Growing up, my parents pushed me to go to college. I was an A-student in high school, and graduated with honors at the top of my class, but unbeknownst to many that know me, college was not my first choice in terms of what to do after high school. I wanted to pursue going to cosmetology school because I love hair and makeup, but my parents said, "No! You're going to college, so you better start applying." Being an obedient 17-year old, I started applying for colleges in my state, and got scholarships to attend numerous universities including the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Jackson State University and a few others. Most schools offered me a partial scholarship, so I decided to choose a university that gave me a full scholarship so that I would not have to trouble myself with student loans in the future. The school I chose to attend was an historical black college/university (HBCU) by the name of Jackson State University located in the heart of Jackson, Mississippi. Both of my parents went to this school years ago, along with a number of my other relatives, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and give it a try.
Being a person of African decent, I just knew I would fit in perfectly, but when I first stepped foot on campus, I was timid because I had never been around so many black people in one setting in my life. I mean there were thousands of black people everywhere. There were a few Caucasians and foreign students, on campus, but they were considered the minority compared to everyone else on campus. Attending JSU was definitely a culture shock coming from a school that was almost predominately white, but I was up for the challenge, and was actually excited to be around so many people that were like me. I moved on campus and had a roommate by the name of Ximena. I did not know her before I moved on campus, and we did not really develop a close relationship because we were two different people, with two different personalities. We never had a disagreement, but we just did our own thing. I was sadden to hear that she recently passed away, because she had such a sweet spirit.
The first week I moved on campus, the university had a DJ outside, in the middle of campus, blasting the latest hip hop music. This, I absolutely loved! At one point during the night, while the DJ was still entertaining the new and old students, the upperclassmen all started doing a synchronized line dance to Ying Yang Twinz, "Whistle While You Twerk". This, I had never seen before and it truly amazed me. I said to myself, this is definitely going to be worth it. The entertainment and social life of college is like non other, but is stressing out over a piece of paper called a degree really worth the headache?
For some people, yes, it is. In my case, it is not. I graduated with a bachelor's degree in Political Science with a concentration in Legal Studies. It took many sleepless nights, many double-digit paged research papers, presentations, notes, and tests, just to walk across the field and hear my name being called out before a crowd of thousand, and receiving my diploma. I will say, this was an accomplishment, and it made my parents very proud, but what I do for a living right now, has nothing to do with political science. In fact, none of the jobs I have held had anything to do with Political Science, and I am now 27 years old. Studies show that the majority of people who graduate with a college degree do not end up working in their field of study unless they are in the medical or teaching profession.
I currently work in property management, and do numerous of freelance jobs on the side that are hobbies, but actually earn me extra income. I am a makeup artist, author, style consultant, speaker, and Christian blogger. All of which I have achieved without any of the knowledge I learned while in college. Is college worth the debt? Heck no! I cannot speak too much on this subject, because as I stated earlier, I got a full scholarship to go for free, therefore, I was not out of any money for tuition or room/board. If I was, I would be absolutely livid because the skills that I now use for income have nothing to do with the degree I pursued.
By all means, I am not trying to discourage anyone from going to college and earning a degree.
I think it is great to have and I will personally encourage my kids to go to college so they can have something to fall back on. I actually have college funds set up for them already. Nowadays, a bachelor's degree is as common as a high school diploma, because almost everyone has one. I will say that going to college does give you credibility in the professional world because it shows that you have a bit of self control to complete an optional education for higher learning.
The college social-life experience is definitely worth both the headache and the debt, if you happen to go that route. There is nothing like experiencing life away from home with millennials that are working towards furthering their education. College is a great place to meet new people, make friends, and network with like-minded individuals. It will amaze you where some of your college classmates end up in life and it is cool to be able to say, "Hey, I knew him/her from college!"