Thanksgiving has just passed, which means that the interrogations from distant relatives about your plans for the future are more or less over. There are many different lifestyles, but the alternatives to attending a 4-year college are often overlooked. Even if you are choosing to go to college, the struggles of selecting the right major can be exhausting.
I know many people that aren’t completely sure about what they want to do long-term (or short-term, for that matter). Because of this, they’re considering not going to college at all. One option is to apply to school as an undecided major. This path is underrated; while many merely perceive it as applying to four more years of high school, that’s not the case. By applying to a college or university, you are allowing yourself the chance to be exposed to a variety of possible career paths. Once you’re already admitted into a college, being undecided can make the transitioning process easier and enable you to obtain your required credits for your regular classes.
Another conflict I see many new college students grappling with is a lack of confidence in their major. For example, someone I know wants to go into film but is worried that they will be out of a job when they graduate. This is a fear of many art-related majors, because jobs in that field aren’t always as consistent in comparison to other careers. One way to put yourself at ease is to consider a business-related minor or even a double major. Having a business degree can give you more wiggle room in regards to finding a job in your specific field. This can also give you a better starting point at a company that will allow you to work yourself up, enabling you to pitch ideas that may get you noticed and allow you to reach your ultimate dream job.
Another option is to simply not go to college at all. To some this may sound completely ridiculous, but it’s really not. It may take more time, but there are plenty of ways to find success. This isn’t the case for everyone (see: the medicine field), but careers related to writing, drawing, acting, dancing, computers, and entrepreneurship don’t necessarily require extensive education. Internships are an ideal way to learn new skills and make acquaintances that can give you recommendations later on. Through intense studying and dedication, you can make it far with this lifestyle as well!
In a similar fashion, you can always climb the ranks after starting with what some would consider a “simple” job. Don’t let the word fool you—just because you aren’t performing surgeries or wearing a suit to work every day doesn’t make it any less of a job. When I was younger, my dream job was to someday work at a cafe (I thought the tricks baristas did with latte foam were really cool). If you want to work in a coffee shop, start as a barista and work your way up to becoming a manager—or start your own coffee shop once you learn. If you want to work at a dress shop, bar, car dealership, or restaurant, then do it! Don’t let anyone put you down because your goals don’t require 8+ years of college and training.
These are only some of the possible paths to take after high school. If you’re happy and able to support yourself, then it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have hanging on your wall. The future may be scary, but it’s in your hands.