The prospect of college looms heavily on students here at Fountain Valley High School. Every year, thousands of dollars are spent on SAT and ACT prep course. Countless hours are spent in the classrooms of Elite. All this time and money for one goal—to attend one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation, one of the esteemed Universities of California or a respected campus of California’s State University system. Other students are content with community colleges. Despite the vast variance between these colleges, one thing that holds them all together—they all turn a profit sucking the souls of students. (they feed on the hopes and dreams and dollars of students)
Education is founded on the idea that people need to be smarter to be responsible people, and contribute to society. This is correct, and almost indisputable. However, over the past 100 years or so, education has become the gateway to money and, in society’s superficial terms, happiness and success. More specifically, a college degree is a must for anyone looking to be a respected member of society. Humanity has evolved to be obsessed with money and the luxuries it provides, hypnotizing people from a very young age that they must obtain the green paper with American historical figures printed on the front. If you want to be happy, you need money. Who doesn’t want to be happy? Everyone lives, and then dies; might as well enjoy the time you’ve got.
This is the vicious cycle society is stuck in. We’re slaves to money, then we die. The idea of success and happiness being filled with wealth and excess is forced down the throats of students, who intensely pursue college believing any other result besides making millions is failure. Either college or a pathetic, poverty ridden life on the streets. College or you spend the rest of your life living with your parents. The reality is, there’s more to life than money.
Life is a temporary stay. None of us are here forever. So why act like it’s permanent? What’s the point of money and a huge house if we all end up as the same pile of dust buried six feet underground? Life should be about genuinely enjoying the time we spend on Earth. Wealth isn’t the amount of zeroes in our bank account. Wealth is being kind, and living life with love. The richest of us have the biggest smile, which doesn’t require four years of college. Life is about the connections we develop between us and the ones we care about, not the connections we make with CEOs of major corporations. By focusing on unimportant, superficial ideas, we lose sight of what it means to be human.
Too many colleges make a living off of convincing kids that the only way they can achieve happiness is by paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a mind-numbing amount of years, ending with a piece of paper that assures them their money was well spent. Look at any college brochure. All the people are smiling or laughing. The sun is always shining, and the trees are bright green. What they don’t tell you is that a majority of the people in their brochures failed to land a job in their field of study after college and are either unemployed or flipping burgers. College is a con, posing as the stairway to heaven. In reality, the stairway is only accessible by some, with the rest relegated to finding out on their own, having wasted all their time and money just to land face first into a stack of needles. True happiness is unattainable at that point, as their lives become a game of catch up, as they continue to chase after the wrong thing. It’s extremely dangerous to become obsessed with a degree, and a career, because that leads you to forget about genuinely appreciating the world you inhabit.
Life’s truly important values are available to everyone regardless of how much money a college conned them for. No matter how important you think a college education is, and no matter how important you think earning money is, life has never been about your net worth. Things like that are nice, but society as a whole needs to do a much better job of realizing these are things that simply can’t satisfy the soul. Don’t kill yourself rushing to attend the college of your dreams, or to attend college at all. Life is about appreciating each other and being the most enjoyable person you can be.
Take your soul back.