The single most important thing that I’ve learned that school won’t teach you, is that school isn’t that important. By school, I mean college and by important I mean, as a testament to intelligence or happiness.
My mom didn’t go to college until I was in grade school so I grew up watching her struggle as a student/waitress and finally succeed in becoming a teacher. I think because of her struggles, my mom beat it into my head that college was the only way for success. Obviously she’s right if I wanted to be successful in certain careers but what I want to do with my life doesn’t require a degree. After spending three semi miserable years in college, I decided to quit. It wasn’t making me happy and I still wasn’t sure what I wanted a degree in. For a few years after quitting, I had intentions to go back and finish my degree. But 6 years later, those intentions are gone. I can honestly say that I doubt I will ever return to a university. I’m just not interested and my happiness is found elsewhere. I used to feel a bit inadequate for being a college drop out but those feelings have also subsided. While I don’t have a piece of paper saying that I completed a course of study, I’m an intelligent person. I’ve been educated through reading and travel and parenthood and more generally, just life. I may never be able to legally teach my own class at a public school but I have taught my own boys how to read and write before they’ve entered that public school. On the opposite end of my lack of a degree are people I know who can barely speak the english language (though it’s their first language) and have finished their college education. I can’t bring myself to believe that they’re more educated simply because they went to school.
When it comes to my children I hold the same beliefs. I don’t care if they go to college. I have some really smart kids and I hold them to very high expectations but not just in school – in life. They will move on to have their own life when they’re done with high school, but whether that’s college, traveling, volunteering, working, etc, doesn’t matter to me. As long as they are making forward progress, doing good in the world, and happy, I will be content with their choices.
I’ll leave you with this article that I found interesting. Our view of education is changing…