When I started my second year at Columbus State, I had an amazing ASL 3 teacher. But something I kept finding myself doing was really annoying me. I kept comparing where he was in life to where I was. He had 2 bachelor degrees, a master’s degree, and was starting on a Ph. D. before he decided he needed to get out into the world and get some experience.
Have I mentioned he’s two years younger than me?
Then I realized I needed to stop comparing myself to other people. There was nothing wrong with the fact that I was two years older than him and working on an associate’s years after finishing my bachelor’s. Now, there are times the phrase “I wish…” floats into my mind, but I’ve learned to banish it every time. If I had done something differently, I wouldn’t be the person I am now: happily married and happily working on a master’s degree in Popular Culture.
The reason I’m telling you all of this is because you need to do what is right for you. What is right for you isn’t what is right for someone else. But that’s not what society says. Especially when it comes to education. You’re supposed to finish high school, immediately go to college and earn a four-year degree, do whatever further education you need to get a job in the field, and go get a job.
That is not for everyone!
There are so many things you can do when you have graduated from high school. Immediately entering the workforce is not the worst decision one can make. There are plenty of jobs out there that need to be done to keep the world going, and you don’t need a college degree for it. If you like fixing machines or taking care of trash or want to deliver the mail, there’s nothing wrong with that! We need people to do that!
Take a year off! A gap year is becoming an option that is viewed as more acceptable in society’s eyes, which means it’s happening more. It gives you time to adjust to the fact that you’re not in high school anymore. The time to think about what you might want to do next. It also gives you time to set some money aside before embarking on the next phase of your life.
Community College is not a bad thing. Community College gives you a chance to get two years of college in before deciding what to do next. Sometimes it’s to transfer to a four-year college and get a bachelor’s degree. Sometimes it’s to graduate and start working. Either way, I feel it’s an option that gets overlooked until it’s too late.
Of course, there’s also the four-year college or university. But even then, four-years to get a degree is not a common occurrence anymore. Many degrees take longer than that to earn. Also, there’s the chance you might change majors during your time there. I did. This is one option where you really don’t want to take too much time to decide. The longer you’re in college, the more money it costs. But if you’re not sure, there’s nothing wrong with leaving until you decide what is best for you. It can be a waste of money to stay while you’re trying to figure it out.
Anyway, the whole point of saying all of this is you know what’s best for you. Be your own yardstick. I have friends who started college and left when they knew they needed time to figure things out. I started out in Engineering, got my BA in Speech and Hearing Science, took 6 years off, went to Community College for interpreting, decided interpreting isn’t for me, and now am working on a MA in Popular Culture. A friend of mine’s oldest took a gap year, and her middle child is planning to take one too. My parents decided on their majors and now have bachelor’s degrees that they don’t use.
Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s progress. You are unique. So is your progress!