By Evan Collotti (Whetstone Staff)

Evan Collotti     Melissa Boyd<i>Whetstone</i>

Evan Collotti     Melissa BoydWhetstone

Seventy grand ($70,000): That’s the amount of money I have given to Wesley College so far.

That is the amount of money I have wasted for an education here.

Since I will not be returning in the fall, I won’t get to see the reward of that education.

Just the receipt.

I am just one of many high school grads who don’t know what they want yet.

So, I ask you: Why do high schools push students to go to college after graduation?

Every high school student must deal with the unavoidable question: What do you want to do when you grow up?

Most young adults have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their lives. And that is perfectly fine.

How do we get past this question? It all comes down to a shift in attitude.

We must teach students that it’s OK if they don’t know what they want to do right out of the gate. We need to take some time to weigh our options and find out what truly interest us.

Many of us, perhaps, should get a job for a couple of years and save money, allowing ourselves to grow up a bit.

High school grads often are forced by schools and parents to take one of three paths: higher education, the workforce, or the military.

Many argue that in order to get a good job you have to have a college degree. This sends students into a panic. So we get students enrolled in four-year schools who maybe shouldn’t even be there.

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated high school.

For all I knew, I was going to be a pro soccer or hockey player because that’s what I liked. I was focused on living in the moment and enjoying the ride.

But there comes a time when you have to be practical, which can be difficult for a naïve 17-year-old. After thinking about what I wanted to do the rest of my life, I decided I’d like to get into the radio business because it seemed like an enjoyable career for me.

Two years later, I find myself sitting in my classes at Wesley saying to myself, “What am I even doing here?”

And just like that, 70-grand down the toilet.

They don’t want to go to a smaller community school, often referred to as 13th grade by most students because of its negative image of placing kids in an endless limbo of minimum wage jobs after the two years.

Many students don’t want to join the workforce right away because they fear a dead-end job and being miserable for the rest of their lives.

We are setting ourselves up not only fail, but dig ourselves into a gaping hole of debt. This is why many dropouts end up working minimum wage jobs to pay off the loans they used for a useless experience. Before they know it, they’re 35 and working at Domino’s Pizza.

Parents, teachers, and counselors should encourage high school students to take their time.

At 17 or 18, we’re too naïve to be able to tell what we really want in life – especially when we just come out of the caged environment that is grade school, junior high school and high school, and we don’t have a worry in the world.

There’s no doubt that landing a high-paying job is easier with a degree than without one.

But some of us end up paying schools thousands of dollars for a degree that we may no longer be interested in. Are we really in college for the right reason? And can many of us even decide what the “right reason” is yet?

Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot of things during my time here at Wesley. Most of things I learned concerned my life and what I value, and I gained some educational knowledge that will stay with me. It also was important that I went through this experience, which allowed myself to progress as a person and mature into a man who can live independently without begging mom to do my laundry.

I am not telling students to ignore college, but to take a moment to think before you begin digging yourself into a gaping hole of student loans.

So when you are done reading this, please just ask yourself:

Why am I here?

Am I here for the right reasons?