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To The Boy Who Thinks College Is a Scam

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Billy Wilson is a freshman at Kansas State University with a 4.0 GPA after his first semester. Or rather, I should say former-freshman. 

After but one semester of school, Wilson has decided to drop out of college because he believes that is a scam. 

See his Facebook post, conveniently available to the public, here: Billy Wilson's "Fuck College" Facebook Post

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand a lot of this young man's points. He seems incredibly intelligent, and college very well may not be for him. However, after being in the college system a bit longer than him – 3 years longer in fact – I'd like to address some of his concerns in his post. So, as a college senior entering into her final semester of college (and didn't give up after a mere one), here goes nothing: 

1. To address your first point: "Yes I have dropped out after finishing my first semester (with a 4.0 GPA). And it's one of the best choices I've ever made. Not because I am averse to learning, but actually the exact opposite." 

Billy, everyone learns in different ways. Just because it wasn't how you believe that you can best learn doesn't mean that others cannot and do not. I'm not sure that more needs to be said, because, odds are, you agree with me.

2. To address your second point: "YOU ARE BEING SCAMMED." There's a lot more text here, so I'll do my best to summarize. College many times leads to debt, textbooks are overpriced, teachers may not always have experience, income vs inflation vs cost of college increases are not proportional. Does that about summarize it? Not well, but we'll keep moving on.

College does indeed lead to debt. In fact, the average student graduating in 2015 owed over $35,000. That is an absolutely enormous amount, to be sure. However, many jobs that require a degree (not all, no absolutes necessary here) will pay more than those that do not – thus helping you pay that off in a quicker time. 

I'm not sure where you are getting that teachers don't have experience in their field. Maybe it's because our majors are different? As a chemistry major, my professors are known for their research – it's how they keep their jobs. Groundbreaking research has been done by those in that department, so I'm not sure how much more experience you expect of them. Maybe we've had different experiences though, and I can respect that.

Of course textbooks are overpriced – it's a business, and simple supply and demand laws of economics. I actually agree with you in the sense that updates to editions every few years is ridiculous. However, oh little freshman, purchase the older edition and check page numbers with friends. There are many ways to save money that most freshmen don't know, and this such a small point relatively to the overall price of college.

So is college expensive? YES! I agree! Does that make it a scam? Not in my book, but let's keep going.

3. And to your next point: "Colleges are REQUIRING people to spend money taking gen. ed. courses to learn about the quadratic formula (and other shit they will never use) when they could be giving classes on MARRIAGE and HOW TO DO YOUR TAXES."

Oh boy, okay. So, as a STEM major, the quadratic formula has actually been super useful. (Crazy, I know – when I learned it I thought it was useless as well.) It's so funny that this is the example that we pick sometimes. To me, that is useful, but knowing which forms are architecture came from which era is not. To someone making a living with history, documentaries, and other just as valid careers, they couldn't care less about the quadratic formula.

I am SO thankful that I don't have to take a marriage class from my university. I'm actually engaged to be married after graduation, so I might have a bit more to say about relationships than you (I might not, but I feel like 3 years at this time of life is a lot of time and experience). You can't teach a lot of it, and every culture and subculture has a different perspective on what makes a good marriage work. If it bugs you that much, buy yourself some self-help books. They can be helpful, but you'll realize everyone has a slightly different take. Pick and choose what works for you, and please don't make me take a class on it.

I actually would like a class on how to do your taxes, though so far it has been pretty straightforward with some guidance from family. I'm not sure that this would be a good use of time for everyone either.

4. And onto your last point: "Gosh there are so many more reasons I could add, but just comment if you disagree or have reasons to add. I'd love to add to the discussion." 

I love that you put this in there. I was kind of, not even kind of, very irritated with you until I read this. I appreciate the fact that you are so open to discussion. It makes you seem more reasonable and relatable, so thank you for that!

Look, I get it. College is expensive, and a lot that you learn will not be used everyday. However, what you don't use from that biology class, someone else will. What you use from that business-finance class someone else will forget in a day and not need to worry about. It's a cookie-cutter system, it's impacted, it's imperfect. But is it a scam? I'm not convinced.

I would like to add that I am more than aware that college is not for everyone. College is not for everyone just like trade school, going straight to work, the military, or any other path is. We all have our own path, and I'm glad that you have your own entrepreneur endeavours to pursue. (Wilson owns his own company, RaveWave, as well.)

Just because college wasn't for you after one semester doesn't mean that it's not for everyone. Don't call my path a scam, especially when I have 3 more of experience at it than you. 


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