When people ask me how many years I have been going to school they are shocked to find out that I am a junior. At first I thought, maybe it is because I look so young, but the reality is that 50 percent of students who attend four-year colleges or universities drop out.
Some drop out for academic, some for financial, and some for personal reasons; regardless what the reason is, the rate is disturbing. Students who make it as far as I have are admired-especially when they are majoring in highly competitive or rigorous programs, or they are aiming for more than four years. Before I realized the extent of the dropout rate, I feared for people who said they would take a semester off-and I am grateful that two out of the three I have known so far have returned. But what happens to the others?
With increasingly more students applying to college because the job market is becoming more competitive, it is a wonder if society has created a wasteful system for the future workforce these days. Not only do students have to obtain ridiculous SAT scores, GPAs, and participate in activities, but ultimately students face the question: was it worth it in the end, particularly if they dropped out?
And even for the people who do finish, how many actually become successful entrepreneurs? How many degree-holding citizens end up with a job that clearly undermines their hard work and often hard earned money that they put into college?
Is college overrated? Once upon a time, college was for people looking to actually further their education in addition to those looking for an extra bit of pride. But how many are still actually seeking to build their database of intelligence?
Economically college is a smart move, but when you think about it, all people are really paying for is fleeting knowledge-once the course is over the crammed material dissipates into a vague fog.
Do we truly strive for this? If our whole life is reduced into how much money we will bring home, then yes. Anything that might be a complete waste of time, but will bring in more money, is accepted. The best part is that even after you spend tens of thousands on your “education” an employer still won’t look at you if you don’t have experience.
In the end, college isn’t a complete waste-after all it is supposed to be the best experience of your life, even if you walk away remember only a few random things here and there. And it is definitely not a waste for those seeking the dollar or those still-existing die-hard fans seeking knowledge of the world.
Marquita Bell is a junior majoring in print journalism and creative writing, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.