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Is college really as important as our society today has made it out to be?

I'm a freshman in high school. My guidance counselors and teachers basically say tell me if I don't go to college my life will be miserable. I want to live a simple life. I have figured it out. I know that may seem weird, but that is what I want. I want to live in a small apartment with not much in it and just enjoy the small things in life. Is college actually necessary to succeed at all in life?

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Closing Statement from Colin Petre

Thanks alot for all the replies. It really helped me. I'm probably just going to figure everything out my junior year when it's time to make it.

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  • R N

    • +6
    May 26 2013: College certainly is not as important as our society today "has made it out to be". The hyperbole surrounding higher education is part of a broader societal misconception about human happiness. Even the positive psychology movement, a movement built on the objective of promoting the use of psychological methods to enrich lives and increase happiness, has found in their own studies that happiness is 50% genetic. Given that the movement is ideologically biased against such a finding, my guess is that well more than half of your subjective well-being is based on what mom and dad gave you to work with (genetically-speaking). To me, this suggests that there are, in fact, very few decisions that will dramatically alter your day-to-day mood (other than, say, getting addicted to heroin, where you could chemically damage the very parts of your brain that deal with certain pleasures).

    So, no, going to college won't give you all the answers you're looking for, guarantee a successful adult life, or even ensure you meet the right people to "get ahead". And, in and of itself, college isn't going to make you a happier person. However, depending on what you want, attending college can increase the likelihood of certain positive outcomes: financial freedom and a satisfying career (though there is some debate as to whether this is correlation or causation). These outcomes, while not dramatically transforming your experience for the better, can make life somewhat more meaningful, comfortable, and rewarding.

    The question for you, Colin, is how sure are you that you have "figured it out"? If you really just want to live in an apartment and "enjoy the small things in life" then college would be a waste of your time. However if, for example, you find you want a family then you are going to have to think about how you will support them. Providing well for your family will require money. And college is one way of increasing your chances of having those resources.
    • May 26 2013: I really liked what R N told here. Collin, nothing is necessary to succeed at all. But it can open your mind to new things, new ideas, new reasons, not only to get a job, get paid, get your stuff. Every knowledge given is an oportunity to change your life, our world or even to know that the subject is not good at all.

      Even if you want to live in a small apartment (I'm sure you will love the talks of Graham Hill and the LifeEdited in TED, that man knows how to live in small places!) the knowledge that you will increase in college can change you, and how you can see things, even enjoying small things in a better way.
      Success is not the goal, I guess. It's about how it's done.

      And, of course, respecting your decisions is part of it.

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