick them but it’s from a more strict list than before, kids are pretty much told that ‘this is the way you do it.’I know I’m repeating myself a lot but I’m just reminding you that this has got to change.

Another reason I think so many kids fail at college is the lack of required structure for abit.I full believe that every college student unless he/she is married or has children should be required to live in on campus housing for an entire year.This is going to ruffle a few feathers but I stand firmly behind this.Living in a dorm teaches you how to live with other people and how to share common spaces and how to be more responsible without being completely let loose.Living in a dorm forces you to be around tons of people your age forcing you to learn to deal with them.Living in a dorm forces you to learn to take care of yourself to more of an extent than many people have without completely just throwing you in the real world.Living in a dorm teaches you respect of other people and their property.Living in a dorm encourages you to get involved with those around you and in groups and on campus events around you, thus allowing you to engage in your environment.At least dorms are intended to do these things.Without on campus structure, many college students will fail at living on their own.They will not know how to handle all the freedom and will end up turning to alcohol, drugs, sex, or any other destructive behaviors.Dorms socialize you to the real world.

I’ll add more to this later maybe but I encourage each of you to seek out your own passions and encourage those around you to do the same thing.Those of you who have younger siblings or friends, encourage them to do what they feel they’ll be good at in life not simply what they’re expected to do.The days of following in everyones footsteps simply because its what you do need to end.The days of doing life a certain way just because that’s the way its been done needs to end.

So think about these things today.