College- How Much Does it Matter?

Abby Collins, Staff Writer

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As a high school student, I am among a national epidemic: the epidemic of anxiety and mental health issues that is consuming the lives of my generation. It seems that instead of embracing their ephemeral freedom from adulthood’s demands, a majority of high schoolers spend their time immersed in anxiety-inducing pressures. In fact, seventy percent of high school students state that anxiety is a “major problem” among students in their community, according to recent studies. These statistics are not shocking; with social media setting standards and college education becoming glorified, competition for life’s “success” is fiercer than ever. However, how do we define “successful?”

Different people possess different outlooks on the accomplishments that contribute to a “successful” life, but the behaviors of society tend to push students towards the same path: a college degree. While attending college does provide opportunities and benefits for a future career, culture has gotten carried away with it. To previous generations, earning a college degree was rare, unlike today’s generation, which has made higher education a necessity. This “new normal” has resulted in more competition, and it has defined “success” as getting into a prestigious school. The name of the school on your diploma is often treated just as important as the diploma itself. As always, humans will resort to desperate measures to live up to standards of “success.” This is a contributing factor to the skyrocketing levels of anxiety in students due to an excessive drive, and as proven in the 2019 college admissions bribery scandal, some may choose to cross moral boundaries.

What if we changed society’s definition of “success?” What if it was more than a label on a diploma? In terms of life satisfaction, job satisfaction, and income, where and if you go to college is not always significant. All education is valuable, and there are billionaires in our world, such as Bill Gates, that did not even attend a college. In addition, a colossal income does not always equal a meaningful life. “Success” can be defined however a person may choose, not by the definition of culture.

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