When full-time students become full-time depressed
Peter Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, thinks he knows how to solve student loan debt - drop out. In fact, according to this article, Thiel will pay you to drop out of college.
Thiel's man argument is that the cost of college interferes with making money. For instance, most college students leave their institution wanting to be entrepreneurs, innovators, or something of social relevance. They don't want some retail or insurance agent job just to pay their bills. They went to college, they worked hard, and now they want all their efforts to pay off. In short, they want to lead something, rather than follow in someone else's footsteps.
Part of me agrees with Thiel. The greatest burden a college degree places on students is that they feel accomplished when they graduate and then failed when they begin their first job hunt. Even college-based internships are often misleading. While all of your peers are dropping out of the rat-race within that first year of the college blues, those with internships feel as though they're getting ahead. Unfortunately, internships aren't always fruitful.
Students like internships because they are working within their field of study. It feels good, trust me. The problem is that companies like to offer internships for another reason: They don't have to pay some of their workers. Students believe they have a chance to step up in the company after the internship is over, while some companies are just waiting for the next intern to step in. It's a tough world out there. Some internships pay off, especially if you're aiming to be a teacher or aim to be an RN. But say you're working for a magazine or as social media intern . . . It usually doesn't pan out.
On the other side of the coin, it's important to realize college isn't 100% about landing a job in a more prestigious field. It's about finding yourself, learning what you're good at and want to do, among so much more. It's a great intellectual and social experience. Or is it experiment?
With tuition rates soaring higher each year, some students are starting to think college, although a great experience, isn't worth the money. You can find yourself for a lot cheaper. Steven Jobs went soul searching in India with a few thousand bucks and some psychedelics, right?
During college, many students are fine with the intellectual indulgence, but when graduation is in sight, they start to think about the loans they signed. Naturally, they demand their universities provide significant assistance for their students. Universities argue the "universe of ideas" point. Students are all like, "Damn." Universities even claim that they do help students land jobs. True, some students score some awesome internships upon graduation, but didn't we already cover this point? And as for career centers: Mine just offered a clerk position at Menards. Wait, what?
So I'm on the fence with Thiel's argument. It's too grey. However, if you're the entrepreneur at heart, then maybe it's a good idea. It really depends on who you are and what you are doing. To be honest, money isn't everything either. I'll tell you from experience, unless your five-year plan is already working during your junior year of college, I would think twice about those loans. I still feel the pressure of them every day, and if it's limiting my options and chances to feel accomplished or relevant, then I can't imagine what it'll be like 10-30 years from now.
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