As I neared the end of my senior year in college, I read an article about the worth of a college education. I was shocked to learn that there is a growing number of people who believe that college is worthless. I remember in high school everyone-our parents, counselors, teachers, and classmates-pushed us all to apply to college. I remember as a senior in high school thinking that if only I went to college my life would be changed for the better. It was this enthusiasm that kept me so devoted to finishing my college education. This is why hearing that college is worthless is of such importance to me, to graduating high school seniors, and to current college students. I think a good way to gain insight into this issue to hear from the students who are currently pursuing their own college education. Here is the first of several interviews with college students:
I arranged an interview with my friend “Sally,” who is a college senior at UC Davis pursuing an Animal Science degree. The purpose of this interview was to learn about her motivation to attend college, her journey through college, and her expectations for life after she completes her Bachelors degree.
*Note: This student did not want to reveal her identity so we will call her “Sally.”
Hometown: Stockton, California
Favorite Color: Violet
Dream Job: Doctor
Favorite Animal: Cat, then Chicken
1. Why did you choose UC Davis?
Because it accepted me before Fresno State did.
2. Did you end up getting accepted by Fresno State?
3. What?! So why did you choose Davis?
Because it was closer. It’s an hour away. Fresno is 2 hours away.
4. That’s crazy-we wouldn’t have met!
I know haha.
5. Can you tell me about your journey to UC Davis and college? You can start with high school.
Mmm..I didn’t do much in high school.
6. So did you see yourself going to college in high school.
I think so… no.
7. So what did you think back then?
I was like “I’ll just get a job and things will work out.”
8. What made you decide to go to college instead of working?
My friends were going to college and I was like “I should start doing something with myself”. So I started going. Also, my sister was pregnant at the time, so I wanted to compete with her.
9. And how did you start the process?
I just went to school, my community college and I’m like “What do I need?” and they told me what I needed, they told me what I needed to do, and I did it.
10. What was your end goal?
To be a nurse, which did not work out because the nursing program didn’t accept me.
11. So, how did you end up making your way to Davis?
I spent like forever at my community college, did a bunch of different programs, and I was like I like animals, I should be a vet. And I’m like I should just apply to UC Davis and so I did. I didn’t really want to be a vet.
12. You didn’t really want to be a vet?
I mean, like, I wanted to be in, like, the medical field I guess.
13. What drew you there versus any other field?
They make money.
14. What do you expect to get out of college?
I expect to get a job, and it better not be working at OSH because I have a damn degree.
15. Before you started college, what was your vision of life after attaining a college degree? How has your vision changed from then to now?
Then I was like, I’ll be out of college in 2 years, I’ll be a nurse. I’ll have my life together. And now I’m like, I don’t even know what I’m going to do when I graduate. Hopefully find a good job, a good career. But I was more optimistic back in the day. Now I’m, like, realistic I guess.
16. What made that change?
Maybe being at community college for all those damn years. All those programs rejecting me.
17. What other programs did you apply to at your community college?
The radiology program, applied to EOP for pharmacy, Radiology technician-they never got me. Mmmm what else? That’s it.
18. When you applied to Davis did you think you’d get in?
Hell no! I was like, oh my god, they made a mistake. Look at my GPA! They made a mistake!
Yeah because all my classmates, were like “oh my god I needed to get a TAG and you need a 3.5 if you don’t have one they say you wont get in.” So I was like you know what I didn’t get a TAG, my GPA is not even above a 3.0, I’m probably not going to get in.
20. What has been the most difficult part of pursuing a college education?
Probably I can’t keep to one thing. I keep changing my mind. I keep getting bored.
21. Why do you feel you get bored?
I don’t know. It’s not that I get bored, it’s just that if this doesn’t work out let me just do something else. Ok, that didn’t work out? Let me do this. Ok, that didn’t work out? Let me do this. Instead of sticking with it and working harder, I just switch and then I have to start again. And then switch, oh no I have to start again. And then switch because now they require this and that. I think that’s what it is.
22. Right now you are deciding between applying to vet school and med school. Which one are you going to pursue and if it doesn’t go your way what’s your next step?
I’m probably going to pursue medical, because I know vets don’t make money. And my whole point of going to school was so that I could make a lot of money. I don’t care if I save animals. I can save them as a doctor.
23. So what if you apply and they don’t accept you?
Well I’m hoping to get a state job and I’ll just keep it for the next 40 years.
24. But you won’t reapply to medical school again?
No, I’ll just give up then. If I have a good career that I can see being long term and it pays good, then I’m just going to quit it [medical school]. But if I don’t have anything then I might as well keep applying. I’ll get in eventually.
25. So how important is happiness in your future career?
Not very. I just want money. Money will make me happy. Knowing that I can pay the bills and I can help my family out will make me happy. I stayed at OSH for 4 years and I wasn’t happy there.
26. If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
I would tell myself stop goofing off, because when I started school at first I was like “Oh my god, I don’t need to study blah blah blah.” And that’s why my GPA was so low because, when I first started I was like “I don’t care I’m just going to go to school, get my financial aid,” and after my financial aid finished I was like “Sh*t I better get my sh*t together.” That was three years in though, that was too late. I couldn’t pick myself back up.
27. Has your pursuit of a higher education been worth it?
I don’t think so…I don’t know.
28. Do you think you would have been better off just getting a job or skipping college all together?
Well, I’m hoping that it will have paid off, but I won’t know til I graduate and get an actual job. If I find a job that I could have found without having a degree, then it’s not worthless. But if I find a job that I needed a degree in, then it’s worth it. It just depends after I graduate and when I find a job. But right now I don’t know.
29. Are you optimistic about finding a job?
Yes. I’m hoping to find a state job. And they require Bachelors. So I guess it’s worth it. But if I don’t, I don’t have a back up.
I hope you all enjoyed this interview and gained something from it. Stay tuned for my next interview!
I’ll keep you posted.