I'm in college, just starting my second semester but am beginning to have doubts...
I like to read a lot, and I don't mean to sound arrogant but literally evertything fed to me last semester was something I already knew or something that could be learned simply by opening a book on your own. My parents are professional people, Nurses, so I guess a job you could consider white collar ($80,000+ a year in the '90s when they worked)..But no so good personally, and they consider anyone without a degree to be a loser. Yet I look at the models of their parents--my grandfathers. Both were blue collar men, hard workers who had the opportunity to go to college (because of the GI Bill) but declined and one worked as a Security Guard/Postal Worker and the other a Foreman for the Park's Department, and both loved their jobs and were respected--Yet made crap money. But they nonetheless loved their jobs, made friends there and didn't seek anything more--and they were better people in general
My parents on the other hand, were miserable at their jobs for the large portion of their careers yet made good money--but had personal demons or issues perhaps greater than those of their parents.
Maybe it's just that they came from the whole Hippie materialistic generation, that one's goodness or worth is defined by a degree--As I've said my parents have called those without degrees losers--and maybe it's simply the divide I have with them and that whole generation's mindset--or maybe it's something larger that many overlook in society.
It's just sort of a dillema I face and maybe some of you can relate to...It's not that I don't have regard for intellectualism or knowledge but I think those are things that you can teach yourself by picking up a book or just observing life or interacting with others. I don't think there's too much in college (except maybe Medicine and Physics) that a person of average or above average intelligence couldn't teach themselves if they really wanted to learn and expand their knowledge.
On the other hand, I realize that a degree is a greatly respected thing in our society and leads to a much higher salary....But in many ways it seems it's an ornament to many, like "Look at me, I'm great, I have a degree, you don't, you're not."
It boils down to the question of--what defines success in life? Is it the money you make, the job you have? Does it mean being a professional or college grad? Or can success in life simply be defined by being happy at what you do, even if you're not a rich man by the end? Is wealth really everything.
It's a philosophical sort of question I pose to you and something I've been asking myself since I sort of stand at the crossroads of my own life....
To put it this way:
Who is the bigger success in life: The rich man who is wealthy beyond imagination yet knows no love and works and lives in misery or the poor man who works hard at a rough job, loves it, is beloved by all he knows and content with himself?