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College can be as expensive as it is exhaustive, and while it is usually expected for people straight out of high school to attend university, it’s not the only option for recent graduates.

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “College isn’t for everyone.” Well, it’s true. I know several people who weren’t comfortable with the rigorous nature and environment of university. It wasn’t for lack of trying, either. We don’t all thrive in the classroom setting or under the academic pressures that come with being enrolled full time.

The world often forgets intelligence is not strictly confined to academia but that everyone excels in their own way. For people outside of college, that might be learning a trade or joining the workforce and making their way up the ladder. No career path is the wrong career path, as long as it works for the person pursuing it.

Most college students know someone who began university, stayed for a year and left, knowing college wasn’t for them. There’s nothing wrong with finding that out for sure, but it’s not hard to know whether you like school or not.

Depending on how your university fees are paid for, even with programs like TOPS, people who leave college might end up in a worse position than they began. It’s important to be honest with ourselves, rather than wasting time and money.

The University’s graduation rates are fair, with a 38% graduation rate within four years. That number increases to 64% within six years, and both statistics are slightly higher than the national average.

However, I’ve noticed in Louisiana, high school students aren’t exactly encouraged to pursue other career paths instead of going to college. It’s also important to note some Louisiana high schools do not adequately prepare their students for higher education, making it easier for them to drown once enrolled in a university. The state is even ranked No. 49 in higher education, being No. 48 overall in education.

There’s a stigma that forgoing college means you’re going to laze around all day, but that’s not true. There are many jobs that don’t require a college degree that can provide fruitful careers.

For example, Louisiana has many plants and oil companies. A quick search shows several job openings at the ExxonMobile plant in Baton Rouge and the Shell Oil company in Geismar that do not require degrees. There are even state jobs which don’t require degrees.

There’s no reason to discount trades, either. I know hair stylists and mechanics who make more than college-educated professionals. Heating, venting and air technicians, plumbers and electricians are just a few examples of trades that pay well.

In this day and age, where there are so many markets to succeed in, college degrees are great if they’re a part of the career path you’ve chosen. However, college is not for everyone, which is fine. Success comes in many forms, none of which is the only acceptable one.

Maya Stevenson is a 20-year-old English and Philosophy sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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