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Thread: Is a college degree essential? (was "career advice")

  1. #1
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    Is a college degree essential? (was "career advice")

    My name is Kevin and I'm 15. I realize I'm young but I'm already thinking of my future, and I hope not to be yelled at, but I am seriously considering not going to college. Here are the reasons:

    1) I do not really have a passion for any major I could find in college.
    2) Expensive.
    3) I want to be succesful on my own, not just because a piece of paper degree says I am.
    4) I want to decide my own life - as in, I wanna move where I wanna move, live where I wanna live when I'm older, not based upon colleges and such.


    Instead of "college" I was considering a brief floral school, so I could eventually open my own floral shop along with my partner. Does this bring in sufficient income or is college REALLY needed?

    Moderator note:
    <Gedunker> Thread titles edited for clarity
    Last edited by Gedunker; 25 Nov 2006 at 11:16 PM.

  2. #2
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kdm31091 View post
    My name is Kevin and I'm 15. I realize I'm young but I'm already thinking of my future, and I hope not to be yelled at, but I am seriously considering not going to college. Here are the reasons:

    1) I do not really have a passion for any major I could find in college.
    2) Expensive.
    3) I want to be succesful on my own, not just because a piece of paper degree says I am.
    4) I want to decide my own life - as in, I wanna move where I wanna move, live where I wanna live when I'm older, not based upon colleges and such.


    Instead of "college" I was considering a brief floral school, so I could eventually open my own floral shop along with my partner. Does this bring in sufficient income or is college REALLY needed?
    It's great that you're considering your future at age 15.....not sure how much advice you're going to find here though.....this message board is geared toward urban/town/city planners....not career planners.

    Feel free to stick around....maybe you'll find planning or something dealing with the built environment something worth pursuing.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  3. #3
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    Well anyone have more advice?

  4. #4
    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I don't believe that college is for everyone. I think that if you have a goal or focus in life that doesn't involve higher education than more power to you. For me, it was more a matter of cost-efficiency. If I went to college for four years I would increase my pay over my lifetime. Well worth the degree. Now I am working towards my Master, which again will increase my pay and happens to be in the field that I truly enjoy.

    I am also one of the odd ones that found planning in high school and have since wanted to be a planner, so I chose a college that had an undergraduate program and had a great time. But that was because I found something that I enjoyed doing in college.

    You don't have to go to college to be successful, that has been proven. But think about the rest of your life and the goals that you hope to achieve. Can they be accomplished without college? If so, then don't go. But if a degree will be a barrier in your moving forward towards your life goal, then go to college. Get a degree in something that remotely interests you. You will probably change it twice while you are there anyways. And in the end you might not go into what you went to school for, but might have found something that you might want to get a graduate degree in.

    Moral of the long post- Do what you feel will allow you the future you want. Don't be shortsighted and think that the work isn't worth it, or that it will be too hard. Floral school might be the perfect place for you, but what about a horticulture degree? That's all I got. Good luck.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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    You think an associate's in horticulture will help? I figure community college is much cheaper & faster to accomplish my goal, but will associate's in horticulture be worth anything?

  6. #6
    i think a combination of a business degree and an art degree would be the best way to proceed. With the business courses, you'd learn how to write a business plan, prepare for taxes (workman's comp, social security, local taxes, states taxes, federal taxes, occupational taxes, business license fees and on and on and on). With economics classes you'd be able to anticipate market trends and evaluate your competitors. With the art degree you would be exposed to design themes that could lead you ever higher. Throw in some marketing, some English, and some technology classes and you'd be good to go.

    Definitely, in this day and age, you need a degree.
    Je suis Charlie Hebdo. Je suis Bataclan. Je suis Bruxelles. Je suis Nice.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I recently heard that 85&#37; of jobs in America are skilled work and only 15% are unskilled. That doesn't mean you must get a degree but it does mean most people are better off with a degree than without one. For example, studies typically indicate that a high school dropout makes only half what a high school graduate makes over the course of their life and a college graduate makes twice again what the HS graduate makes. Of course statistical averages say nothing really about what will happen for a particular individual, however it is the safe way to "bet" (which is why parents tend to want their kids to get a degree).

    Let me note here that many degrees are more like "training" than "an education". An education teaches you to think and equips you for life generally. Training is more aimed at providing specific job skills. So training is more readily employable -- which is part of why we try to give people on welfare training but generally deny them access to a real education. Education tends to be reserved for those of privilege. It also tends to make more "ordinary" people into more privileged people, regardless of their income. If you want to read a good book on that, you could look for "Riches for the Poor: The Clemente Course in Humanities."

    Let me also note that Madonna and Bill Gates are both college drop-outs, that a college degree often gets in the way of developing entrepreneurial skills, and that being an entrepreneur is simultaneously the fastest, surest way to wealth and also a great way to go broke. Many entrepreneurs have a string of failed businesses behind them before they Make It. But there are also lots of entrepreneurs with college degrees. (They often use the title "consultant".) There are many good books out there on the topic of making your own business successful, some of which will tell you that a degree in business is a nice thing to have after you have a successful business but the act of completing a degree beforehand seems to go a long way towards removing the risk-taking spirit required to succeed at such a venture (or maybe it means you didn't have that spirit to begin with) -- which may explain why Bill Gates attended Harvard for a time but didn't manage to finish his degree. Entrepreneurs often have difficulty doing things like finishing a degree because they are results oriented and tend to take classes for the knowledge and skills it gives them, not the credentials. So they often move on after they got what they needed, but before they have fulfilled the requirements of the college.

    Last, we (folks on Cyburbia) are really the wrong people to talk to. Since you already know what you would like to do, you should go looking for people (online or not) who are doing that and ask them how they did it and what they would recommend. A good book with advice on doing that type of thing is "What color is your parachute?", which is far more than just a job hunting book.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Michele Zone; 26 Nov 2006 at 4:26 AM.

  8. #8
    Time and age could change your mind drastically. I would try to enjoy your teenage years for what they are, set some goals for yourself and decide about your future when its time. You have a quite a ways to go so enjoy it. I'm a big promoter for volunteer work. Get involved and explore your interests hands on.

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