And now, Mr. Know-It-All will answer the first of several questions he has received in his mailbox.
Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
My parents keep hounding me about going to college. My dad went to college but he never finished - and now he's a successful business owner. If college didn't do anything for my dad, why should I have to go?
-Don't Wanna Go
First of all, as the father of two high school teenagers, the oldest being only 776 days, 15 hours, 3 minutes and 24 seconds from starting college, I can only say YES - you must go! In fact, go as soon as it is possible and go for a long time. And don't come back.
But then that doesn't answer your question now, does it?
The truth is, your father DID benefit from going to college - and you will too. In fact, the reason he is successful today is because of the time he spent away at college. Now, notice I didn't say he is successful because he graduated from college, only that he was successful because he went to college. There's a big difference.
Oh sure, they've created huge institutions with professors and schedules and big halls with crappy seats, but in reality the classroom experience is no different than high school. It just costs a lot more and the teachers are a lot harder to hear. The formal courses themselves are just an administrative necessity designed to meet government requirements, but the act of going away and living the college experience is where the real learning takes place.
Here are some examples of how college courses really apply to life as a result of your "at college" experience:
Biology - Research how many hours pizza can sit on the counter before it becomes contaminated with botulism. Learn first hand how your body responds to the deadly bacteria.
Home Economics - Experience the longest number of
days weeks you can continue wearing the same pair of jeans and teeshirt before your mom has to do your laundry. Or, if mom isn't an option - calculate how many pounds of clothes can fit into a washing machine at the laundromat before it will cease to function.
Finances - Learn about borrowing money. Learn how interest works, or more accurately how interested your friends become when you don't pay them back. Learn the value of discounting during happy hour.
Nutrition - Discover how to subsist solely on carbohydrates and caffeine.
Research Skills - Become an expert at finding important information on the internet such as pre-written essays, thesis papers and book reports.
Physics and Math - Only a college student can cite the transfer rate of 32 ounces of beer through a funnel and down an esophagus.
Medical - Gain critical knowledge on the fastest cure for hangovers. Quickly learn the most effective combinations of nausea suppressants, pain relievers and stimulants.
So you can see my young friend,that it is truly the act of going to college where the real life experiences are gained. You may think you're learning all of these lessons in your classroom, but the reality is you're learning them all on your own AND applying them at the same time. How valuable is that?
So yes, you should go. And as I said earlier, the sooner you go and the longer you stay, the better off you will be.