Aug 3, 2016

To College or Not to College?

I can’t help but ask the question: Is college worth it?

As tuition, gas prices, and sea levels rise…I can’t help but ask the question: is college worth it?

I say that as one of the lucky ones. I had loving parents that helped me where they could. I went to a decent University. As of today, I only have twenty-something left in debt. However, I can’t help but wonder if it’s worth it for the next generation? Hell, was it even worth it for me?

Again, I count my blessings. I work in the film industry–I have a major in creative writing, and a minor in film. I work in the industry I was prepared for. Nonetheless, half of the folks I work with don’t have college degrees, and the other half majored in crap like communications or (God help them) Fine Art. And just about all of them are better at their jobs than me. I can’t help but feel slighted.

Recently, I had the to opportunity to shepherd around a bunch of high school interns on a commercial production. I enjoyed walking around, explaining the process while keeping them out of the way of a crotchety film crew. Of all their questions, most popular was “What university has the best film program?”

Kid, I don’t know. Not KU, that’s for sure. Don’t get me wrong, I loved college. My writing was scrutinized under some of the finest minds I’ve ever come into contact with. Because of my college education, I have a better grasp of history, literature, film, French, and astronomy (that was the best class I’ve ever taken. Absolutely worth all the math). At the same time, how much of my learning can I apply to my career?

Zilch.

A lot of folks argue that college is an incubating period for young minds. “Listen, man. College is a time where you can find yourself. Figure yourself out.” That’s bull shit. That’s what high school is for. That’s what traveling abroad is for, or working your first crap job. I have found out more about myself from scrubbing floors than I have in any lecture hall.

College is about cultivation. It’s about plugging the next generation into society.  I spent the first two years of my college career “finding myself” and all I learned was 1) academic probation sucks, and 2) even expensive vodka tastes like shit. When I finally got my shit together and graduated, I couldn’t help but ask myself: was this worth it?

A lot of millenials are getting out of college and finding out that all that money they (or their parents) spent might as well have been spent on a backpacking trip through Europe. What’s the point of getting a degree nowadays? I’ll admit that doctors, lawyers, engineers and the like should probably go ahead and finish. But what about the Liberal Arts majors?

I’m not saying anything new here. This has all been discussed at some point or another. I’m just saying that we need to keep talking about it, because something’s amiss. I’m starting to feel guilty about advising kids to go to college, and that’s wrong.

Dennis Dorrell
Just passionate about the art of storytelling.

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