Skipping university was ‘smartest decision’

An excellent student from a blue-collar family in Canada, Kathy Shaidle thinks not going to university was “one of the smartest decisions of my life.” With a two-year media degree from a community college, she launched a successful career and “paid off my relatively puny student loans in short order.”

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  1. “But, though her reasons for not going to university “sound pretty stupid,” she considers it “one of the smartest decisions of my life.””

    “Stupid” changes to “smartest” in hindsight.

    Don’t get me wrong. I think that there are many great opportunities, but you really should have a plan. However, some jobs require a certain piece of paper. It’s been like that more or less forever. My father didn’t go back to college after WWII and thereafter paid the price even though he was doing the same work.

    A vocational school in our area is very highly regarded and good jobs are waiting for these students. You get an associate or a full college degree. That’s pretty good flexibility if you decide to later transfer to the university. Even the community college has agreements about automatic acceptance and transfer of credit to the university.

    Ms. Shaidle is really not talking about whether to go to college or not. Her original reasons for not going to the university are pretty poor. The real message is to look at all of the non-typical choices, but you better see which doors are being closed and which ones will be tough to reopen. However, there is a lot to be said for commuting to a community college or university the first couple of years. I commuted to UCONN for my first two years and then transferred to Michigan. I lost some credits in the transfer, but I had zero debt after two years and ended up in a program that was just what I wanted.

  2. It all depends on what you want to do with your life. University isn’t for everyone. It all depends on what you want to achieve. Some students have goals that university is best suited to help them achieve. But, other students have goals which going to university wouldn’t help. I want to become a principal, so I will need to go to university to learn how to be a principal. Let’s say I was similar to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates,I knew how to make great computers without completing a university education, and I was making a living off of that. If my only purpose for going to university was to make a living, then going to university would be pointless for me. So, I can imagine why some students would skip out on going to university.

    • Stacy in NJ says:

      The problem is that most young people don’t know what they want to do. They think that by just getting a degree that process will lead to an epiphany. That’s true for some but for others college is an expensive self-discovery project that doesn’t pan out.

  3. Is a two-year college diploma the better option? As stated above, it depends on what your goals are. Is your goal to get out into the work force sooner and with less expense? Does the college degree fulfill the requirements of the job that you are looking for? And will this job (or type of job) provide you with long-term satisfaction? If these questions can be answered positively, then why not go for a two-year college education like Ms. Shaidle did.