this is another letter someone deemed fit to publish in the Seattle Times NEXT blog. As I'm sitting here combing the classifieds and WESD WorkSource websites for a job, it seems natural to just include it here:
As someone who chose not to go to college, I speak from experience when I say that it's impossible to overstate how much more difficult it is to attend college after you've taken on other responsibilities which demand your time, attention, and financial resources, such as a mortgage payment or raising a family. Pausing your education following high school and then returning to school is like training hard to run a marathon for a year, then picking up the remote and pigging out on the couch for a few months.
Aside from the monetary advantages to a college education, there are other benefits, such as a continuing opportunity to network socially. Many people look back on their college years as having a profound impact on them as individuals. Indeed, many people are exposed in college to ideas which change their entire outlook, as well as become introduced to their future business partners, spouses, and lifelong best friends.
All other points aside, the increased earning potential and employment opportunities for degreed individuals remain the most important reasons to get a college education. It would be nice to think that reasonably intelligent, talented people, willing to work hard, could succeed at whatever they choose, but the reality of the situation is more often disappointing.
I'm a 36-year-old, divorced, single father with a mortgage payment, an IQ near 140, a voracious appetite for knowledge, a history of diligent service at every position I've held, experience running my own small business, and the company of millions of others like me competing for ever-more-specialized positions.
Ability to perform a task is not equivalent to prior training in it, and it doesn't help you break the barrier between unstable $22,000 per year jobs and a $40,000-$100,000 per year career. Given the opportunity, why not give yourself the advantage of a college education? If I had a dime for every time I heard the phrase, "For this I skipped college?" I could afford to go now.
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