The world needs plumbers

And electricians and carpenters

This past year, it seems like all the students of the OHS have heard is ‘Go to college. You will fail without college. You are an idiot if you don’t go to college.’ The students are beginning to feel like they are being forced to go to college. Yet, most of the jobs we need in this world, do not require college. According to the United States Department of Labor, electricians, plumbers, carpenters and construction workers all do not need a four year college degree. Actually, while technical school is recommended, it, too, is not required. Students interested in these occupations only need a high school diploma or a GED. The skills needed are learned through an apprenticeship, a great option for people who like hands on learning.

National statistics from the United States Department of Labor
National statistics from the United States Department of Labor

Skills are not based on bookwork. Many necessary skills cannot be learned through a textbook. They have to be learned in the field, learned by making mistakes. For some students, school is just plain hard. Maybe you like to work with your hands. In that case, college is probably not the right option for you, despite what is being drilled in your head.

Now, we are not bashing college. If you want to be a doctor or a nurse or a teacher, by all means, please, go to college. But if that is not for you, do not feel pressured into attending a four year university. For educated professionals involved in the education of young adults to tell ALL students they need to go to college is asinine. These people do not know us. They do not know what we like, how much we enjoy school, our dreams of our future, or if we like sitting at a desk or working with our hands. If these adults want to SUGGEST we look into college, they can. But please, do not tell us we HAVE to go to college…because we don’t.

We understand that sometimes, college makes your chances of “success” higher- success meaning money. And we understand that the college educated adults in this building believe college is the way to a secure future. However, they need to open their eyes. Success does not necessarily equate to money and money doesn’t necessarily come from a college education. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters and construction workers make more money than some college educated people do.

Just because you attend college does not mean you have a secure future. For instance, 40% of students who attend college will not finish their freshman year. Assuming you do graduate, 48% of those graduates will hold down jobs that do not require their level of education or certification.

College is not necessary to have a great and secure future- financial or otherwise. For some, college is the right choice. And for others, college is just not in the cards. We know the OHS staff care about us and our future. Please show it by realizing we are not a bunch of robots and that college is not in everyone’s programming.