As an experienced educator and administrator at a university, I've witnessed firsthand the transformative power of higher education. While a four-year degree might not suit everyone, education's undeniable impact on one's life is remarkable. Whether it's a traditional degree or vocational training, any form of education can open doors to a brighter future.
Diverse Pathways to Success
As I mentioned above, education comes in many forms. For those inclined towards hands-on work, trades like plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, roofing, and mechanics offer valuable skills that are always in demand. These trades not only provide fulfilling careers but also the opportunity to contribute to society in meaningful ways.
2. Success Stories from Various Routes
Consider the story of a young person I know named Gia who pursued an associates degree before venturing into esthetician school. This unique path led her to start a very successful business (Gemmed by Gia). This anecdote serves as a reminder that the possibilities are endless, and education can pave the way for unexpected yet rewarding opportunities.
Another example is the story of a long-time friend who went to an HBCU, did well, and initially took the opportunity to work for others until he realized that he could contribute to his community in greater ways if he worked for himself. Brother D opened Food for the Soul and it has become an icon in the Boston community starting from a humble restaurant, and expanding to much more including catering and a conduit for addressing food insecurity.
3. What you can do
Parents, mentors, and guardians play a vital role in encouraging their children and students to embrace education. While social media and online resources have their place, they can't replace the comprehensive learning experience that education institutions provide. Guiding students toward educational avenues, whether traditional or vocational, sets them on a course for personal and professional growth.
4. An Investment that Lasts
Investing in education is akin to depositing money in a bank, but the dividends are knowledge, skills, and self-improvement to name a few. The learning acquired both inside and outside the classroom becomes an invaluable asset that no one can take away. It enriches one's life, enhances problem-solving abilities, and fosters a greater understanding of the world.
As I bring this thought to a close, I hope that I was able to convey that the benefits of continuing education beyond high school are immeasurable. And I also recognize my bias as I think getting a four-year degree is the way to go. However, I know that it is not suitable for everyone...though the diverse array of educational paths available ensures that there's something for everyone. So whether you're an individual seeking personal growth or a parent or guardian trying to support your child or student, remember that investing in education is an investment that can last a lifetime. I am speaking from experience as a first-generation student many years ago, where I continue to feel fulfilled and educationally rich.