Welcome to THEJNSREPORT’S: THE HIGHER EDUCATION GAME
Years ago when my siblings and I were growing up, we were told that the way to get ahead in life and avoid jail was to follow the paradigm of go to school, get good grades and a good education. This would lead to a decent if not well paying job in order to support yourself and your family. College was something I heard mixed reviews about. Some said that it was too expensive and the focus of our generation should be on learning a trade skill where one could earn an average to above average salary working with one’s hands.
Others said studies show that a college degree would allow it’s holder to earn upwards of 4 to 10x the earnings of a non college graduate over the course of a career. It seemed like the logical choice was clear unless you took into account the socio – economic background of the person seeking upward mobility. America is the land of opportunity no doubt, but there are rules and systems in place that don’t necessarily allow for a level playing field where the brightest, or best, or most talented thrive.
The trap or dilemma I thought about most as a young adult preparing to enter the world of the working class was based on what industry I wanted to enter and knowing there was an opportunity cost. The opportunity cost basically said “If you choose this path, this is the amount of debt you will owe which inherently makes you a slave to whichever profession you choose. This is because unlike unsecured debt, a student loan has to be repaid and can’t be gotten rid off simply by declaring bankruptcy.
The way I see higher education today it’s nothing more than a giant racket and the costs continue to sky rocket. What happens when a student assumes too much debt and decides the career path they had chosen previously they no longer want to pursue? There’s a huge decision to be made no doubt. Either enter the profession chosen and spend the first five years (at least ) of your immediate future repaying student loans until you can actually start saving all those payments and interest, or choose another path and potentially owe for the rest of your life a massive student loan debt that follows you everywhere you go affecting everything you have a need to apply for be it housing, a car, or anything requiring a credit check.
Thinking down the line it became clear that once you become engrained in a culture five or even ten years in, the likelihood of you switching careers or the desire to leave would be lost to routine, comfort and being settled. This doesn’t mean that change won’t happen. It can happen whether we’re prepared for it or not. A company can go out of business or an industry can relocate over seas. Either way it will force those of us affected to pick up the pieces and figure out the next phase of life. One thing I’ve come to understand is this, no matter how educated or prepared we think we are at various stages of life, things can and do change. I think we can never stop learning and never stop looking for ways to gain knowledge without paying through the nose for it.