All Voices Matter: pressure of higher education

In+her+weekly+column%2C+All+Voices+Matter%2C+staff+reporter+Aviance+Pritchett+gives+her+take+on+social+and+cultural+issues.+
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All Voices Matter: pressure of higher education

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Prachurjya Shreya

Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

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I come from a family with only a few college graduates. My sister graduated from university when I was in my single-digits, and my cousin is currently in community college to get her prerequisites out of the way.

My sister had guidance from her dad’s side of the family, but my cousin had no one to really turn to, and ended up making decisions that she didn’t put much thought in and made things harder for herself than it needed to be. And since I’m next in line to go to college soon, even I don’t know what’s in store for me. I’ve been focusing more on how much everything will cost; tuition, textbooks, lodging, whatever else fancy college stuff I need to worry about, instead of the fun things, such as finally being able to work in the field I’ve always wanted to be in and how many memories I’ll make.

I look at how New York is starting to have a program with free tuition for colleges, but only a few have been eligible for this opportunity. I look at how student loan debt in America was $1.5 trillion dollars in 2018. In order to solve this, I, and many other high school students, have been told to study, study, study, and apply for this or that scholarship, and take the SAT or ACT multiple times until you reach a high enough score where colleges will consider letting you in. It’s even worse when you’re like me, the third in line to head off into the real world and straight into student debt.

We’re told that we don’t have to go to college, but we don’t enforce the idea enough.”

We’re told that we don’t have to go to college, but we don’t enforce the idea enough. Some people are rich and/or fortunate enough to head straight into the family business, and some people don’t have much of a choice but to go to college if they not only want themselves, but also their families to live in comfort, and even for those who fit in this group, there are some who can’t live in comfort, but are barely getting by.

I don’t have many people to turn to, and times are changing, and I’ve got a vague idea of what I’m heading into, and I’m sure many people can agree. High school tells you more about what you should think about doing, but now what you should be doing. They say ask questions, but sometimes we don’t even know the questions we have.  

It’s frustrating. It’s like you know where you’re going, and there’s so many ways to get there, but you don’t know which path to choose. When you’re like me, you feel so lost and afraid that you’re gonna fail those that you care about.

I think that college should be cheaper and more interactive. I think that high schools should be more involved in helping students with college. But I very much strongly believe in that whether these thoughts of mine are actually put into action or not, there needs to be a stronger emphasis on college. Some people can’t afford it, some don’t feel ready to go, some want to go but don’t even know how, and some just don’t want to. And with rising tuition comes with the rising reluctance in attending college, at least for me.

To me, it seems like we’re taught that we don’t have to go to college, but if you don’t want to be a disappointment to not only your peers but society itself, and you don’t want to be dead on the streets by the age of 25, then you should go to college.”

To me, it seems like we’re taught that we don’t have to go to college, but if you don’t want to be a disappointment to not only your peers but society itself, and you don’t want to be dead on the streets by the age of 25, then you should go to college.

But that’s not true. Anna Wintour, who is an extremely influential icon in the fashion world, didn’t go to college after graduating high school, and Kim Kardashian dropped out of college and is worth millions.

The constant pressure to pursue higher education causes more frustration than motivation, and it honestly feels unnecessary. If you choose not to attend college, it does not make you less worthy or less smarter than everyone else.

It feels isolating, and for some who are already struggling in life, this could potentially do more harm than good. I believe we should just be more open-minded, and also provide more guidance for people like me who don’t really know what they should aim for in their future. What’s the point in encouraging people to go higher than they are now, when we shame and distance ourselves from those who don’t have the means to get there?