Why Teens Shouldn’t Be Forced Into College.

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There is a certain order, a good 90% or more of people believe in when it comes to “education”. I say that in quotation marks, because many have a different idea of what “education” is; specifically when that certain order of education comes into question. A lot of parents and families believe that right after high school, you attend college, and then from college you get a billion dollar paying job as a doctor, CEO, or lawyer, you get married, you f***k and make babies, retire, and then you die.

Now lets back track to when you were in high school, when the only things on your mind were what your peers thought of you, the latest bands, if Justin or Justine liked you, dances, and passing Mr. Jones’s Geometry class. Most of us don’t have any idea of what the real world is, let alone what we want to do for the rest of our lives. Most high schools don’t even prepare you for “real world” things like taxes or how to take out a credit card and grow your credit; two of the most important things in your adult life when it comes to money.

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Now, I’m not saying that all teens don’t know what they want to do, and if they do and want to go and pursue an education to achieve that right out of high school, then by all means they should. However, not all teens know what they want to do, and making them take up a higher education when they are not ready for it can damage their chances of going back later, when they are ready. In contrast, some teens do know what they want to do, but their parents or families don’t approve for one reason or another, and forcing your kid to pick a field that you approve of isn’t right either.

When I graduated high school I was exhausted and boarder line suicidal. I had been having trouble with geometry and the idea that I wasn’t going to graduate had been weighing on me heavily, plus the stress of passing every other class.

Once I graduated, I was done with school, I wanted to work and save some money to move out and maybe travel… But that wasn’t my family’s plan for me.

I had gotten a job offer to be a waitress at a neighbors new opening restaurant. It was going to be minimum wage but it was a start. The neighbor came over to my house to interview me, when my mother opened the door and said,

“Hi, yeah she’s not interested in the job anymore. Thank you so much.”

Afterwards, my mom came to me and said that she didn’t pay for twelve years of “private school” (I went to catholic school, I have some choice words for what that was like, but that’s a different story) for me to wind up waiting tables the rest of my life. And with that I  started college just two weeks after I graduated high school and not surprising to say I failed all my classes.

Now, I’m not gonna say I didn’t at least have some idea of what I wanted to do with my life at that time. I had always wanted to become a teacher because of how horrid of an education I had in elementary and middle school, but this was not something my family approved of because of how little teachers would get paid; so I settled for an animation certification because I liked anime at the time.

Not surprising to say, I got poor grades in all my classes and today I have 1.9 grade point average. I did get the animation certificate, but have nothing to show for it and probably never will, but at the very least it got my parents to shut up.

Jumping to six years down the line, I’m married, I’ve worked odd jobs like babysitting, personal assistant, and as a beach psychic for a new age shop, I’ve gotten scammed, I’ve traveled, and I’ve decided I want to go back to school… The other day I went and sat down with a counselor at my local community college to discuss getting a bachelors degree in teaching, because it’s what I’ve always wanted to do and I didn’t have anyone to stop me. I was ready to start clean and not think about the 1.9 grade point average that was floating around in another life; that was until the counselor told me those grades never go away… ever.

See it’s a funny thing when you want to transfer to a four year college and you have that nasty low grade point average, you have to tell them about it. Even if you go to another community college to redo those grades, you have to disclose them, otherwise you run the risk of loosing your bachelors degree. Amazing right!?

But… Can’t you retake the class and they’ll replace it?

The answer is maybe and it depends on each individual college, and how many times you repeated the class in the first place, a lot of the times they will take both grades and average them out. So even if you retake the class and get an A, you’re not getting the A.

When I was told this, I wanted to cry. Not only had a ton of money been spent on getting a certificate that I will never ever use, but I had at least 8 or 10 years worth of schooling ahead of me if I even wanted to consider get my teaching credential.

I’ve heard many arguments of why college isn’t right for a lot of people, whether it be life long debt, no real world experience, or it’s just plain old not for me. However, for me, the one argument I have against it is that unlike your elementary and high school grades, your college grades will always follow you; and if you don’t take it seriously when you’re 18 and have no idea what you want to do it will come back and bite you when you do. It’ll wind up costing you not only in more money, but also emotionally and mentally because it will take that much longer to finish everything.

Right now I’m fighting with my old college to try and get academic renewal but to get that depends on each individual college and is a pain in the ass on it’s own. Long story short, don’t force your teenager straight out of high school to go to college unless it’s something he or she wants.

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