Opinion: Hard work can amount to as much as a college degree in the work force

A college education, while an important milestone in many young adults’ lives, is not necessary for ultimate success in today’s world and culture. A college degree does not guarantee a job, and in fact, one in two college graduates are jobless or underemployed, the Associated Press reported in April.

Statistically, yes, the odds of securing employment with a college degree are higher than with a high school diploma, but the continually changing economy has made college into more of a luxury than a true necessity.

Addressing such issues, the “Big Questions” discussion series continues next week. The focus is on the importance of college education and whether or not it is truly necessary in the 21st century. As part of the discussion, the audience will be asked to consider the importance of TCU’s Mission Statement: “To educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community.”

I grew up knowing there was no other choice but to go to college. My parents planted it in my head at a young age that post-secondary education was not only extremely important, but necessary for success. As I grew up, the future was fuzzy as for where I would end up or what I would be, but I always knew that I’d end up at some university somewhere to get my undergraduate degree. This aspect of my future was never a question.

Many people view college as a stepping stone to the future, a sort of four-year, coming-of-age process. Young adults use it as a place to grow both intellectually and characteristically. Lifelong friendships form, students can explore different career paths, and minds get opened and cultured through varieties of course loads and experiences within this university route.

Things now are not quite as simple as they once were, though, and a college education is no longer looked at as an absolutely essential part of growing up. Ever-increasing college tuitions, dropping employment rates for post-graduates, and the growing difficulty to receive loans have halted the idea of college as a resolute must.

Some people work hard to obtain grants, loans, or scholarships. Some have the financial support of family to help with school expenses. And others forego these educational expenses altogether—maybe by choice, maybe not—and join the work force straight out of high school. None of these routes are wrong, but they do have a common denominator: hard work. No high school graduate, nor college graduate, will ever see success without putting forward a great amount of effort.

“Working hard to be successful” may seem like the same blasé spiel your dad has rattled off your whole life, but with the turmoil of the economy falling, most likely, on our generation’s heads, it is not something to be taken lightly. College or not, hard work is the absolute necessity that every young person entering the work force needs to possess.

To be a part of the upcoming “Big Questions” discussion, go to the Mary Wright Admission Center on Nov. 13 at 3:30 p.m.

Audrey Swanson is a junior journalism major from Las Vegas, NV.