Monday, June 23, 2014

Why I'm Not Going To College

I know, crazy statement, right? I graduated from high school a month ago next week, after having been homeschooled K-12, and so of course the question is "What next?" Actually, I've been getting that for years, mostly in the form of "Where are you going to college?" My answer has long been "I'm not." It's not because I just want to sit around and do nothing that I'm not going to college. In fact, the reason I didn't post anything last week was because I had a job at a Parent Practicum for Classical Conversations looking after the 3-5 year olds in the play camp while their parents attended the Practicum. I'm not going to college because for me personally it would be a colossal waste of time and money.

I'm not saying college is bad for everyone. If you want to be a doctor, by all means, go to college, medical school, and whatever else is required to practice medicine. I certainly don't want someone operating on me who can't tell the liver from the gall bladder. But what I do say is to know what you are going to do and then get the training you need for it. Don't go out and get a college degree in education and then decide you want to repair air condition units. Neither profession is bad (my dad is in education and my uncle repairs air condition units and has been able to tell us what is wrong with ours before we even have someone out to look at it), but there's no sense in training for one and doing the other.

What am I going to do? Nothing that requires a college degree. Seriously. All I'd be gaining from college would be a useless slip of paper and the opportunity to argue with a bunch of liberal professors while wasting years of my life and creating a student loan debt to drag around the rest of my life. "What about the college experience?" I've definitely heard that one. And I can truly say, "No thanks, I'll do without and gladly." If I felt the need for a college degree, I would go the College Plus route and CLEP out of as many classes as possible and finish online. It saves both time and money. I know people who have successfully earned a degree that way, and it worked for them.

How am I planning to occupy my time? Of course, I'll still be helping around the house with the chores, learning to do important things like grocery shop well, and cook with more variety (congressional campaigns don't leave much time for that, especially when you don't like to cook in the first place).

Naturally, I'll continue to write and publish books. Seeing how I started that even before my last year of high school, I don't really think a college degree is necessary. I haven't learned everything there is to know about writing and publishing and marketing and everything else that goes along with it, but I don't need a college professor to teach me that. To be honest, I've learned more about writing this past year from following K. M. Weiland's blog Helping Writers Become Authors than I did in the rhetoric course I took for school. Any research I need to do, I can do on my own. I have a library card, a driver's license and access to my family's old minivan, and also a computer with internet access. What more do you need? I always remember things I want to learn better than things I have to anyway.

I'll be continuing to babysit. I really love taking care of kids. Call me crazy, but I loved playing with a roomful of 3-5 year olds at the Practicum all day, three days in a row. Sure there we
re challenges, I was dealing with kids after all, but my thought afterwards was, "I wonder if I can do this again next year?" I've been babysitting since my early teens, so nothing has changed there, except that I have more experience and don't freak out when kids misbehave anymore.

I am also a self-taught seamstress. With a little direction from my mom, a lot of trial and error, a few desperate internet searches, and a talk with the seamstress at Colonial Williamsburg, I have learned how to make well-constructed, professional-looking garments. The majority of my clothes are ones I've made myself. I don't have big plans for this skill, seeing how it is very easy for me to get sick of it, but I have in the past sewn many things for pay and taught a girl private sewing lessons . . . all without a college degree.

Then there's music. Yes, for this I've had more actual instruction than figuring it out on my own, but I did learn some piano on my own and I wouldn't have learned violin as quickly as I did if I hadn't been disciplined about practicing. (Not that I'm really all that self disciplined, I just was about violin.) I learned those instruments through private lessons and practice at home. I currently have one violin student and want to take on more, in both violin and piano. All I need to be able to teach is to know the instrument and be able to pass on what I know to others. Our piano teacher doesn't have a degree in music. What happened was that when she was a teenager we said something like, "Hey, Christiana, you've taken piano for a long time. How would you feel about teaching Addy?"

Finally, when God shows me the right man, I would like to get married and have my own kids. I look forward to raising children of my own, and to homeschooling them. "But wait," you might say. "How can you teach your children school without a college degree in education? Teachers have to have a degree." Well, it's true that public school teachers have to have a degree and a teaching license, but there are no such requirements for homeschoolers. And, frankly, I think it quite ridiculous that someone has to go to college to teach K-12. If you graduated from high school, doesn't that mean you learned everything you needed to in your prior years of schooling? Why would someone need a college education to teach five-year-olds their ABCs and 1-2-3s? Or even to teach the Algebra and Physics you learned in school? You got a high school diploma that said you passed those subjects. Why wouldn't you be able to pass it on to the next generation? My point here isn't that if you want to teach public school you shouldn't jump through those hoops, but merely that it is ridiculous to say someone can't teach their own children when they passed high school themselves.

In conclusion, I'm still firm in my decision to save time, money, and headaches by not going to college. I don't need it. I evaluated what I want to do with my adult life and came to a decision based on that, that I personally do not require a college degree. I encourage you to do the same and evaluate whether or not college is necessary to your life, and act on that decision.

21 comments:

  1. God has a plan for your life. I know you are seeking Him about it and that is the most important action to take. You will be great at all you do.

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    1. Thanks! I'm doing my best to follow God, and I know that He will guide me in the right direction.

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  2. Morgan, I think your decision is a very wise one! It's wonderful to see young people that have plans that are logical, well thought out, & much prayed about. I too was once one of those who foolishly thought that college was the most logical next step for everyone! Your hopes to become a mother is & will be the most honorable & important job God will choose for you!

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    1. Thank you! I also believe motherhood is the most important job I could ever have, and I sincerely hope to be able to do it someday.

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  3. Hi, Morgan! I moderate a homeschool group your mom is in and have enjoyed hearing from her about how you've taught yourself sewing and, of course, about your writing. You are an inspiration to me as a mom of girls - one who wants to be a seamstress and one who wants to be an author! I love this post and plan to share it widely. I may also have my writer daughter get in touch with you soon if you'd be willing. She's just starting up her first blog; she is so excited and it would be very inspiring for her to meet a Christian homeschooler who was a published author in her teens.

    Many blessings!

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    1. I'm glad you like this post, though honestly, I never expected so many people to see it and like it. I would love to get in touch with your daughter! I love communicating with other writers and helping them as much as I can.

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  4. I believe there needs to be much more discussion about following the plans God has for us,rather than what society expects. Education is a HUGE money-making business, while true learning is free, only requiring an interest and desire. Thank you for your post.

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  5. As a homeschool mom who has graduated four so far, I love this! None of mine have gone to college, but all are successful in what they have chosen to do. Oldest is married and mom to one, our son is training under a godly man with the hopes of more mission trips (he has been on several and spent a yr in China and India), third drives school bus and works part time in a grocery store, fourth is traveling with us, continuing her studies informally. It will be interesting to see the path the rest of them choose.

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  6. Morgan, I don't know you, so please understand I mean you no disrespect. However, the tone of your post comes across as kind of arrogant. Not necessarily in your choice to not attend college, but in your reasoning, which is primarily: "I can learn everything I need to know without any help beyond books and the internet. Everything else is not necessary, anyway, I am good enough at everything I like."

    It is great that you acknowledge that college is not for everybody - I agree with you, it's not. But are YOU pursuing wisdom, as we are so often called to do in Proverbs? Are you acknowledging the value of the wisdom that university professors have to offer (because it sounds like you are dismissing them out of hand)? College is NOT about a piece of paper, it is about learning. It is about gaining more knowledge and wisdom.*

    I actually work in the clothing industry. By the time I graduated high school (insomuch as a homeschooler can graduate high school, lol), I thought I was pretty darned good at it. I was better than any of my peers, and I could have taught any girl to sew up her own wardrobe. Then I went to school, and I was exceedingly humbled. I didn't realize what I didn't know until I met those people who were so much more knowledgeable than me. So, make sure that you are not dismissing the skill that people have invested in at a university level - they will always be better than you if they have invested more than you. I am not saying that to insult you in any way, it is just a fact. Time invested is directly proportional to skill level. Your piano teacher will never be as skilled at piano as Evgeny Kissin. That does not mean that she is less valuable as a person, it just means that her skill level will never be on par with people who have invested more than her.

    If you do not want to be the best writer you can be, then do not attend college for writing. That's ok, you don't have to be a great writer if that is not in God's plan for you. But speaking of God's plan... What if He never brings you a man to marry? Paul was single, and it was right in God's eyes that he be so. Or what if your husband dies when you have kids to care for (this happened to my family, my dad passed away when my mom still had five children not yet graduated). Then what will you do? Consider the salary you need to live off of (your parents should be able to help you figure out a feasible dollar amount). Even more importantly, consider the salary you will need to care for your parents when they are old and unable to work (Social Security won't pay for much by that point.) They will be in part your responsibility, and you should strive to care for them well.

    Whatever you chose to do, make sure that you are honestly seeking wisdom, for that is honorable to God. You don't know His plan for your life, so it is up to you to prepare yourself to be the best servant you can be.

    Probably you are annoyed at my by now, because I am a random stranger taking it upon myself to give you advise and admonish you for not seeking wisdom. I'm sorry if you are irritated. But this is what I would say to my younger sister (who is your age) if she had stated your sentiments, so I felt moved to offer you my thoughts. I know you probably won't approve this comment to your blog, because all the comments you have approved are universally flattering to your decision. But at least think carefully about whether you are honestly pursuing wisdom, or choosing to be over-confident in yourself in this decision.

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    1. Abigael, I understand what you are saying. I have thought about this for years, prayed about what to do with my life, and still come to this conclusion, with my parents' full support. I'm not saying that I'm "good enough" at everything that matters to me. Not by a long shot. I'm not the best seamstress in the world, nor do I have the desire to use that for more than to clothe myself and to teach other young girls the things I know.

      Yes, college is officially about learning, but often in actuality it is not. Many colleges do more indoctrination than actual teaching. And often they force you to learn things pointless to your life simply to get enough credits. A young woman I know who did College Plus had to study something really stupid in order to get the necessary credits. I forget what it was, but I remember it being utterly pointless. My mom went to college and does not use her degree. In fact, she had to spend many years unlearning what they taught her in college.

      I'm not against learning from others. I do it a lot. But I prefer to go the route of a private tutor. That's how I learn music. My current violin teacher did go to college and study violin performance. She teaches at the same college she attended. I can learn college level violin performance from her without going to college.

      As far as writing goes, I know I'm not the best writer in the world. I'm not at the level of classic authors. But I don't have to go to college to become that. I can take independent writing courses if I so choose. Reading and writing are some of the best ways to improve writing skill, and I don't need to pay for a full college course to do that. I'm not saying that I will never have anyone tutor me in writing. I have people who help me improve my writing, and this outside of a paid college course.

      I'm not saying either that I will stop investing my time in improving my skills now that I am graduated. I keep learning. I keep trying to better my skills. I just am not going to pay boatloads of money to have people who may or may not truly care about bettering my education put me through classes that may or may not actually teach me things I haven't already learned.

      As for not getting married, I am fully aware that I may not ever get married. I am also fully aware that if I do I could be widowed with young children. I know a family in that situation. But I really don't think I would need a college degree in that instance. Teaching even beginner music lessons has good money in it. Even at my current sewing skill level, I could make money selling little girls' clothes and such. One girl in the aforementioned family works at a library. That is another possibility, and I'm not being arrogant by saying that I would probably make a good addition to the staff at our library. Seriously, my local library is one of the worst.

      College degrees are not necessary for success, even extreme success. Rush Limbaugh is one notable example. That is what I'm saying. I can learn on my own and through private means what I need to learn, and even some things that I don't. I have never felt led to attend college, and still do not. It is entirely possible that in the future I may feel compelled to do so, but I do not foresee it.

      As a side note, I have approved every comment submitted to this post. I only employ comment moderation because I once received a very nasty spam post and wish to avoid it in the future.

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    2. Morgan, I apologize for inferring that you have not approved any unflattering comments - that was something that I obviously just assumed without foundation. I'm sorry for that, it was not to my credit.

      Well, I don't want to go on beating a dead horse, so despite my disagreement with you I will simply wish you the best. :) As long as you are honestly pursuing wisdom (and I DO recognize the difference between knowledge and wisdom, but knowledge often leads to wisdom), I am sure you will be just fine. I hope you are able to find the people you need to mentor you in order to enable you become who you want to be. :)

      (One TEENY tiny note, though - I read your mom's comment below; it sounds like she got a degree in education? Might that have in some ways enabled her to be a better homeschooling mom than she otherwise would have been? The learning you do in college never truly falls by the wayside, even if your degree isn't totally relevant to what you ultimately end up doing. Your brain is still pretty formative during those years, so the years of intensified learning in college have a permanent impact on skills acquired later.)

      (Sorry, that is was not teeny tiny. Oops.)

      (Also, I worked at a library! I loved it, I say go for it if you have the chance. You are surrounded by books full of things to learn, all day!)

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    3. Thank you for your apology. I appreciate your willingness to do that.

      Yes, it is true my mom got a degree in education. However, she didn't really use it to better teach us. She often says that it made it harder to begin homeschooling because she had to unlearn what they taught her. We use a classical method in our home, which my mom says barely got a paragraph in her college course. It took her years to get away from what she was told in college in order to teach us the way she does now.

      Mine is not a spur of the moment uninformed decision. Both my parents have learned a ton more of useful things outside of college than in. And, like I said in my original post, if I felt the need for a degree, I would CLEP as much as possible. It is actually a process growing enormously in popularity.

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  7. Hello! You are a good writer. I followed a link from someone's facebook page here.

    "All I'd be gaining from college would be a useless slip of paper and the opportunity to argue with a bunch of liberal professors while wasting years of my life and creating a student loan debt to drag around the rest of my life."

    I wonder - what if are wrong about that? How would you know? Have you truly weighed any evidence to the contrary?

    I ask this because some years ago, I was every bit as certain as you. I was 18. I was taught that college was a "high place." I was taught that the only diploma I needed was the letter written in the lives of the people I would minister to. Here's how convinced I was that I would never go to college: I was offered money to start a college fund by a kindly adopted grandfather, and I told him no.

    Eventually, a friend asked me, "What is God's will for you with regard to college?" I started in on a list of reasons why college was wrong and dangerous and all that. He said, "yeah, I know, I know, but - what is God's will for *you* with regard to college?" boom. That question undid me, and within days I was seeking out a college. I eventually graduated with a computer science degree, which made a job that I love possible. Maybe one class was a wasted class but other than that, every class was a rewarding experience. I learned a lot and I loved it, including learning more about about how to think. (simple example - peruse a copy of "How to Read a Book" by Mortimer Adler - basic stuff but I learned a lot just from that book)

    The time that I delayed going to college did not make it easier. It made it harder on my family and harder with student loans. I trusted God and I know he works all things for good but if I could go back and give 18-year-old-me some advice, I'd really push that guy to do some deeper thinking. I can't go back in time, but something about your post grabbed my attention, so I "blessed" you with that push instead!

    Best wishes.

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    1. I have weighed it in regards to me and there really isn't anything I want to do that requires a college degree, nothing I can't learn equally as well on my own, from a private tutor, or a specialized class. I should read all of How to Read a Book. We have it but I haven't read it all. It just doesn't follow that I have to go to college to learn how to think.

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  8. Though, I do fully appreciate your honesty, your self confidence and your obvious wealth of knowledge, I do have to question the wisdom of your intent.

    I too, like you, was raised in a homeschool environment that pretty much frowned on anything post-1890s. I wore the long skirts, only listened to Al Smith-style hymns and was forbidden to pursue higher education. (unless of course, it was through our homeschool co-op, but that is for another day...) I finished my high school education at home, without a transcript or a legal diploma. I had a lot of talents -- I too was musical, highly profecient and organized, great with kids, and had a natural culinary flare. I lived with my parents until my marriage at the age of 24. Until then, the highest wages I ever earned was around $10/hr. (Great for a single woman with bare-minimum living expenses) But I ask you....

    What if God calls you to a life of singlehood? Will your current earnings be enough to support you? What if God calls you to marry someone who is unable to financially support you? (insert, someone who perhaps is physically-disabled who cannot in good understanding earn wages.) What if you do marry the husband of your dreams, have children, and then God takes away your husband? Will your books sales and music lessons be enough to carry you through the valleys as well as the mountains?

    Please understand, I'm not trying to be curt, but merely pointing out that there is so much more to life than what we "expect" during our single years. Rarely do our dreams come true. (And thankfully so -- God has blessed me far beyond the man I every daydreamed for myself!) I have been where you're at. I had my lofty ideas. They sounded great, but they were not in reality.

    College is not simply a few wasted years on a wasted piece of paper. In the business world it is a recognition of character. (Did you know that most employers require an undergrad degree, and it doesn't even have to be in their fields of expertise?? It's true. They see a degree as a mark of discipline, attentiveness, perserverance, and more.) It's a testimony to those in the world that "hey, this person has what it takes."

    It is also a wonderful asset to ministry and missions. (Did you also know that several countries are closed to missionaries, but are open for those entering on work-visas?) Or what about the mission fields in our own backyards. God may want to use a graduate to better reach those in his field? How awesome a ministry? Not reaching out to those who are just like us, but eating, living and breathing in our mission field with those totally unfamiliar with our Jesus. Those who know nothing -- and we may be their only testimony. We'll never find that misison field if we limit our misison field to our own walls and with our own people.

    Yes, if you plan on being a stay-at-home Mom, maybe your degree isn't necessary. But if God would take your husband, or suddenly health became a serious issue -- outside work may be your only option. Would you have what it takes to support a family,should the need arise.

    Thankfully, I have a husband who lets me pursue my dreams. Which is why I am looking forward to beginning my undergrad either this fall, or winter. Can we make it financially right now? Yes. Am I trusting God for our future? Yes. But just as it is not wrong to apply makeup and comb my hair to better my appearance, it is not wrong to pursue higher education to sharpen my mental abilities and broaden my horizons.

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    1. I was not raised against anything post 1890s. I do not frown on higher education. And I know that many jobs are impossible to get without a degree, but not all are. Perhaps music lessons wouldn't be enough, but performing at weddings is another excellent source of income. I have skills that could, if necessary, support me. I don't know what will happen in the future. I don't know if I will someday have to revise my current position. But I do know that at this time I do not feel led by God to go to college, and so I will not be pursuing it.

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  9. Morgan's mom weighing in here...Morgan has come to these conclusions all on her own and is free to change her mind at any point. We even have a little saved for college courses and have never frowned on young women getting an education. But we also don't feel like the only path to success in life is through a college education. I have a degree that I haven't used since before I had children, and my interests have changed in the past 20 years to the point that I would not get that same degree if I were to pursue one now. So...Morgan is free to pursue whatever path God has her on at this particular moment, whether she ever goes to college or not. As a young person, she has the liberty to figure these things out. And we fully support helping her figure it out. As a side note, if I were to find myself widowed, I would probably not go back into the field of education, even though that is my degree. At this point in my life, the last thing I want to be is a school teacher, and my license has been expired for years. Even with a college degree, I would have to pursue other training to get a job, unless the things I have been doing in my "spare time" would lead to a job. So...the best course is to follow God's will, no matter where it takes you.

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  10. I remember graduating in 1989 from homeschooling and having many of the convictions and thoughts you have now. I would encourage you to get a vocational skill that you could support yourself financially. I did not get married until i was almost 29 years old to my wonderful husband. I am a stay at home mom too. But i have realized reality of getting training to support oneself and it doesnt have to ne a four year college degree. If something happened to my husband i could only get a minimum wage job to support my family because i dont have higher education or a trade....like a beautician,etc. I am 42 years old and going back to school is so much easier when you are young. I could not depend upon my parents because my dad died this year from his battle from Alzeihmers and my mom is 74 years old and her health is bad . Please think of yourself 20 plus years from now....i wish i had gotten an education to fall back on. You may not get married, something could happen to your parents. Trust me if i was your age again i would become a nurse or something. I thought the same way as you in 1989. Be wise with your choices in life. Cathy Dumont

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    1. I agree that the ability to support one's self does not have to be from a college degree. I have many vocational skills. I am training in music, which has an infinite number of uses, from teaching to various types of performing. If I so choose, my violin teacher has offered to ready me to play for weddings and sometimes hire me to play with her. My sewing is also something to fall back on, and I have toyed around with the idea of setting up an Etsy shop to sell little girl clothes. Not sure if I will, but that's a possibility. And I'm just getting started as an author. So I am pursuing vocational skills, and saving money. I just don't think college is necessary to my life.

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  11. Great post! I love this. It's so encouraging to see other girls who purpose to do what they know is right and not follow the crowd just because that's what the crowd does. I get those same questions, and many people even try to goad me into out-right arguments about it. I know God doesn't want me to go to college; I know because I asked Him and He gave me an answer. I love to discover there are other girls out there who believe like me. I'm not the only one ^^

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  12. Hi Morgan!
    Just another complete stranger here giving you their two cents worth. ;-) I was also homeschooled K-12. After three years of being home, I did end up going to college and getting a teaching degree. But what I wish someone would have told me back then was about all the opportunities out there besides just staying home or going to secular college. There are some amazing Bible schools out there that just give you a foundation in the Bible, share all kinds of mission opportunities, and just give you a chance to meet other young adults who love Jesus. Frontier School of the Bible in WY is where my hubby and I ended up after we finally got married (I was 26). Working at a Christian summer camp for four summers was a huge part of God growing me. There are just so many opportunities out there! I wish I had known about more of them earlier in my life.

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