Reality Check: People Need To Realize The True Value Of College
It's not an uncommon thought, you've probably heard it before, and as tuition prices continuously increase, you're only going to be more likely to hear it again. College is not worth all the money we're paying for it, especially not when, for some people, the debt accrued by taking those four years of classes has the potential to cripple graduates to the point that they won't be able to fully enjoy the fruits of their real world labor.
It's gotten to the point that young people have come to question the necessity of college, pondering whether one really needs to go to school after college to "make it." There may, however, be just one problem with these thoughts, says one young entrepreneur: reality.
“In 9 out of 10 industries, a college degree is a technicality. A lot of people won't even look you in the face without a college degree," says John Marsicano. "Unless you’re Mark Zuckerberg, or Steve Jobs or Bill gates, you need to go to college.”
Marsicano is a 20-year-old student at High Point University and the apprentice of Andy Morris of the New York-based Morris+King Company. His experiences as a collegiate student who's put himself on a path to becoming a PR tycoon have seen him land trips abroad, to China and London, and have seen him straddle either side of the political divide with visits to both the Democratic National Convention as well as the Republican National Convention.
"People say college doesn’t matter anymore. I think the purpose of college and the value of college has changed and not everyone knows that yet," Marsicano said. "College is a holistic education, so yeah, you need to go there and go to class and take the tests. But you’ve got to learn so much else to get that full experience out of it."
Marsicano is studying Strategic Communication & Mandarin Chinese at High Point in North Carolina. Despite the fact that being a double major might suggest a heavy workload, the soon-to-be college junior has made it a point to chase many other challenges with "aggression and obsession."
Furthermore, he suggests that such feelings, which fuel his personal ambition when he wants things, are necessary for students to grasp the great opportunities that are out there for students who show the strong desire for them.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say obsessive as I would say relentless. People aren’t willing to do things for you. You have to be willing to put yourself out there for somebody to give you the opportunities,” the 20-year old said. “Nobody’s going to knock on your door and say ‘hey I’m here to help you achieve your goal, how can I help you?'"
While Marsicano admits that he can see the argument people make in saying that universities don't offer much that can be applied in post-collegiate life, he only admits it to a point. College won't be all that useful when you take the experience at face value (i.e. studying, class, exams, rinse and repeat), but the university experience, he says, is supposed to be much more than that.
College offers students the unique opportunity of living independently with relatively little responsibility, he argues. Students live on their own but have a bevy of unique opportunities at their fingertips, such as those offered by any standard career services office, that are waiting to be taken.
"I think people are more at fault for not taking advantage of opportunities to get them places. Nothing’s going to knock on your door, nobody’s going to email you and ask you if you want to intern for them. Go out and do that."
All in all, though the value of the "best fours years of your life" is being questioned all about, with many seemingly ready to dismiss the idea of the university experience as a whole, Marsicano, despite the fact that his most valued experiences have come away from the classroom, says that students should appreciate their years in school for the unique and precious time for growth that they are.
"Treat college as preparation for life. People will say, 'well college didn’t prepare me for the real world.' But that’s because you didn’t do anything that prepared you for the real world," Marsicano said. "Go abroad, go meet people, join a fraternity. But work on yourself… Do everything you can to put yourself ahead of somebody else."
John Marsicano is a young entrepreneur who is currently working on building a new venture with Andy Morris. Marsicano is also set to become one of the newest contributing writers for Elite Daily in the upcoming weeks. You can follow him and all that he writes on Twitter @JohnMarsicano.