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What if Traditional College isn’t for You?

High school is an interesting time of growth and excitement.  When you’re finishing up your time in school, there is one question that you will hear over and over again: where are you going to college?  More than ever, the pressure of attending a university after high school is enormous. It’s almost a given that attending college will give you a better chance at success in life.  While it would be hard to do many jobs without a bachelor’s or master’s degree, there are many occupations around the country that are just as necessary. If traditional college isn’t for you, you are not alone. Many opportunities exist for you to succeed in life, even if those lead down a less traditional path.

Online Options

There is a huge misconception that, to earn a degree, you have to move away to college.  As a student just finishing high school with more financial restrictions, this seems like a huge step.  If you feel like this, there are many ways you can continue your education from your home. Many people take advantage of accredited online education programs.  These programs give you more flexibility than a traditional, four-year college.  You can take fewer classes per semester, and work toward a degree on your own time.  

These programs benefit individuals of all ages across the country.  With a more flexible learning environment, school adjusts to your schedule, rather than the other way around.  At age 18, you may get lost in what you want to do with your future. This is more common than anyone would like to admit.  Taking classes online gives you a break, because there is not as much pressure regarding when you should start or finish. If you need to take a few months, or even years, to decide what you would like to study, you have that flexibility with an online education.  

Learning a Trade

While online education is a good option compared to traditional campus life, there are some not interested in higher education at all.  That is also a reasonable plan for the future. Even though universities are recommended and expected in some cultures, there is no judgment if that life does not fit your desires.  There is always room for more tradesman in our society.

There are many important professions from which you can choose with your general high school diploma.   After all, what would we do without home builders in Alabama and Florida or food service managers all over the country?  There are several jobs that pay well and don’t require a bachelor’s degree.  Many of these careers are what we call “blue collar,” and they make up a huge part of the working population of this country.  We need workers in refrigerator repair Bend and on our telephone lines and delivering out mail.  There is nothing wrong with these sorts of occupations, in fact, America would cease to function without these men and women working in blue collar professions.  

Now, some of these jobs do require extra training beyond just a high school education.  There may be a course, such as Cert IV in Training and Assessment in Melbourne, to help you prepare for your job in security, or extra managerial courses you’ll take to manage your local Starbucks.  Some jobs may even be a family business, where you learn the skill your whole life. There will always be a learning curve to a new position you take.  Even if you grew up around farming, or with a parent who worked as a hairdresser, you may not be suited for either position right away. As with anything in life, you do have to put work into it.  

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Erasing the Stigma

In America, there is a push toward earning a four-year bachelor’s degree.  This is an impressive accomplishment and something you should pursue if you are passionate about it.  However, there is also a stigma that has developed around individuals who do not choose this path.  Why is it that some tradesman can earn more money after spending only a year or two in trade school, than those who commit to a four year education?  

Some people suggest flipping the system on its head.  So many degrees include a large amount of general education classes.  To be honest, someone focused on construction may not completely benefit from three separate English classes.  Maybe there is a way to have degrees with fewer general credits needed that focuses on the specific skills needed for that job alone.  

Either way, it is necessary that we, as a country, value individuals who pursue all different fields.  In Europe, and other places around the world, it is not implied that you are less for attending trade school versus a famous university.  We all have our parts to play in society, and they are all valuable.

What Makes You Happy?

You will spend about ⅓ of your life at work.  Don’t you want to be sure you do something you love?  Something you love is something only you can decide. Going to college may have been right for your parents or your best friend, but if it isn’t for you, that is okay.  Your chances at a happy life are still just as open and endless. Also, remember that nothing is forever. Take the opportunity when you are young to explore and figure out what works for you.  Heck, nowadays, you can earn money by traveling the world and blogging about it. Have an adventure, and be able to decide what to do after that on your own, with your heart at the center of whatever you do.  

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