Stop and think WHY you are going to college as an 18 year old.

Written on
October 15, 2017
Peter Hostrawser

I am still astounded at the whole high school straight to college route the majority of our students are being forced into. Whether their parents, school counselors, or teachers are doing it, the norm of this absurd idea still exists in our system. A Forbes article form 2014 stated “College isn’t the time to find yourself… it’s EXPENSIVE!” I totally agree with this statement. It’s over three years old and still evident.

“College isn’t the time to find yourself… it’s EXPENSIVE!”

I have seniors in my class asking me if they can use the bathroom everyday. Within a year they will be in a college situation paying exorbitant amounts of money and expecting to be on target for their lives. They are STILL ASKING TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!!!! Many students do not know what the hell they want to do in life. I find it amazing in my classroom when I ask several of them what they want to do after high school. A large percentage of them will say they want to go to college. I then ask why. They say because that’s what you are supposed to do. I then ask who said that is what they are supposed to do. They state it was a parent, counselors, faculty, and society. I ask what they want to study and most of them have no idea. The ones who do have an idea will state a major without ever experiencing the actual industry they could end up being in. For example, someone may say they want to major in business. I will probe further and ask what area of business do they want to study. I always get the answer of , “I don’t know, just business I guess.” This seems absurd to me. The students have never been exposed to the realities of their “majors” of study before the jump into the college realm and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to be taught in them. They don’t even know if this is right for them!

I equate going to college to find your interest to buying my 12 year old son a $200,000 automobile before he even knows how to drive.

Recently this reality came to light as one of my teammates in my department assigned students to create resumes in a financial literacy course. One senior stated she wanted to go into marketing as a major in college. Her resume was essentially blank. My colleague asked her why she hadn’t gained any experience yet. She broke down and didn’t know she should have any experience. She was in tears.

She thought you just keep your head down and study and get good grades and test scores and you will succeed.

This lie is too evident in today’s world. It’s all about experience and a journey within real authentic learning. Businesses don’t care about your grades and test scores. They want to see what you have actually done in the field you want to be in.

High schools need to open the door to students to let them outside the walls of school in order to give them a better idea of possibilities of education. After high school, students without any idea of what they want to do should not go straight into college. It’s a waste of money. My advice for this type of student is to go get a job. Network with a whole lot of people in many industries. Check out ways to shadow professionals. Create products and services in the field they may find interesting on their own before going into college. Let’s face it, technology and the internet can pretty much teach you anything out there. For example if you are interested in the clothing industry, start designing T-shirts and selling them online. Be prepared to fail and learn from it. Be patient. Watch what happens when you try it out. Pivot! Get real life experience before you go to college. The fact is that if you don’t go to college right after high school, you will be fine! In fact, if you find out your passion and what you want to really excel in life before you step foot in a university, you will be way more focused. You will be more engaged in your learning. You will not WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY.

Stop and think to ask WHY you are going to college as an 18 year old. Your answer may surprise you.​


Peter Hostrawser
Creator of Disrupt Education
My value is to help you show your value. #Blogger | #KeynoteSpeaker | #Teacher | #Designthinker | #disrupteducation
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