Don't worry, you don't need to go to college at 18

Monday, February 15

By Lisa Porter

When I was 18, I had the world at my feet. I was heading off to college to pursue what I had always been passionate about and the best part was, my parents were paying for it all.  I was lucky, privileged, blessed,  or whatever you wanted  to call it.  I was off to become a journalist.

And, in those two years, I learned so much about not just the world of media communications but also a ton about myself  and when I graduated at 20 years old, I thought I was off to a career and the rest of my life was beginning. Welcome to being a full-fledged adult, right?

Wellllll, spoiler alert; it didn’t turn out that way. And now, 10 years after graduating college, I am still working a dead end job barely making ends meet. I am so far from where I pictured myself at 29.

How did this happen?

Besides the drama of old loves, and highschool tribulations that consumed me well into my 20’s, I hit a roadblock emotionally. 

I second guessed my path in journalism,  and had a change of heart much to my parents' chagrin and figured a career in fashion was better suited for me.   Long story short, at the age of 24, I received my second college diploma in Fashion Marketing. 

OK, now my career was really about to start.   Another spoiler alert; can you guess what it was?

I hit another standstill.

I didn’t feel confident in myself when it came to marketing and I knew I wasn’t ready to pursue a full time grown up job in it so I started working retail full time at a second hand thrift store.

"This is only temporary," I always would tell myself as I threw on my black work uniform with the stupid name tag. 

"I need to figure some things out and then I will get a big girl job."

This would be my mantra for the next 4 years.

Meanwhile, my friends, new and old were getting real time adult jobs without diplomas. I’m talking about teacher assistant jobs with no background in education. A spa ownner without a business degree.  Here I was making $14.00 an hour as a sales associate with 2 diplomas under my belt struggling to make ends meet while my friends were making double the money I was.

Was I a little bitter?

Yes, 100 per cent.  I felt like I had gotten the short end of the stick.

Fast forward to present day,  my thoughts on this have changed. I feel lucky to have those diplomas  tucked away in a file folder somewhere. However,  I now believe that you don't need to go to college to be successful. It doesn't make you a harder worker, a better person or a more  deserving person, people accomplish great things without a higher education. 

I do know that I was one of the lucky ones because  I knew what I wanted to do since I was little. Other high schoolers have no clue what they want to go to college for.  Many adults still have no idea what they want to do. So my advice?

Don’t rush it.

You don’t have to have a college picked out and an acceptance letter to accompany you when you walk across the stage at your high school graduation. You can take your time to figure it out.

Whether it be one year ,five years, or maybe you never go. All that is totally fine, 

Society is changing. College right after high school isn’t as in your face as it used to be and it is more accepting to take a year or so off.

Whether  you are 18 or 28,  married or single, childless or a parent of two, college will always be there as a stepping stone should you need it or want it.

You will go on to do great things with or without it,  this I am sure.

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