By: Krystle Crossman
I have decided that I do not want my son to go to college. Before you react, let me explain.
It started around sophomore year in high school. The pressure to pick a college and pick your major was on. Pamphlets would be strewn about on various tables at school. The guidance counselor’s office had books galore about how to choose the right college, how to apply to college, and how to ace entrance essays. Senior year was all about where you were heading. Some students chose Ivy League schools. Others chose community or state colleges. Those who chose not to go were given sideways glances by their educators for not wanting to further their education. I felt the pressure and then gave in to the pressure.
Right out of high school I went to college. I enrolled in the criminal justice program at Hesser College in Manchester, NH. I wanted to be a crime scene investigator like I had seen on television. It looked like a lot of fun. As I went through my first year of school I realized that no, I did not want to do this for a living as many states required you to be a police officer before you could be an investigator. Since I was nowhere near assertive enough or brave enough to be an officer that was out. One year of school and $11,000 wasted.
Next I moved on to an EMT program in the area. I became an EMT-Basic and then moved on to an EMT-Intermediate. After searching for jobs in the area and finding none and realizing that again, it was not something that I was truly passionate about, my licensure lapsed. Two more years and a few thousand dollars again, wasted.
I went to the community college the following year and got my certificate in phlebotomy. This I turned into a seven year career but there was no money in it and I was not happy. I had to have a full time job as a manager at Pizza Hut while being a phlebotomist to pay the bills. The few months that I spent in this course I would not call a waste as I did enjoy the work, it just didn’t pay enough.
Finally I continued at the community college again and was striving for a nursing degree. I made it through my Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts and the quickly realized that nursing school with a full-time job and being a now-single parent was not going to work at all. Another two years and thousands of dollars wasted. Still I felt the pressure to get a college education. My last stop was back at Hesser College again for a medical coding and billing degree. It was not what I wanted to do at all but I felt that if I didn’t settle for a career now, it would be too late. After a year the course load and work became too much. Another year and another $11,000 wasted.
Through all of these years I continued to feel the pressure to go to college, get a degree, and get a career. Even if it meant that I wasn’t doing what I loved I felt that I would be failing everyone if I didn’t. But I gave up because it just was not what was making me happy. I was miserable. I know that gaining new knowledge is never a waste. After all, thanks to the EMT courses I now know how to deliver a baby, intubate someone who isn’t breathing, insert an IV, and do CPR. But I feel like thanks to the pressure of having to go to college right away I wasted a lot of time and money that I didn’t need to. I found out that my true passion and talent was in photography. How did I learn this? Experience. I got a camera, practiced, picked up clients here and there and now I am a full-fledged professional. I love it. I love what I do and love the memories that I capture. No college necessary.
I want to pass this knowledge on to my son. He is only eight years old now but when he is older he is going to feel that pressure at school. I want him to know that it is okay if he doesn’t know what he wants. I want him to know that if he wants to wait on college and go out to explore different careers by getting jobs first I am behind him 100%. I don’t ever want him to feel like he needs to go to college to please me or anyone else if he is not ready for it. If he chooses to go to college and knows what he wants right out of high school I am behind him every step of the way but I feel it would be more beneficial if he tested the waters in the real world first.