• Apologies for the issue with a bizarre redirect on the site earlier today. There was a large server update and an error in an IP address had the traffic routing wrongly. No hacking or anything nefarious and nothing to worry about. Sorry for any stress/anxiety caused. Very best wishes - SF Admin

Do you have to go to college to be successful?

Not open for further replies.


Well-Known Member
I'm a junior in high school, and througout my life I've been told that once you graduate from school, you go straight to college. Its not even a question whether or not I go, its already known that you're going.

My problem is that I feel like I'm at a crossroads with this. I'm not sure whther I want to go college. It seems that everytime school starts back up again, so does my depression. I don't feel like I could handle the damands of college. I would be putting myself through a mental hell.

I know getting an education is very very important, but I feel like its not worth putting myself through hell and possibly becoming suicidal again. Its just not worth it to me. I also don't want to work at a mediocre jpb for the rest of my life either. I'm really torn on what to do.

I want to know if anybody didn't go to college and felt like it was the right decision. And any advice is HIGHLY appreciated.

total eclipse

SF Friend
Staff Alumni
Hun education is important if you don't just want to work a mediocre job Your anxiety and depression should be looked at before you start college okay
Get your pdoc to write note to college explaining your difficulties and the support you will need to succeed With extra support you can and will do well hun. Just make sure you have everything in place before you start okay


Well-Known Member
If you don't want to work at a mediocre job your entire life then College may be able to help you with that... just make sure you apply for a major you're really interested in and you think can have a career in.


Well-Known Member
One thing I would say is that you should be very suspicious of people who tell you it's an either/or choice -- that you have either to finish high school and go straight to university, or never go to university and end up working at McDonald's for the rest of your life. When I was growing up in California, that is what I was basically told. But in many other countries, the norm is for people to finish high school, take a year or two and go travelling or working, figure out more about whether they really want to go to university/what to study, and then go.

When I was a teenager, I was really fed up with being told I had to go to university, so I simply decided not to. I worked for 2 years, saved up a bunch of money, then went travelling around the world for 2 years. After that 4 year break, I finally discovered my own motivation to go to university (I wanted to study some of the social problems in the 3rd world countries I had travelled to). I also discovered that I much preferred the university system in the UK. So I ended up going to university in the UK, and I have benefited hugely from it. But I know that if I hadn't gone on my own terms, for my own reasons, at my own time -- if I had simply gone because it was expected of me -- it would have been a terrible decision, I would have done badly, I probably would have picked the wrong subject to study, and the wrong country to study it in.

So my advice to you is: Higher education is too valuable to waste it by doing it only because you're expected to. If you feel like a break from school, take a year, a couple years, or a few years off and go work, travel (cheaply--it's possible to travel around most of the world on very little money and often to work as you go, if you plan it right), think about life, and THEN if and when *you* feel ready, make a decision about what to do next with your life. You will be more mature and get more out of university if you go for your own reasons, rather than for other people. Also, you will probably be able to get into a better university, because they will usually take into account your experiences in the time after you finished high school, rather than just your grades alone.

Good luck!


Well-Known Member
I'm sure you've heard the saying "take it one step at a time" on countless occasions, but no matter how overused it may be, I think it applies in your case. For all you know, by the time you reach your senior year of high school you will have to dig into your past to remember what depression was like, and your mental health won't be a factor when you apply to college.

When you choose whether or not to attend college right out of high school, it is important that you make the decision with well grounded reasoning. The decision you make is not so important in itself. It's more about making a decision with which you will be content.

And as for being successful out of college, ha! I graduated, but I'm probably going to go through more school before finding steady work. It's tough for everyone out there right now. But I'm glad I went to college, for the experience if nothing else. It is also useful as a stepping stone, but whatever you decide to do will guide you into a bright future. You just have to want the best for yourself.


Well-Known Member
Thanks for all of the replies!

Marklondon: I've thought about taking a year or so off, and I have a job so it will be easier to do that. Don't think I would travel because I'm not much of a traveler. I think its important to go on your own motivation because its a big decision. I'm just worried about what my parents would think because I know they won't react well but evetually they will somewhat understand my decision. I still have a year to go, so it all depends how I feel then.


Well-Known Member
I think 'marklondon' has a good reply. Sorry if someone takes offence to this, but it does seem as if going to university/college in the US is practically forced down peoples throats because of reasons you've said - they think that if you don't get a degree you're doomed to working on minimum wage, menial jobs for the rest of your life when that's not true.

Here in the UK, at least, I know quite a few people who earn good money because they completed apprenticeships (plumber, electrician, etc) and are on more money than many uni graduates who tend to just end up in offices like my brother or doing a job they didn't need uni for in the first place. Also if someone is smart and entrepreneurial enough, they can set up their own business and do okay off that - like the saying "the cream always rises to the top".

Not that theres anything wrong with university, you do need it for some careers out there, I'm planning on going myself in two years, because I'm interested in studying in an area and I might benefit from the social experience/independence, it just shouldn't be "expected" of anyone. It's all about choice.


Well-Known Member
College is not necessarily a good choice for everyone - you need to weigh the cost versus what you want to do

woman in california had a law degree and can't get a job - she strips to make ends meet

another item on last night's news talked about a guy who finished college $100,000 in debt and a year later still cannot find work

i've done everything i can to get my kids through college - state university - and they still have loans

i went to college for four years and didn't graduate - had 4 years of loans - finally spent money on a 1-year technical program and got a good paying job when i was done

knowing what i know now, i probably shouldn't have gone to college right away until i could figure out a plan, what i really wanted to do

what do YOU want to do? if you can figure that out, the college decision will probably make itself


Well-Known Member
No, i was barely in the education system and left at 16 to go straight into work, i have worked for the best in my field in the world and i have been very successful.
in my eyes i would prefer to employ someone with common sense and practical experience over any degree


Well-Known Member
I'd say around my junior year in high school, when my depression started up, I realized that due to several factors, I wouldn't be going to a college without racking up large amounts of loans to pay off afterwards. Once that realization hit me, I stopped caring for my grades and being the above average student I was. I dropped from the top 10% of my class to somewhere in the 30-40 percentile range, and just barely graduating.

Since then, I've had jobs every now and then, but nothing steady due to the problems with the economy and so many people also searching for work. My lack of success, however, is mostly due to my own problems and issues.

Putting myself aside, when people say that you won't be working jobs for anything more than minimum wage if you don't go to college/university, it's a complete lie. I have a friend that has been working at a local store for the last two or so years, and he makes $14.50 an hour (minimum wage being $8.50 or so here). That's not amazing or anything, but it still goes to show you don't have to be a college grad to make a decent wage.

You also don't have to go to a standard college to get a well paying job. There's also tech schools to go to where you could pick up a trade. From what I've been told, those are a lot easier to find a steady job relevant to the courses you've gone through after graduating.

It sounds like you may have anxiety problems when it comes down to meeting the needs of courses and such, which is why you notice yourself falling in a slump when school starts up again. I can't say what's best for you, but perhaps taking a little time off after graduating high school, and sorting things out a bit, may be good. Another thing to remember, is that there are usually Fall and Spring courses for a lot of classes, so if you aren't ready right away, you can just opt to join at the next interval if you're up to it.
Do not dismiss the many possibilities of going to a vocational or tech school. I went to college because it was expected of me, but never knew about the great opportunities available in the skilled trades.


Well-Known Member
I've been in college for eight years and have gotten nowhere. My degrees only earned me a debt which I cannot afford to repay right now. I haven't been able to get a job with them.
Not open for further replies.

Please Donate to Help Keep SF Running

Total amount