Stress Over College Options
This past weekend, we were at the park for a photo shoot. Daughter_02 was recently diagnosed with a neurological disorder (for more info, check out What is AS?). She is being featured in a local article which will promote awareness for kids with disabilities.
As the session ended and we were getting packed up, the photographer and coordinator entered into a very familiar discussion. Their teenagers were graduating highschool, so it was time to compare grades, college choices, etc. There was some serious stress being communicated about grades and strengths and weaknesses of various colleges.
It got me thinking.
Consider the Outcomes
Excellent grades, college choice, degree – insert any educational buzz term – do not guarantee success.
If that were true, then the people who go to the best schools and make the best grades would be the most successful in life, right? And we know that just isn’t true.
There are plenty of hard working people who completely skipped the coursework, hit the grindstone, and made a successful living. Similarly, there are plenty of straight-A students who can’t find and keep a good job to save their lives. The same goes for those who under-perform at work on a daily basis. I work with many of them…so do you.
A Little About Me
I graduated highschool with a 2.9 GPA. I didn’t take the SAT or the ACT. I didn’t go to a big college in my first year. I went to a technical college, spent a year there, got a B average and qualified for a basic state scholarship that paid a few thousand dollars per semester, and then transferred to the big university of my state.
Three years later, I dropped out of that school to take my first real job. I took F’s for four classes because I didn’t think to withdraw with a ‘W’. Years later, I decided to go back to school while working to finish my degree. I went back on academic probation with a 1.9 GPA.
Fast forward 10 years from the day I dropped out, and I am completely debt-free with an Associates, Bachelors, and even an MBA. My first job paid for my AS, and my current job paid for my MBA. I cashflowed my Bachelors degree while working and paying off debt. At 31 years old, my net worth should crack $500K this year, and I share this with you only because I want you to understand where I think success happens.
Success Starts and Ends With YOU.
Regardless of your educational pedigree, at the end of the day, if you can’t deliver, you will not be successful.
This statement can be applied to both paying off debt and finding success in generating income, whether it’s working a 9-5 or owning your own business. Sure, there is some luck involved, but ultimately the school your kids choose (or you choose, if you are a student) will matter little if they do not know how to work hard and think for themselves.
Trade Schools and Highly Skilled Professions
This is not to say that choosing a school which offers the right education for a specific field is a bad thing. Obtaining a good education on a trade skill is a perfect way to prepare someone to go out and APPLY that knowledge and be compensated for it.
There are plenty of professions which require specific training, and those professions can be some of the highest paying professions around. However, good luck being successful with any degree without being able to think, work hard, and add value in your job.
So What? Implications
Let’s call it what it is: education; and what it is not: job success. Education is a tool to be wielded. If I could suggest a few key areas of education you could invest time, where I think the school system does a poor job: Personal Finance and Budgeting, Time Management, Real Estate(basics), and hey I’ll throw in an elective: Long Distance Relationships Don’t Work.
From a financial perspective, try to get education done as economically as you can. Consider spending two years at a technical school and then transferring to a four-year school. Stay off-campus, at home, or get a few roommates in an apartment. Consider getting a job where tuition is reimbursed. Once you have 3-4 years of work experience, your education becomes less valuable anyway.
What is your success story? Was it because of high school grades, college choice, hard work, all the above?