5 Unexpected Reasons You Should Go to College

by Lily White
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From middle school on, most students are taught that the best way to become a grown-up is to go to college and get a good job. There are often limited, if any, discussions on the reasons why college is so great. You just know that it’s what you’re supposed to do if you want to have a good career, make money and live happily ever after. Right? Maybe you aren’t sure if college is for you, or you’re wondering what the benefits of going to college really are. Beyond qualifying you for more job opportunities, there are other reasons why earning a degree is a good idea. Here are five reasons you should go to college that may surprise you.

Find Out What You Want to Do with Your Life

Many students believe they need to have a detailed plan on how they want to spend their lives before enrolling. While this is one of the ways to prepare for college for many, it is definitely not a requirement, or even realistic. They think that without a major they’re passionate about, school is a waste of time and money. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, college is a fantastic place to begin figuring out exactly who you are, what you care about and what you want to do for a living.

It’s highly common to switch majors multiple times before graduation. You can even be undeclared for the first two years while you cover all your prerequisites and sample different disciplines. One of the best ways to discover new aspects of your personality is to try a variety of classes from different fields. You may fall in love with marketing, realize you are fascinated by science or develop a love for psychology that makes you want to become a therapist or researcher. The sky’s the limit.

Meet New People Who Change the Way You Think

At first glance, the thought of rethinking your morals and political standpoints may not seem enticing. School gives you a unique landscape filled with different ideas about the world. You’ll meet people from all walks of life who think differently than you. You don’t have to debate their perspectives but instead listen to them, observe, and learn to think in new ways.

Someone who comes from a religious background or family with strong political ideologies may not have felt comfortable asking questions and exploring alternate ways of thinking. But when you attend school, you are encouraged to explore, ask questions and make your own decisions. You decide who you want to be, what feels true for you and what ultimately makes sense for the way you want to live.

Expand Your Comfort Zone

People always say life happens outside your comfort zone, but that’s not entirely true. Your comfort zone is great. It is the starting point of your boundaries. It guides you toward new things, helps you make confident decisions and informs a lot of your actions. But rather than staying in the same bubble for a lifetime, college encourages you to expand what you’re comfortable with. You are able to try new things, join clubs and meet new people while building your identity. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 18 or 25. Everyone changes when they start school, and it’s one of the only places you have the opportunity to explore so many different paths and redefine who you are.

Become Better at Managing Money

Most students will have to borrow student loans to pay for tuition, but this isn’t a bad thing. Utilizing private loans for college can help you learn the importance of a budget. You’ll start planning ahead, consider repayment options and become more financially mature. Rather than simply thinking about money in terms of what it can get you, college teaches you to see money as a tool for building a future. After you graduate and find a job, loans can help you build good credit. As long as you stay current and choose the right plan for your income, you can actually benefit from building credit and consistently paying down your debt.

Live Outside Others’ Expectations

Your parents may have an idea of who they want you to be. You may enter your degree program with a definitive vision of who you’ll become. But your time studying, learning and socializing can challenge all of that. As an adult, you’ll have plenty of expectations and standards to live up to.

But college is a place that encourages people to think outside the box, reconsider how they live and try new things. The only expectation people will have is for you to meet deadlines and turn in assignments. Other than that, experimentation is not only expected but widely encouraged. Later in life, you may find it more of a challenge to shift gears and consider so many different potential avenues. But in school, there are so many opportunities just waiting for you to take hold.


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