One of the most common refrains I see among those who are “Post-Traumatic College Graduates” is a variation of the old saying “We wuz robbed”. Or to put it differently:
“[My parents/friends/society/the government/space aliens] convinced me to go the most prestigious college possible and get a degree, which would guarantee me a job and grant me important life skills. Now, I’ve graduated – I don’t have a job, the skills which I acquired are useless outside of academia, and those of my friends who dropped out or never went are making more money than me. Someone must pay.”
OK, I’m not going to make any friends by saying this, but here goes:
Once you reach the age of 18, you are an adult, responsible for both your actions and well-being. You can vote, you can be sent to prison and not juvenile hall if you break the law, and in many countries you can drink alcohol. In Israel, you are considered sufficiently mature to be able to kill and be killed in defense of your country. You are not a helpless child. Yes, there are different social pressures which you will be under going to college and learning there, but ultimately the responsibility is yours.
- You are the one who can decide whether to take the easy, but useless courses or take challenging, skill-building ones. The same goes for subjects.
- You are the one who can work to develop healthy habits and attitudes rather than drink, party and hook up all the time.
- You are the one who can insist on running up huge student debt for the dubious prestige of social bragging rights instead of going to a less prestigious, but more affordable school.
- You are the one who can either develop a healthy work ethic or be someone who consistently procrastinates or slacks off, and most importantly:
You, and you alone, are the one who will bear the consequences of the decisions you make from here on in.
If you are unwilling to accept this simple reality and insist on placing the onus on someone else, then read no further. Let me know when you get your head out of your ass.
For those who accept this fundamental truth, read on. I will do my best to provide you with tools and advice for how to be a self-reliant, responsible and educated adult. I hope that it will help you on your journey.
NEXT: Tip #2: Don’t just do your homework about colleges, do the same for professions