Our University-Obsessed Society   2 comments

According to CBS News, in the year 2010, 39.9% of persons between the ages of 25 and 34 have a college degree, and that number is slowly rising. Each year, a new graduating class is thrown into the ring to find work in a terrible job market. So what is this trend doing for society today?

A “4-year degree” at a Cal State University can cost $100,000 or more, and actually take 5 years or more to complete. The California unemployment rate was 11.2% in August 2012.

With more and more people attaining secondary degrees, the value of having higher education is declining. The market has become saturated with over-educated 20-somethings with inflated egos and useless degrees. I understand that this is quite a generalization, but is it wrong? Growing up, my parents had a set of rules regarding our education. Maintain a B average or get grounded. Go to college after high school and live at home, rent-free. But NOT going to college was not an option. In my case, I wanted to go to college the moment I started school. I had lofty goals of becoming the most educated person in my family, so my parents’ system was fine in my book! But would it work for every family?

My answer? NO.

Charter College, with 10 campuses and online options, offers short-term certificate and degree programs leading to careers as an LVN, legal assistant, accounting specialist or many others.  Programs are often designed for students with fulltime jobs.

Not every person is designed to go to a 4-year university. For some reason, we’ve all been led to believe that we MUST have a university degree in order to be valuable to society, which is WRONG. I am a teacher. I understand and stress the importance of education, believe me, but too many people are focused on the wrong type of education. When we send our kids (or in my case, my students) off to school, we are neglecting a HUGE factor in their education…what they’re actually good at!  Instead of brainwashing 18-year-olds about universities, we should step back and admire their skill set and their options.

California is one of few states in the US that has a very large network of community colleges. These schools are two-year institutions that serve as stepping stones to four-year universities. But they’re also so much more than that. At the local community college, you can get an Associate’s Degree, or complete a transfer studies program, or complete a certificate program in nearly every job field. These schools are PERFECT for students who don’t know what they want to do with their careers, or know they have a very specific skill set. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a university degree, a student can complete a certificate program and start working sooner. The amount of classes is much smaller, and the cost is incredibly affordable.

I happen to know, first hand, how helpful community college can be. I knew my parents couldn’t afford to pay for my college degree, so I had to do it myself. I went to our local community college, College of the Canyons (Go Cougars!) and completed their transfer studies program. The two years I spent at CoC cost me less than $2,500. I now have a bachelor’s and a teaching credential and my student loans weren’t more than the price of a new car. If you are a parent, encourage your kids to attend community college! I happened to have wanted to go to a university, but not every person is like me. A very close friend of mine went to a two-year trade school. He got a certificate and now runs his family’s business, quite successfully!

I understand that we all want the best for our children (or students), but try and put your personal opinions aside for just a moment, and listen to your kids. Not every person is meant to be an academic. Not every person loves going to school. We don’t need a million graduates with basket-weaving degrees. Today, every job is a great job to have. I know for a fact that I can’t fix my own plumbing. I’m thankful for every plumber on the internet. I’m thankful that someone knows how my car works and can fix it when it’s broken. I’m thankful for people who aren’t afraid of blood, and can draw mine successfully. Our society needs people who can do the jobs we can’t do. We need to change our frame of mind and stop looking down on people because they’re ‘less educated’ or have ‘thankless jobs.’ We NEED these people. Our children or our students will work these jobs one day, and we should celebrate them. Most of the people that hold these jobs were trained and certified at a trade school or community college. Just because it’s not a university degree, doesn’t mean it’s not a BRILLIANT education. So please don’t write off a community college. We should celebrate every form of education, and as a teacher, I do.

After 2 years in community college, I spent another 2-1/2 years getting my Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from California State University Northridge. I then spent another year getting my California teaching certificate. My two years at community college cost less than tuition alone for one semester at CSUN.

2 responses to “Our University-Obsessed Society

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  1. Well said!

  2. Pingback: The Best of MowryJournal: 2012 « MowryJournal.com

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