It’s ingrained in our minds by now. Finish high school, get a part-time job, go to Undergrad school for 4 years, go to Grad school for another 2 or 3, and get a full-time job. The typical college student goes into higher education right after high school. Most of the time they move away for the first time with no real-world experience on their shoulders and muddle through homesickness while being surrounded by frat parties, underage drinking, and a lot of experimentation with sex and drugs. A lot of people may not want to hear this but no matter how prestigious the school you go to is, the odds are this activity does happen. For those, like myself, you don’t particularly like the college lifestyle and end up hiding in their dorm rooms half the time and go home on the weekends. It really does take away from the experience we should be having. College life isn’t for everyone and that’s okay.
Right off the bat I am going to reach out to those who don’t want to go to college at all. If you don’t find any higher education concentration of your interest, then don’t do it. The other thing I recommend is if you are in love with the arts, please do not feel obliged to go to a big fancy art school. Take it from the art student herself. Art isn’t something you should be graded on, it is something to practice, but that is an entire other rant meant for another time. The college itself is not meant for everyone and it doesn’t have to be for everyone. In some parts of the working industry, you don’t have to have a college degree. I do recommend at least getting your higher general education requirements done, just because it does up your resume, however, it’s not necessary if you want to be a welder, a car dealer, or a baker. What our generation has undermined is the fact that there are plenty of wonderful and fulfilling careers out there that do not require a college degree but just a bit of training.
The other point I’m going to cover here is for those who do want a higher education but don’t want the college life. I’m a quiet gal who wants to live out in the country near a small town of wonderful people and the college lifestyle doesn’t exactly offer that. I ended up going to community college for 2 years while living at home, then my antsy-self wanted to move away for the rest of my college education. I ended up hiding away from the college lifestyle instead of embracing it like I thought I would. I was sad, homesick, and lost in my higher learning and that is definitely not where I should have been. I’m finishing up one more semester at that school and I’m going straight to online courses so I can be in a comfortable setting where I can learn. The point I’m trying to get at is that if you are going to pursue higher education, there is no reason you should be sad and distraught about it and that has a lot to do with your environment. Try looking into community colleges near you so you can live at home. It is sure to be plenty more comfortable for you and you’ll be able to concentrate on your studies. The other thing I suggest is if the certain college you want a certain degree from is far away, consider taking online courses. This takes a lot of work to get through online courses but believe me, it is possible (read my blog over at UAlbany’s Project MyStory on “7 Things to Consider Before Taking an Online Course”: https://ualbanyadvising.wordpress.com/2016/12/07/7-things-to-consider-before-taking-an-online-course/#more-7115). The last thing to mention is maybe you do have to be away in order to attend college. If you don’t want to deal with the dorms or any of that nonsense, then it may be good for you to check out college apartments. Yes, you will still be near the college and near college students but you may have a bit more space and silence than you would if you were in a dorm. There is also something called, intergenerational living. There are programs that offer rent-free apartments to those who are willing to live side by side with senior residents who seek to have a little company (to find out more on this, check out: http://iahsa.net/Intergenerational_Living.aspx).
No matter the situation, you don’t have to experience a sort of lifestyle in order to get the education you want. It’s time we start promoting other ways of getting the careers we’ve dreamed of instead of the traditional mindset of going to college for 4 years and living in a crappy dorm. I hope this helps you on your journey to the life you’ve always dreamed of.