“Time is ticking; get your applications in on time”
“Apply for school before it’s too late”
“If you don’t do this now, you are going to regret it”
Look, deadlines are in place for a reason. Yes, colleges and universities need time to go through the hundreds of applications they receive in order to decide who they will volunteer as tribute for them over the next 4, 5, 10+ years. My concern is the feeling that students are given when they are under the impression that they must go to college now or they will somehow lose out on a special deal.
It’s almost like, “Act now for this limited time offer”.
This is simply not true. This is yet another one of those tactics that are used to get you to think college is the way to go. It’s not, and the truth needs to come out.
I understand the idea that “taking a break” from school can cause you not to go back because of lost momentum or because it is very painfully easy to get used to not being in school (why is that, by the way?). For some, however, this break is the best thing they can do.
Going out into “the real world” is going to be painful, no matter who you are. Responsibilities, bills, and balancing work with downtime is all very real, and gets crazier when you start a family. Now, imagine if you have all this stress compounded on the fact that you are in a school program you don’t like or realized college is not for you. This, to me, is real stress!
Now, imagine that you took time while you were in school and researched your options. Imagine you took the time to ask around and see what life really is for people in college and those who went a different route. Imagine you used your break to do some soul-searching and determine your best path.
Now, how would you feel about your decisions?
I am not advocating for you to take a break to stay home and catch up on those seasons you recorded or activate your thumb muscles while staring at a screen. I feel you need to make the most of this time, should you decide to take a break. Call professionals in the field where you have interest, and ask to shadow them for a couple of days. Tag along with a family member who is crushing it out there and see what you think. Message some of your friends who are in college now and ask if you can hang with them for a few days (be sure you attend classes with them as well; nothing will throw you off more than hanging out on a college campus without experiencing lectures. That is not real life!). Or, go and find a job; get a feel for how it is to manage this responsibility for the lowest pay possible and take notes. Take the time you have given yourself to find answers to the questions you have and make more informed decisions.
Don’t forget to take time to read more articles on this site or watch the videos on YouTube either! (Shameless, I know).
If you truly feel that you need the time to make a better decision, then do so. But, do so with the intent of gathering the information you need to make the best decision for you. The short amount of time you take now can save you years of frustration later. And, time is the one thing we cannot buy.
So, ACT NOW. Or not…but do the work to find your answers.
The book that answers your questions about college landed #1 in three separate categories! Degree or Not Degree: Five Ways to Know if College is for You is available now on Amazon.