The College Controversy


Heidi Naumov

So many options, so little time.

How can a borderline minor, fresh out of high school (where they had to ask to go to the bathroom), be expected to make a decision about the course of the rest of their lives? Institutionalizing the search for passion and purpose in life, as well as attaching it to a strict timeline, may not be the answer for everyone. The belief that there is only one path to success is rather narrow-minded, although college may give an advantage to people who know how to play the school game. Yes, a degree may give you credibility and stability, but there is a plethora of career options that don’t require one, especially in this age of entrepreneurship and the internet. On top of that, according to, college students fork over an average of $35,551 per year for their education. Is it worth it? 

Of the four students interviewed, all planned on going to college, but none had a concrete plan of what they wanted to study and do in the future. When asked what his objective in going to college is, Garrett Summers ‘23 asserted that he wants “to be rich.” Nathan Reseigh ‘23 agreed joyfully, highlighting his excitement to “make fat stacks” by getting a degree. This illustrates that people think of college as the go-to way to get a good job and make money. But is this the only way to be financially successful? Or is it just a solid norm – something to fall back on when taking a (seemingly) bigger risk seems too daunting? 

Many billionaire entrepreneurs dropped out of college, including Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk, who quit his doctorate at Stanford. In a 2018 Twitter quote, Musk, although a graduate himself with two bachelor’s degrees, warned not to “…confuse schooling with education. [He] didn’t go to Harvard but the people who work for [him] did.” Peter Thiel, cofounder of Paypal (with Musk), even went so far as to say, in a 2018 podcast, that overeducation leads to brainwashing

If you are set on learning, though, college is not the only place to acquire knowledge. With today’s extensive online resources and books, you could theoretically get an education with “$1.50 in late fees at the public library,” as Matt Damon says in Goodwill Hunting. However, self-educating, with your nose in a book the whole time, isn’t great for networking, an integral part of the college experience. Ms. Shirai, a German and Japanese teacher, says that she met many lifelong friends during her time at Bryn Mawr and Stanford, which made college completely worthwhile for her. Of course, some jobs, such as teaching, require a college degree. But for those of us who do not salivate at the thought of a secure 9-5, there are alternatives. 

Perhaps you’ve seen the video, “These Kids Are Skipping College to Be TikTok Famous” (Vice News) show up on your YouTube recommended. Maybe, you couldn’t avoid a double-take at the obscenely attractive military recruiter around school lately. You may even have attended the DECA Apprenticeship fair, which took place in the gym recently. Conceivably, you’ve awoken in a cold sweat in the wee hours of the night a time or twenty, thinking of your future fate. A lifetime of student debt? Disappointment? Or maybe your Minecraft channel will play out, right into your starving wallet and in the faces of your dubious parents. Regardless, you have options.