Why I Go To College (and Why You Shouldn’t)

In my last year of high school, mom, dad, and basically everyone asked me, “To which university will you continue your study?” “What major will you take?” and so on. I had no idea what I want to become back then, so I chose a major that I thought I would enjoy studying.

All of it happened so naturally and no one questioned why everything goes this way. It’s like a pattern that people expect me to take. It’s like when I go home with the same route over and over, unconsciously, without wondering why I should take this route and not another.

I was reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert T. Kiyosaki when I found myself thinking, “Why do I go to college?”

Why? Why? Why? To get a good job? To satisfy my parents? To devote myself to study more?

I asked deeper to myself:
Why do I want to get a good job? To be financially secure? Will getting a job make me financially secure? Why should I get a job? Do I want to be someone else’s slave? (Pardon my language, but that’s what I think.)

I know I want to make parents proud, but is going to university the only thing I can do to reach that?

And why should I spend a hell lot of money (it’s IDR10,000,000 in my campus for one semester) to study, while in this era I can get all the resources from internet? How about joining a community or volunteering for something and learn something real from that? Am I that close-minded and uncreative to not consider other options?

So why do I go to college?

Frankly, I’m just following the path.

Oh my, it’s very hard to admit it out loud, but yes, I had no idea what I’m getting myself into when I was in my last year of high school.

No one asked me why I wanted to continue my study to university. As I previously said, it’s kind of obligatory for me to get a bachelor’s degree. The pressure from family, friends, and,  even society is very high—they will consider me as stupid if I don’t get at least bachelor’s degree.

It is very conservative and close-minded to think like that; I believe my education doesn’t necessarily define how smart I am, how successful I will be, or what kind of person I’ll become.

Had I known earlier what I would be facing if I go to college, maybe I would take a gap year. Or start a biz, learn new skills and become so good at it, travel, write a book… I don’t know. The option is limitless.

There are three kinds of people: the poor, the middle, and the rich. My parents are the middle. The middle usually get high education,  go get a job, spend money on consumptive goods, unsatisfied with their current salaries, get higher education and expect pay raise, get promoted, spend more money on what they think is assets but actually liabilities, and work until the rest of their life. They work mainly to pay bills, get a vacation for a few weeks in a year, and then fall back into routines.

The pattern is set; it is called Rat Race. Does it look familiar, that pattern?

Do you often hear a story that someone is rich and a leader of many people smarter than him, meanwhile he’s just a college dropout or his highest education is only high school? Isn’t it unfair for us who have spent so much money on our education, and yet people who are lower than us can boss us around? Don’t you think you can be more than them?

Then why does it happen?

The answer is very simple: they are financially literate. The rich knows how money works and finds thousand ways to make money works for them. The middle, on the other hand, doesn’t understand that. Therefore they work their butts off for money, which is just an illusion by the way.

Financial literacy is extremely important; yet no one teaches it in school or university. Don’t ask me why; I have no idea.

One more thing, what people tend to forget is specification also means limitation. The higher your education, the more limited your options will be. Your mind will be trained to think that way, in a way you’re already familiar with. It won’t happen though if you read books or meet people from different backgrounds.

Hey, cheer up! I’m also a college student you know, haha. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to college at all; my point is do it with a good reason. A great, fantastic reason, and only you who know what it is.

Also don’t forget to educate yourself financially.

Asri F. Septarizky