The Road Less Traveled
By Vanessa Palencia
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I’ve just graduated from college and now I’m supposed to be applying to big time companies and work a 9-5 job every day for the rest of my life. I’ll get huge benefits along the way if I play the cards right. I’ll be paid well and will be able to provide stability for myself and my child.
That’s what everyone expects.
It’s what everyone does.
Maybe. But I know that I don’t want that lifestyle. I want more (insert Ariel’s voice here). I have big dreams that go against the norm, in the same way that Ariel from The Little Mermaid did. I don’t want to work my ass off at a boring office job for the rest of my life. I want to be my own boss, and I want to live a happy, luxurious life. That’s what everyone else wants, too, right? Then why are we doing the same cyclical things that don’t show the results or change that we want?
I believe that many generations have been forced into thinking that college is the only way to gain success in life. However, I want to go down the road less traveled to prove that wrong.
“We would do much better if we stopped ensuring that everyone had to have a four-year degree to get certain types of jobs and started being open to the fact that there’s a much broader array of talents and skills and perspectives and experiences that people can be successful.”
-Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn CEO
First, let me start by saying that I do value the worth of a college degree. I went to college with the mindset that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere in life if I didn’t have a degree. I would graduate, find a good job, and move up throughout my life. That would be it. However, as time went by and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I didn’t want that. I still don’t want that. I became determined to find the road less traveled and create the life I’ve always wanted. For me, going down the road less traveled means creating and working on something I love instead of waiting and working my way up. I know it’s possible because it’s what accounts for the top percentage of wealthy and successful people--Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even Rachel Ray! They all had the option of attending college, but they decided to drop out to pursue their dreams instead. Of course, a successful ending isn’t guaranteed, but the amount of work you put into something, regardless of what it is, will pay off in the end. I don’t want to be working in an office listening to a boss telling me what to do, so I’ve been connecting with people and expanding my network in order to make my dreams more realistic and approachable.
College seems to have become a fraudulent line of thinking to get us to believe that we must follow a certain guide or textbook of life in order to create a successful life. Thus, we have become so fixated on the idea of college that we don’t notice all these other options that could also lead us to our dreams. Who says that vocational school isn’t the smart way to go? Who says that you can’t get a certificate and start learning your trade immediately? Who says that graduating from college, landing a corporate job, and then working a 40-hour work week for the rest of your life until retirement is the ideal life? It certainly isn’t for me. I’m not saying that it will be easy to get to where you need to go, but I know that college and a corporate job aren’t the answer to everything as modern society will have you believe. College is, essentially the cherry on top of a sundae. It can be wonderful to have, and it’ll really polish off your image, but it’s okay if you don’t. A sundae without a cherry is just as delicious. Thus, if you choose not to go to college and go an alternate route to accomplish your dreams, then that’s perfectly fine, too.
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