Grad School Isn't An Excuse To Avoid The Real World
You see it all nowadays. The economy isn't doing so well, inflation is at an all-time high and keeps rising. Millennial unemployment isn't getting any better with a rate of 16.2% of people between the ages of 18-29. Yet, we're still being sold on the high costs of higher education. As if our first worthless, undergraduate paper weren't bad enough, this generation has been shaped and coached to believe that the second worthless piece of paper from grad school might just be the ticket to the American dream.
The reality is that college is too expensive. The cost of education grows every year and students willingly amass huge burdens of debt, unaware of the detrimental life decisions that they're making. So why is tuition increasing? Has the product changed, adapted and evolved? Has it made itself worth more to you? No. Any Econ 105 class will tell you that.
You're continually paying more for something that hasn't advanced to fit your needs better. To make matters worse, college kids graduate more confused than ever, lost in the campus bubble and unaware of how to function in the real world. The overwhelming excessive extracurricular courses, culture and activity leave kids reeling, exiting college as, if not more, clueless than when they entered.
Even as commonplace as a degree (and the gaping hole of debt that accompanies it) is nowadays, college graduates still carry a ridiculous sense of entitlement. As if Adderall and an essay service are the stepping stones to a high-paying job. Because it's that broken promise we were sold as kids. That wealth, fame and fortune were inexorable consequences of our education. In reality, the Tooth Fairy is a more believable myth.
What they don't tell you as a kid is that most people who have finished their undergraduate studies are lost. They have no sense of direction, no idea what they want to do with their lives, nor how to handle the real world. Scared of the uncapped potential of reality, students find themselves burrowing back into the comforts of another degree, telling themselves it will lead to a better job and more money.
People are using grad school to delay the onslaught of the real world. They're too afraid to face it or don't feel prepared enough because they've clung to the statistic that told them that if they are a grad student they will get paid more and they will get hired faster.
Unfortunately that is just another broken promise to add to the list. The truth is when people go to grad school they are searching for some sort of direction and attempting to ready themselves for the world at hand – yet, it does the exact opposite. If anything, it just takes more time and leaves them way behind in society.
College can only teach you so many things, but two of the biggest are time management and decision-making. There is no need shave off another 3 years of your life sitting in class, finding ways to cheat and get around doing your work just so that you can feel more entitled than everyone and feel like you deserve more out of the world because you are more "educated."
The truth is that continued education is only effective for people who already know which specific fields they are going toward: such as dentistry or neuroscience. But simply being undecided after four years of undergrad and still unsure what you are going to do with your life, hoping that grad school will give you the answer isn't going to do it for you -- I hate to break it to you.
What you weren't told is that experience is everything in this world. No degree, no piece of paper and no recommendation will help you get that dream job you want or that dream pay – and it most certainly won't get you on that yellow brick road to the American dream. Because living a successful and easy life isn't contingent on how well you do in school.
Going to grad school, continuing your education blindly and wasting your time is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Because the truth is that when you're 25 and you just finished grad school, you are more lost than you were when you walked in. Not only did you just waste three valuable years, but you have no real experience in the real world nor have you built any connections because you were too busy putting together your thesis.
Using grad school as an excuse to prolong your entry into adulthood and the mature process of dealing with real problems (not an RA checking your room for drugs nor being stuck in your college relationship) will only hurt you rather than help you. That is exactly what grad school has become, a period to prolong facing the overwhelming thought: "I have no idea what I want to do with my life." Instead of searching for that answer and facing the fear that things might not work, they duck into grad school to delay dealing with the issue.
It's like when we were younger. At one point or another you had to take the floaties off to learn how to swim. At one point or another you had to take the training wheels off the bike to learn how to ride it. Sure you might crash a few times, scrape your knees, but it's about getting up and using it as a learning curve.
What you do when you go to grad school is just keep those training wheels on because you are too afraid to admit that you might fail in the real world, that you won't get a job offer the day you have finished studying. Don't look to grad school as a way of buying time, hoping the job market shapes up and inflation just magically goes away -- it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better and the world is a lot more competitive than you once thought.
Most of us grew up under the impression that if you go to school, get an education, that you will get a good job and live a good life. It couldn't be further from the truth. Back then it might have been true because of the way the world was shaping up, but nowadays it's completely different. Just know that there is someone in India ready to take your spot and is asking for a lot less than you, or there is a new computer microchip that might make your profession obsolete. I have watched friends of mine staff companies.
They too were originally under the impression that it was better to go with the smarter and more polished person, yet those employees ended up disappointing, as they were unable to think outside the box.
What this world needs are people who can think for themselves, who have street smarts as well as book smarts. It's about giving the extra effort and doing the things that school is most likely not going to teach you. It's about working hard, gaining experience and networking your way to the top. When you go to grad school, you cut out three years of this process.
Grad school isn't going to help alleviate that debt. Take a look at the law school model: many students opt for it because they feel as if it is a safe option. The numbers only prove that for every job position open, there are two law school grads. Which means there is a 50% unemployment rate. Sure 20 years ago when our parents were forcing us to be doctors and lawyers, they didn't think that everyone else was also telling their kids to be doctors and lawyers.
Recently I was around a group of college grads that finished last May. Of course the only two questions going around the room were: “What do you do?” and “Do you have any drugs on you?” Mostly everyone in the room was bragging to me that they just got their real estate license and are about to venture out into the real estate world.
Sounds great, but you don't need to go to college to get a real estate license, nor is it a prerequisite, nor is it mandatory. At the age of 18, anyone can take a 75-hour course, pass two tests and get a real estate license. It's the furthest thing form rocket science and it didn't require four years of education. The real estate business is based completely on whom you know, not what you know -- so it'll be quite interesting to see most of these college grads flashing around their licenses and thinking clients are just going to fall out of the sky.
The message to Generation-Y is quite simple. Don't be entitled to anything because nothing is ever handed out in this world. Sure we thought the road would be simpler, but unfortunately it wasn't. Millennials are going to have to create their own destiny and shape their own path.
For those stuck in a cubicle all day hating their job, just know that each day you rot there you are missing out on what you could be doing, something you want to do and the only way to figure that out is with trial and error. The question is are you willing to try or are you just one of those people who prolongs the potential life-long problem of "I have no clue what I'm doing." Newsflash, no one ever did. They just started trying a lot faster than you did.