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I Won't Encourage My Sons to Go to College

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My undergraduate experience was so much fun! I was able to join a sorority, travel to different cities to party and I even fell in love and had babies out of wedlock.

Now, saddled with student loans I can barely pay and no job offers in my field, I have had to take a long, hard look at what a college education did for me and how it has impacted the lives of those around me. Sure, nearly all of my friends boast multiple degrees and hold highly respected positions as attorneys, doctors and journalists, yet nearly all of them seem unsatisfied by their career choices, often asking, “Why did I want to do this again?”

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As technology advances, the American dream transitions with it, and we are learning that the most brilliant minds are self-taught, not trained. With access to a seemingly limitless amount of information, encouraging today’s child to go to college in order to be a success is the same as giving them a dollar and asking them to pay the rent; it is simply not enough.

Earning a college education positions your child to go out and possibly land a "good job." In recent history we raised generations of workers, eager to commit to the success of innovators if it meant that they could buy a beer or a new dress every weekend. Maintaining a good job means understanding the importance of following precise instructions and doing what is necessary to preserve the institution that financially supports you. Yet, the freedom fighters, the change makers and the movers of our society have a passion for self-sufficiency that extends far beyond trading hours for wages.

I suggested that if he wants to go to college for the fun of it he should, but it is not at all necessary.

I am uninterested in raising worker bees, not because I don’t think they are important, but because I don’t want my children’s livelihood to depend on someone else’s ability to lead. I don’t want my sons to be saddled to a career choice they outgrow simply because they do not understand the magic of invention and creation that leads to financial independence.

My 10-year-old has proclaimed his desire to be a chef since he was old enough to speak. I suggested that if he wants to go to college for the fun of it he should, but it is not at all necessary. After his required education, he can instantly move on to educating himself in his specialization. In the meantime he should get as much practice as he can. My 12-year-old son has no clue what he wants to be, and I think that is perfectly fine. To pique his interests I have been feeding him Forbes articles about young innovators, encouraging him to try his hand at entrepreneurship because it is the only real way to learn the principles of life success.

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Yes, college was a marvelous adventure for me; my greatest gift from it was becoming a mom. The greatest gift I hope to pass on to my children is the proclivity to step past old traditions that no longer serve them, and to mold their futures into what they want it to be—starting right now.

If they want to go to college, so be it, but it is not a requirement in my eyes. The only thing I require is that they think about their choices and make a decision based on the lifestyle they wish to experience. I hope they will choose to experiment and learn on their own, instead of investing in a formal education. Which will most likely reward them with a lifetime commitment to making someone else’s dream come true.

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