Rj Bender: why college isn’t for me

Preview of Bender's music video for his upcoming single, "Sinner". Video courtesy of Bender.

Rj Bender, Contributor

In most cases, college prepares you for the future. Despite this, many people, including myself, choose to discover new ways to develop a stable income without a college degree.

 The amount of students attending college has been on a downward trend, and it is set to continue that way. Students have had to learn remotely from home due to the coronavirus; more are taking gap years in response. Some believe that online coursework is not worth the massive amount of tuition that is spent, amounts so large that attending higher education often leads to lifelong debt. 

Others are beginning to realize that if you put in countless hours of work and do the research, you can learn something you enjoy that is also profitable and sustainable. This path can often be a better option than pursuing a higher education such as college.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the student loan debt has grown to $1.57 trillion. During his Presidential campaign, current President Joe Biden claimed he would enact student loan forgiveness programs––a promise that has yet to come to fruition.

There are many jobs that hire based on talent, not college degrees. If you master something in half the time you would spend going to college, you could start making money earlier. Another benefit is that it’s likely a job that you have more interest in anyways. A few examples of jobs that hire based on merit are software developers, graphic designers, construction workers, assistant managers, business owners and entrepreneurs, music engineers, music producers, and many more.

According to author David Kirp, a professor at USC and author of The College Dropout Scandal, “40 percent of college freshmen never make its commencement.” Furthermore, it is not guaranteed that you will receive a high-paying job after graduation––you have to do that on your own. Does this really seem promising — beginning one’s adult life economically worse without a degree, or having a degree that promises nothing in return?

Some people worry that by not going to college, they will miss out on important aspects of their early adulthood, whether it be partying, joining Greek life, or even just living in a dorm. 

What they fail to realize is that in the long run, you will have to start being serious about your future, and none of those experiences will provide anything except for memories.  Furthermore, what’s so wrong with starting your career early? You can get ahead of your peers, and in a sense, grow up a little faster.

College is not necessary in order to be successful in life. Doing what you want and chasing your dreams ultimately will bring you more happiness than attending an educational institution just because of societal pressure. I have personally developed multiple streams of income, earning over $2,000 a month — just while in high school — based on the knowledge that I’ve taught myself with music engineering. My plan is to keep growing and expanding. 

Always know that if college doesn’t seem like your thing, you’re not alone. Spend your time wisely, gaining knowledge you can spread with others. Surround yourself with people that better you, and live your dreams. 

Rj Bender is a senior at Emmaus High School.