We know this probably isn’t what you want to hear as you start university, but… you might not belong in college. It’s an inflammatory statement, for sure, but the fact is that some people just don’t need to have a four-year degree.
That’s not to say you don’t belong in school. A post-secondary education is pretty much crucial in a competitive job market, but if you’re entering university aimlessly, knowing you should go to school for something instead of having a clear direction, you might want to drop out.
But dropping out needs to come with a plan. You can’t just leave school and spend the rest of your life playing video games in your parents’ garage. Unfortunately you’re an adult, which means you need to pull your own weight. There are alternatives to a basic bachelor’s degree, and they might be better suited to your personality and expectations for the future.
Here’s how to decide whether or not pursuing something other than university is for you.
You’re in it for the paycheck
If you’re just looking to make fat stacks and get paid, there are several other career options that won’t take as much time or money as a four-year degree. All jobs require some training, and in some cases even technical school, but blue collar jobs can offer higher salaries than jobs that require four-year degrees. And you can do it without the debt. According to Forbes, careers like aircraft mechanics, building inspectors, surveyors and more make a mean salary of nearly $60,000 a year. Try not to rub it in your friends’ faces when they accumulate your salary’s worth of debt in school.
You’re a hands-on learner
Life in university is exam after exam, lecture after lecture. True, if you’re a science major, you might learn in a lab, but for the rest of us, university education is more about theory than implementation. So your typical political science undergrad might be able to muse about how the two party system is destroying America, there’s little they can do with it until they get their law degree or masters to teach. If you’re a hands-on person and you work better when you can do it yourself, not just hear what you need to do, becoming an electrician, mechanic or operator of some sort might be for you. You can work directly under a professional learning skills as an apprentice and still make decent cash while you do it. Take that, student loans!
You don’t really know what you want to do
Others might encourage you to attend a four-year university, even when you’re not sure what degree you want to pursue. If you attend more than a year of university while being an undeclared major, you’re going to get off track quickly and rack up some serious debt in the mean time. If you truly feel like you belong at university and are yet to decide what degree you want to pursue, stay. If you feel like your life skills would be better applied somewhere else, it’s time to start looking into alternative education that will better suit your needs and desires.