Source: Tribune News Service
Source: Tribune News Service

“With the economy the way it is, a degree won’t guarantee you a job,” and “College can’t prepare you for your career anyway” are just two examples of frequently uttered misadvise offered to America’s youth, but in a nation falling beneath the 30th percentile in education worldwide, prospective graduates can’t afford to heed it.

Affected by the economic disparity between the state’s pecuniary elite and a financially careworn middle class, many come to see wealth as the most influential factor in their decision to pursue higher education, but monetary stability is not all one takes away from college (because, let’s face it—sometimes, it’s not even that).

Students earning degrees aren’t just taking a necessary step toward their dreams, but they’re broadening their aspirational horizons and illuminating clearer visions of their professional aims, often awakening new, even richer dreams.

A receptive student emerges deepened, refined, more intimate with the world in which we all live, with an understanding of and a connection to the triumphs and missteps of humanity’s most influential forebears; this focuses a whole generation’s vision of the future.

Without such exposure, potential remains locked, and the future becomes shadowed in limitation—investment in the collegiate experience is invaluable.

But here’s the catch.

If students aren’t striving toward degrees in the fields they’re most passionate about, they’re burying themselves in ruinous sums of debt, ensuring lifetimes of regret.

Driven by the obvious fabrication that wealth equates to happiness or by the expectations of their families or their communities, these poor wretches abandon what truly makes them happy and sacrifice anywhere between four and six years of their lives in pursuit of a $10,000-$30,000 sheet of embossed, watermarked card stock—and that’s only for one’s bachelor’s degree—just to break into a profession wherein they’ll remain trapped until the horrifying reality of their mistakes sets in, probably accompanying a mid-life crisis.

For many at this juncture, it’s too late (with the exception of the commendably willful nontraditional student population).

Luckily, if you’re reading this, you’re probably still in college, and it’s not too late for you, not yet. You cannot afford not to ask yourself if you’ve set your sights on the degree that’s best for you, your future, your life—it’s the only life you get, and as the saying goes, without passion, life is nothing.

It’s not easy to make a change of that magnitude, and the possibility becomes seemingly more impossible for those closer to graduation, but I speak from experience when saying that it is possible.

It could very well reshape the rest of your entire life for the better. Is that worth one extra year?

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