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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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    Jun 6 2013: Colin, as a rising college junior, I'm going to do my best to talk about this without talking about job markets or societal norms or anything.

    First of all, while you think you "have it all figured out" now, you probably don't. Plans definitely change, just ask any college student who's changed their major. You want a simple life, and I applaud you for that, but something to think about it how you're going to achieve it. It also depends on how you define success. Would you find success only in achieving the life you desire after high school? In other words, is what you will have gained in high school enough?

    Perhaps, perhaps not. As decisions go, this isn't really one that should make you lose sleep at this point. But I would argue that college (of any kind, not just a four year bachelor's degree kind) will help you discover another dimension of yourself that you didn't know you had. And it could range anywhere from "Ooh, I enjoy drawing things. I didn't know that," to "Wow, I actually have quite an interest in Pre-Revolutionary France." Nothing is off limits. (I myself learned how to skateboard)

    I think that college (at least in the United States) is frightening because it represents mainly student loans and crushing monotony, being forced to make decisions that will pave the road of the rest of your existence. However, I encourage you to look at it in another light. Perhaps instead of only receiving a little piece of paper at the end of your four years that says "I AM NOW QUALIFIED TO DO THE THING," you can look at it as a sum total of experiences that you would never have anticipated, but wouldn't gig up for all the student loans (or lack there of) in the world.

    And a little piece of paper that tells your qualifications. That'll be nice too.

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