This is a guest post by Mariana Ashley
All major decisions in life come packed with their own set of circumstances and sometimes unforeseen consequences. Ideally we should take our time to weigh and sift through our options before taking those big decisions, because ultimately they pave the way to our future paths. The good news is that mindfulness and diligent planning are still the key ingredients in the recipe for success and happiness.
This is especially relevant to high school graduates and young adults who are living in a world that treats higher education as a compulsory choice. While it may be true that many top-paying jobs require a college degree, there are many more good-paying and satisfying jobs that prefer experience over a degree. Yes, education is important, but going to college should not be a shotgun decision.
Higher education is too expensive and time-consuming not to weigh carefully. Yet weighing the options to get to a final decision can bear heavily on anyone’s mind. This is understandable. My practical advice to students is to ask themselves the following 3 questions. Such questions will bring about more clarity, openness to oneself and ultimately a useful guide to a healthy decision.
Why am I seeking higher education?
Dig deep for the true motives behind your desire to go to college. Are you doing it for yourself, your parents or your friends? Are you doing it because everyone else is, or because you have a genuine inclination to pursue a particular career? If your reasons are convoluted, it could be a good sign you aren’t ready for college.
What do I plan on doing with this knowledge?
Once you understand what you want to do with the knowledge you gain in college, you will be able to better choose the courses and, ultimately, the degree of study you need to reach that goal. Deciding on how you hope to use your education after graduation will give more meaning to your four years on campus. You will be more aware and appreciative of the learning opportunity being given to you, and you won’t fail to miss any opportunity that may help you reach your ultimate goal.
What’s my plan for funding my education endeavours?
Most college students have to use federal or private student loans to pay for school. Loans are a blessing, but they can also be a curse. Many students accept them without considering how they will pay them off after graduation. Before applying for college, study up on your school’s tuition rate and fees. Come up with a rough estimate of the total bill at the end of your four years then think about what kind of salary you would need to make to live comfortably and pay off your loans on time. This thoughtful approach to college funding may change your mind about what you plan on majoring in or about going to college.
A big reason why people jump into college before they are ready is because they are afraid that they will “miss the bus.” If you haven’t figured out what you want to major in or why you want to get a degree before you graduate from high school, don’t worry. There is nothing wrong with taking a year off from school and working while you think some more. After all, it’s never too late to get a degree.
May you find happiness and peace on whatever path you choose to take in life!
Mariana Ashley is a freelance education blogger from the New England region. Although many of her articles focus on attending online colleges in Connecticut, Mariana also covers issues affecting student life, careers and lifestyle. Please send your questions and comments to her at Mariana.Ashley031@gmail.com.
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