American Writer, Photographer, and Website Designer. Former career Fire and EMS Lieutenant. She/Her/Lesbian.

Making The Case For Why I Didn’t Need An Education


Some people say that the only way to get the job you want and live the life you dream of is to go to college, but I disagree with this idea. Not everyone has what it takes to get through a degree program, and in some cases, it can be more beneficial to skip college altogether. This article will explain why I didn’t need an education, and why you might not either.

I was misdiagnosed with ADHD in eighth grade. My high school principal hated me, and my teachers told my parents and I that I wouldn’t be able to get into college. They made outrageous claims that I would have a tough time succeeding in life, and would end up working dead-end jobs and eventually, I’d become a failure. The reality was that I had a very high IQ and was simply bored with the modern educational system and it was difficult to keep me interested in the lesson plans, because they always seemed to be somehow beneath me.

They didn’t know about my high IQ—I had never told them, because even then, I thought that getting good grades were more important than having a high intelligence. My parents wanted the best for me, and thought that boarding school was the perfect solution to prepare me for college. However, in my case it felt like I had lost my family, because I only saw them on vacations.

Boarding school in general is awful, but I certainly experienced plenty of misery at an all-boys boarding school. The mental anguish was difficult to put into words, even for me as a grown woman who has been out of that situation for years. I don’t think anyone can ever understand what it’s like to be at an all-boys boarding school without having been there before.

I am resentful every day that my parents decided to send me when I was younger, and I suggest other parents strongly consider other options besides sending their child away to school when they are still young and impressionable children. When kids are sent away to boarding schools too early, they miss out on some of life’s most important lessons.

These children will grow up believing that friendship isn’t something you nurture—it’s something you acquire. It’s no wonder why so many adults struggle with friendships later in life as if we’re taught that friends come and go like fashion trends; when we never get a chance to develop meaningful relationships with people outside our family or peer group during our formative years.

Most people assume you need a good education to have a successful career, however, that’s not necessarily true. Many of today’s most accomplished and wealthy entrepreneurs and business owners have never finished high school or college. That doesn’t mean they haven’t taken courses on entrepreneurship and marketing from some of world’s best mentors. These business leaders know education is key to their success, but for many of them, it didn’t come from a formal setting. They say if you want to learn how to start your own business then self-education is far more effective than going to university or college—at least when it comes down to learning practical skills that will help you start your own successful business.

With information so easily accessible via books, YouTube videos, podcasts and other sources there really isn’t any excuse not to educate yourself on topics that one finds interesting.

Educating someone is essentially providing them with organized information. This information may be vital, or it may not be something that you could learn by just living life. It doesn’t teach you how to make choices, or how to react in certain situations; it only gives you a framework and means of analyzing that situation. If everyone were given access to an education regardless of class status or financial background, this would be ideal, as it is my opinion that education and access to information is a basic human right.

It is a sad reality that our modern society doesn’t offer the highest quality education for most people. Those whom have access to education are often taught with outdated methods that aren’t useful in today’s world. Most importantly, though, no one truly learns anything when they go through school; they simply memorize what their teachers tell them and parrot it back on exams. Oftentimes students fail to take what they learn from books and apply it to real-life situations or problems—they just remember facts about things that happened long ago. In short, there are better ways to get knowledge than going through formal schooling.

In the United States, there are more than 4,000 accredited colleges and universities. A bachelor’s degree at a public university can cost $15,000 per year on average. This means that if you don’t have a scholarship or if you get out of state tuition, then it will cost approximately $120,000 to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, one must also consider that in most cases students are working and taking time off their studies during which time their loan debt will continue to accrue interest. Therefore some students could have debt in excess of $200,000 by the time they graduate with a Bachelor’s degree.

A college degree is only worth it if you’re pursuing a career in your passion, so don’t make a decision based on what you think someone else wants. No one knows how to succeed in life but you, so follow your heart and pursue your dreams. If college means more student loans, or quitting something you love to study abroad, you’re going to be miserable for no reason. Find what makes you happy, make money at it, and become whoever it is that makes you happiest! Life is too short to do anything besides pursue ones happiness and dreams.

A degree gives you a head start, but there are better ways to learn. Most of what we learn in school is not practical, and although it might get us through entrance exams and land us a job, but it doesn’t equip us for lifelong learning. School is good at producing a competitive work force that can follow simple rules. It is geared towards solving specific problems, not at uncovering new insights or identifying patterns across different situations. Learning isn’t just about taking in information. When we truly understand something, we can use our knowledge to solve problems.

When I was in high school I was taught how to pass an exam on Shakespeare by memorizing lines from Macbeth (the play). This did not make me appreciate Shakespeare any more than if I had read it myself. In fact, my memory of Macbeth is hazy at best (despite having taken notes while reading). What I do remember is spending hours re-reading books and articles on topics that interested me. Reading allowed me to think critically about what I was reading and connect ideas from multiple sources together into new insights.

There are times when we might get stuck in a lesson that doesn’t seem to make sense or be beneficial to us. We then may think that teachers know everything, and if it seems hard or confusing, it must be because we’re stupid. Or, our parents then assume all is well since we are getting good grades in class. There is nothing wrong with questioning what you don’t understand and seeking out other sources for information.

Parents should encourage their children to talk about what they don’t understand with their teachers as often as possible—and if not with them, at least with someone who can help clarify things for them. It’s also important to note that there is no shame in asking questions or admitting you don’t know something. Many people feel embarrassed by asking questions but there are few better ways to learn than by simply asking. The best way to learn anything is through experience, and if your teacher isn’t able to provide you with experiences (or answers) that will allow you to learn on your own, find another source of knowledge. Just remember that as with most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

While having a degree can be helpful and is definitely preferred by some employers, it’s not necessary. In fact, statistics show that employees who focus on what they love and educate themselves in that area make better employees. Employers are attracted to passionate workers and often will pay more for a worker that is educated about their area of interest than an employee who went to college for something completely unrelated to their field of study. It’s much easier for someone to find a job doing what they love then having to work hard at something they don’t enjoy.

The old saying is true that if you do what you love, you’ll never work another day in your life. I believe that wholeheartedly, as it’s much easier to do hard work when you’re doing something you are truly passionate about.

The key to being successful is being able to take each failure and find a way to turn it into a step towards success, then it’s hard to imagine what could stand in your way. It’s very tempting for someone who has never experienced failure to think that he or she can do everything without experiencing any major setbacks; however, entrepreneurs with success stories usually end up having had plenty of failures along their journey. They just learned how to make those failures work for them instead of against them.

There are certainly times when an education can be helpful and may help you get a job. However, it is also important to note that many people have risen to great success without an education at all. Sometimes not having an education is what makes you different than everyone else and allows you to come up with creative ideas no one else could come up with. If having an education can be useful, why does everyone seem to think it’s more important than anything else? Maybe it’s because there are more people looking for jobs who do have one. Maybe it’s because those with degrees tend to find higher paying jobs. Maybe it’s because in today’s day and age getting a degree is looked at as almost a necessity rather than just something that might help you succeed.

Colophon
The image used in this article was previously posted in June 2021 — If You Are A Writer, Please Don’t Marry Another Writer.

Asides
Reflections on My College Education | College Is A Waste Of Time And Money Essay Summary | Academic Purgatory | Why I Decided Not To Go To University


6 responses to “Making The Case For Why I Didn’t Need An Education”

  1. I really appreciate your article, it touches on two subjects that I’ve talked about for years, a college degree and doing what you love.

    Throughout my career I worked primarily in the banking industry where degrees are required for about 95% of the jobs, I found that most degreed employees had little common sense and were reliant upon their book education where I went to business school where I learned the basics for the field I was in so I pushed myself to learn what I knew beyond what anyone else knew or could do so I was paid more and chosen because of my diverse skills.

    My career was based on getting a good income, not on what I love, unfortunately. I know that had I done what I love I wouldn’t have retired when I did. I chose early retirement because I disliked what I did and I was burned out.

    I don’t know if anyone knows this but I learned this because I lived in Germany when I was young, but they have schools that students can go to I believe at middle school age to develop their skills in the field they love, that is what is needed in the US. Actually my son went to an alternate school during high school at no cost to me to learn the skills of a radio DJ, those kinds of options would be great so students follow their passion instead of a paycheck. Great article, it’s very well written.

    • Thank you, Laura! I consider myself one of the lucky ones who was able to have a successful career before the degree requirement, which I see solely as a means of filtering job applicants, completely took hold. I am a 22-year veteran of the fire service, and moved up from the rank of Probationary Firefighter to Firefighter Paramedic Lieutenant. If I were to apply as a brand new applicant today, I would need a minimum 4-year degree. What I find most interesting, abet disturbing, is that the major of ones degree study is largely unimportant, as most people now work jobs that have nothing at all to do with their college majors.

      As for me, I was truly passionate about my career, and took it very seriously. In the latter part of my career, it felt as if I were always on-call, and my job began to become my existence, and identity. I too chose early retirement because I was an active observer in the changes happening to modern society. The last few years of my career, I started seeing an increasing number of murders, child abuse cases, and suicides. The things I experienced at work began to change how I felt about the world, and began to deteriorate my faith in humanity, so I simply told my work that I couldn’t continue, and left.

  2. I cannot imagine having to go to a job with such horrific events that most of us are ignorant of. I can understand your departure from your career nothing is worth your emotional health. I agree and am disturbed by is the relevance of degrees to ones work. I met a young woman years ago that got a degree in physical education, however she and her husband now run a small software company.

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