*This story is very informal in structure and was written during a period in which I felt the need to get my thoughts in writing. In other words, this is a product of its time. Grammar Nazis beware...*
Why do people go to college? Why do people end up making the decision of leaving home and "pursue" their dreams in a big city? Why do people think that the only way to be successful in life is to get a degree in a field that is undesirable to the recipient? It's insane.
Imagine this. You just graduated from high school. You spend the first week of summer partying and having a good time with friends. You spend the rest of that summer in your hometown before heading out to a distant city for that big school you got accepted to. You say your last goodbyes as you make your way to airport security lines and board the flight that takes you to your destination.
You arrive and you're going in with a positive mindset. You've set the bar for what you are trying to achieve. You strive for that 4.0 and you won't let anything get in the way of that. You start to make a game plan. Finding all the resources available builds reassurance that everything is going to be great. You are thinking that you've made the best choice of your life and nothing can possibly go wrong...
...only to find out that you were living a false reality...
You lose yourself in the heat of everything that's going on around you. You look for the source of your misery only to find out that the only reason you decided to leave town was that you were convinced by everyone else that it would have been in your "best interest." These individuals could be your parents, family members, teachers, friends, your dog, etc. I don't care. You let someone else decide your future. And now you can't do anything about it because you are in debt and at risk of going back home to a family that will not accept you for being a failure.
...Look. Go ahead and call me out. I know that many people would think that I, as an individual, lack the capacity to do well in my post-secondary education. I can't stress enough my feelings towards this social stigma. I can respect that there are people out there with a set goal in their mind that would REQUIRE them going out and getting a degree, but college is not for everybody. The inevitable need to get a job and make money to live is a primary factor in pushing people to go out and invest money into a school that tailors to their education.
But wait! Where are you going to school? You applied to that university that's overshadowed by the bigger names out there because you were trying to afford an already expensive pursuit? You might be screwed.
Yep. That's real. And it is a huge bias that plagues the market today. There are employers out there that base their certainty off of candidates that come from big-name schools (I don't need to supply a list, as if you have gotten to this point, you can generate a list of top-tier schools that were just too expensive to invest your finances in.) This harsh reality is what makes going to school less desirable because there is nothing worse than getting a degree from a lesser-known college that is inferior to a degree of the same nature obtained at an Ivy League institution.
Look, I am in no way advocating for the demolition of these institutions. That would just be a waste of money. I am speaking from my own heart when I say that I have felt miserable and hopeless as a result of putting everyone's expectations above my capabilities. I let others decide my destiny and there is no one else to blame here but myself.
Don't let anyone tell you what to do when it comes to your future. Let them advise and give you "directions" on how to proceed, but take the actions that are best for YOU. If anyone opposes you for it, let them go and move on with your life. Better to be selfish and live better than to please someone else and be miserable for it. That is my synopsis.