Post-school options outside of college deserve more respect

Bradyn Johnson | The Chronicle

Throughout our adolescent years we have been taught that attending college is the best way to ensure a great future. We’ve been taught that college is the only way to succeed. While college does provide young adults with a terrific education, it is not the only way to learn and become a wiser adult.

The only semi-logical explanation for college being so heralded would be that graduating college is considered the best way to provide better financial and job benefits, which is not always the truth. It is unfair to deem someone unworthy or lesser simply because they chose not to attend college when there are many reasons as to why teens don’t want to attend college, from expensive costs to their intended career not requiring a college education in order to succeed. Construction, plumbing, the postal service, welding and fast food are all examples of vital occupations that do not require higher education, and frowning upon individuals that are interested in these jobs just because they aren’t considering the university lifestyle does not benefit anyone. 

One way that schools encourage their students to attend college are college fairs, where representatives from various local universities stop by and hand out pamphlets explaining their curriculum. They are used to help teens find which colleges fit their needs and wishes. But how are these fairs helping students whose interests transcend college? 

Are these students supposed to figure their futures out for themselves because they were passionate about something that didn’t require further education? 

I always see the armed forces at different schools inviting teens to think about joining different military groups such as the Army, Navy, and Air Force. Things like that usually mean opportunities for the kids that want to join the armed forces, which is a step in the right direction. But what about the people that don’t want to join military groups or go to college? It is almost like we have disregarded these individuals’ futures because they have taken an unfamiliar route. Instead of pushing them off to the side, it would be beneficial to provide college absentees with a job fair to encourage a different path of education.

It’s not like job fairs are an unrealistic expectation. The Cincinnati area is home to large companies such as P&G and the global operations division of General Electric, local startups, and there are multiple job opportunities in between that cater to a lot of interests. Companies are always looking to recruit more and more individuals especially because of the unemployment rates post-pandemic, making this a great opportunity for students and recruiters alike, so organizing this fair could definitely be achievable.

With how prevalent college preparation is within the course curriculum, it feels like school has become less about preparing students for the real world and more about shifting that responsibility to college. By providing a job fair, it would reduce the stigma around pursuing other trades and provide resources for students who are otherwise expected to either figure it out on their own or unwillingly go to college.

Illustration by Alisha Verma