My son is in his junior year of high school; the time when teenagers are looking at colleges, taking SATs, and thinking about their future. Teachers, parents, and grandparent expect that their kids will go to college, but let’s be honest…. college isn’t for everyone. Somehow that gets forgotten. Don’t get me wrong…I value education. I am halfway through my Master of Science in Nursing program. I wish my son wanted to go to college, but he doesn’t….and that’s okay.
I have always stressed the value of an education to him, whether it be college or a trade school. We spent time talking about how you have to have a marketable skill. How a job making minimum wage is not enough to support himself on. Do I wish he had this overwhelming desire to be a doctor? Of course, but he doesn’t.
Unfortunately for him, his high school doesn’t seem ok with it. He has to research colleges and write papers on them. Some classes are spent going to school sponsored college fairs. It was stressing him out to the point that he was afraid to tell me that he didn’t want to go to college, and I am not okay with that. I never want him to be afraid to tell me something.
We talked about it and we looked at his options together. We looked at some trade programs and made plans to attend some open houses and talk to admissions there. We talked about how people entering the trades are so necessary now. With more kids going to college, less and less are entering the trades. He seemed so relieved. I also made sure that he understood that he still always has the option of going to college later if he chooses. After all, look at me….it took me 18 years after becoming a nurse to go back for my Bachelors degree. It made me so sad to see how truly stressed this made him. It was like a weight had been lifted once he told me. I never want him to feel like he is a disappointing me.
With more than 40% of college graduates taking positions after college that do not require a degree and more than 1 out of 5 college graduates working in a job not requiring a degree after 10 years, trade programs are a viable option. Most are significantly less expensive and are much shorter programs, letting students enter into the workforce earlier. We have all needed a plumber, electrician, or mechanic at some point in our life. While college is a great option for many, it is not the only option. We need to teach kids this……not to think that they are less or won’t succeed in life because they choose not to go to college.
So no, my son isn’t going to college. And that’s okay.