My $20,000 Piece of Paper

Is university even a choice now?

Diploma... It takes a minimum of 4 years, countless hours of studying, and a student debt (for most that is) to get. The anxiety and stress of not performing well in university is insane, parents and family and even friends telling you the importance of graduating and paying so much money all for, at the end of the day, a piece of paper. 

I am a university grad. I worked hard for that piece of paper. I paid a lot for that piece of paper. But now as I look at it I wonder to myself, was it all worth it? Yes, I have a job in my field and yes I have proven to be quite lucky and successful for a recent graduate, but I wonder now why did I really go to University. 

I question what really made me decide way back in high school that I was going to go to university. The answer was not because it was an organic choice. But rather as a young teen it is something that is drilled in your head, that you need to go to university, or college, in order to be successful in life. That you would be nothing in society without that piece of paper.

Your teachers and parents drill it in your head that you have to go so much so that it becomes a form of peer pressure. You start thinking to yourself, "I need that piece of paper or I won't become anything in life." No matter what your initial thought was, it changes because for 2 years of high school that is all that seems to matter. Getting into a university when you are not even really sure that it is what you want to do with your life. 

Before, I never realized how much pressure there was for young teens to decide on a university. But now, everyday when I travel to work I see signs from different universities everywhere. All saying how their campus and programs are the best. Reinforcing what our teachers and parents told us from day one, that we need to go there. 

There is this ad that I have seen, it is taken down now, but it was saying how if you didn't go to college or university you were not going to make it in life. What kind of message does that tell anyone? That if you do not get a post secondary education then you will amount to nothing? The ad is speaking to those who have not done so because it was not the right choice for them, which is fine, and saying how they are low-lives and will not be successful in life. 

What message does this send in our society? What about those who cannot afford to get that piece of paper? Are we deeming them to be stupid, when in reality they just are not in a financially sound place to be able to pay around $20,000 for a piece of paper. 

Some of the most successful people did not go to college or ended up dropping out. Steve Jobs for one, dropped out of college due to finical troubles. Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computers, dropped out of university for personal reasoning. 

We rely too heavily on a piece of paper naming our intelligence when there are other factors in play. 

It is now a normalized thing, that once you are done high school you are expected to go to university. The only decision you really have is which university you want to attend and what program do you want to be in. It is almost forced upon you that you have no choice in the matter. 

I ask, is it worth it? Is going through all the stress and the financial issue really worth it for a piece of paper? Is it worth it for those who really do not feel as though it is the right place for them?

 But then again, whose choice is it anyways?

Hannah Elliott
Hannah Elliott

Canadian Girl writing about her Canadian life. Giving advice on things I think I'm good at. Telling my opinion on things that are close to home.

Now Reading
My $20,000 Piece of Paper