Building a Future without College
By Lauren Lubin
College is that lingering cloud hanging over our heads since we arrived at Novato High School. Every student in any high school is expected to get to college one way or another, either a community college or a university. It is a goal all school systems push us toward, yet not all high school students have the dream of attending college.
Statistics have proven that the amount of seniors graduating high school has increased over the past two years. Although it seems these numbers continue to rise, The Atlantic website reports that college enrollments have actually decreased. It is obvious that some students do not plan on attending college.
Christopher Lindsey, a junior at Novato High, has other plans after graduation.
“I wanna do music because I’d rather follow my passion than go to college and study for four years on things that I’ll still never use,” Lindsey said. “I’d rather spend my life doing something I love to do instead of wasting it preparing for something I don’t want to do.”
It is perceived that all adults, from teachers to parents, consistently push the idea of going to college onto students. Although parents may not accept their sons or daughters not going to college, Matt Baldwin, principal of Novato High, explains that the administration's goal is not to force students into college.
“Our goal as a district is to be sure we are building capacity in the students and developing skills in the students so they can be successful regardless of what they want to do,” Baldwin said. “That’s always what I’ve wanted to do.”
Students still need to understand that even without college, creating a plan for the future is essential. Mary Grillo, the Novato High College and Career Counselor, helps students plan their futures daily.
“This is what I tell students; if they don’t want to go to college, they need to support themselves for the rest of their life,” Grillo said. “I tell them to go to the website CalApprentice.org because there are jobs like sheet metal, plumbing, electrical, where you get trained on the job and you make money while you’re learning.”
The idea of college predicting future success has been loosely tossed around throughout the years. The reality is that it all depends on the student. Grillo and Baldwin both agreed that college isn’t for everyone.
“I’ve seen a lot of people as a teacher and within my own family that college wasn’t for them, school wasn’t for them,” Baldwin said. “That doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be successful. In most cases, they went off and followed their passions. In some cases they just had to support their family, so they went off and joined the workforce. They’re all doing great things now.”
With or without college, every student who obtains a high school Diploma has the opportunity to become successful.
“Even if you don’t go to college you can still end up in the same position as someone who did,” Lindsey added.