Know exactly why you’re attending college

Know+exactly+why+youre+attending+college

Elijah Dercks

Having spent the last four years as a professional photographer, videographer and entrepreneur whilst attending NMU, I have been made to ask again and again why we all attend college in the first place. Specifically, how is a class in chemistry going to help someone going to be an accountant?

For me this question is where I started to find myself. The idea is evident in our culture that we must all attend college, no matter if we know what we want to do or not. So millennials did, which contributed to them being the most educated generation in United States history, according to PEW Research. With some graduates reaching as much as $100,000 in debt, we become one of the first generations to start with almost insurmountable amount of debt right out of the gates. 

For me and my decision to major in art and design, there is not much I can’t learn on my own easily. So what I have come to see is the idea that just because you have a degree doesn’t mean you need it to do what you want to do.  

For example, I started my own company as a junior in high school. Through it, I have learned more—and retained more of what I learned while running and operating it—than I have yet to learn in my courses here at NMU. 

This is not to say that college is not good for some, and there are many degrees that college is essential for. But that is where it becomes important to understand and think about what you really want to do before you make the financial and time commitment of college.  

Don’t rush into college because it is what you think society or your family might want you to do, but rather, go for you when you truly believe it will be worth your time and money. 

Keep in mind that not every occupation needs a degree, and a degree is not the only way one can be measured in the
job market.  

When you take the time to look into what you want to do—keeping in mind that you may have a couple years of college under your belt—depending on the trajectory of your life, you’ll need to face the decision to either stop taking classes and resume at a later date, or just graduate with a degree you may not use. 

It is not always the right decision to finish, but that doesn’t mean that if you take a break from college you can then later realize you want to go back. You will always have those credits that can be used toward a
degree in the future.  

The main thought I walk away with is that college is not always good, and not always bad; it is a decision that individuals need to consider what they are doing and why they are doing it. 

I talk in depth about these ideas and other thoughts on my Youtube Channel, @elijahdercks_.

Elijah Dercks is a junior, art and design major.