The Problem With School

When I went to college, it was relatively inexpensive, especially if you went to a State school. I went to a music conservatory at a private university so it was more expensive: tuition was $6,000 per year. That was affordable. At $20K + per year, school is no longer affordable. Affordable means that you can afford it. If you have to take out a loan to pay for something, that means you cannot afford it. What do you come away with after a typical college education? A degree, for starters. A degree that is recognized and valued mainly within the system that created it--Academia. More and more we are seeing that lots of successful people are turning away from traditional employment routes, and creating not only their own businesses but also their own lines of work. A "job" is not necessarily satisfying to the soul, although it may keep the landlord and the electric company happy. But why should you spend 40 hours a week doing something you are ambivalent about, or that you hate, just to please the landlord and the electric company? It is your obligation to discover the type of work that is meaningful to you and makes you happy. This may be hard to do. Many people are so unconnected to their soul, their inner being, that they can't even figure out what would make them happy. Meanwhile, you go to school hoping for school to hand you this type of meaningful work on a silver platter. And school is happy to lead you on in thinking this will happen. The typical college will fill up your dance card with so many required courses that you wont even have time to sleep. I was at a dinner party at the home of a colleague. Another guest brought his daughter, who was 17 and was applying to colleges to study photography. "Don't do that," my colleague advised her. "If you want to be a professional photographer, just go to the photography schools and labs, and look on the bulletin boards for professional photographers seeking an assistant." My friend's daughter was shocked. How many adults advise a kid NOT to go to college? She listened as my friend continued: "Be the assistant of a professional photographer, get paid, learn the techniques, learn the business, make contacts, and start meeting other professionals in the field. At the same time, you can be doing your own work. Why do you need to go to school and get a degree? Just go out and start doing what you want to do, right now!" As school becomes more and more expensive, the above method is preferred by more and more young, aspiring professionals. You can apply this method to virtually any field, including medicine. Medicine? Why not. Are you passionate about being a healer? Then why do you need the traditional medical school route? There are many, many other healing modalities that work, and have been working for thousands of years. Don't let the AMA fool you into thinking that they invented medical care. Don't get me wrong--school can be a great experience and a great opportunity. If you can afford it, go to school. But is it still worth it if at the end of your senior year you're buried under $80 K in debt? Finding meaningful work is not only your obligation to yourself and to the universe, it is also your birthright. Each of us has natural skills and talents that can be developed into something that is of service to others, and therefore marketable. If you need help figuring out what kind of work you would love to do, check out Clif High's advice here: The old models aren't working anymore. Let's change them.

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