Remember what our generation was told growing up? "Go to college and get a degree, you'll then be able to get a good job." I think it's safe to say those days are over.
While there are certain professions where a degree is a must (Doctor, lawyer, nurse, etc.) there are many that don't require one. The question then becomes what do you want for your life?
If you have a definite purpose and goal for attending college, you will succeed. If you just want to go because that's what you were told you "have to do," you will graduate with massive debt, and no plan. All the while, you could have been getting a real world education through travel.
Before you head off, or head back to college, think about these eight reasons why travel could be the only education you need to create a life of freedom.
1. Only 27 percent of jobs in the United States require a degree
A generation ago, a college degree was a prerequisite for getting a job. Today, only 27 percent of jobs require at least an associate degree according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's worse, PBS tells us that 47 percent of workers have an associates degree or higher, and that by 2022, we will have more overqualified college graduates than available jobs.
2. Only 27 percent of graduates have a job related to their major
It's no secret that many college graduates today don't end up with jobs in their field, As a matter of fact; the Washington Post tells us that number is only 27 percent. You could spend years of your life only to end up starting your adult life from square one.
3. Today's average student graduates with $33,000 in debt
College isn't cheap; PBS tells us that college tuition has increased by 27 percent since 2008. The average student now walks away from college with $33,000 in debt according to the Wall Street Journal, and a slim hope of paying that debt off.
4. You can travel the world inexpensively
Travel is not cheap, but methods such as "travel hacking", have made travel affordable. New York Times best-selling author, Chris Guillebeau, travelled to every country in the world (193) using travel hacking methods.
If you don't have A+ credit, a great way to pay for a travel is teaching English. In almost every country in the world, you can find work as an English teacher. This piece on Huffington Post offers great ways to travel cost effectively.
5. Travel exposes you to other cultures and ways of life
We experience a wide variety of the world here in the United States, but it's not the same as what you would experience in those parts of the world. When you travel, you get to see history come alive in Amsterdam, feel your heart race as you see a lion on a Kenyan national park. You can taste real hummus in Israel. You can't get those experiences, and the education that comes from those experiences, in a classroom.
6. Travel pushes you out of your comfort zone
I vividly remember how venerable I felt when I got off the train in Sydney, Australia hours before I could check into my hotel room. I had no working phone, my luggage to drag around, and I was underdressed because I didn't properly research the weather.
I did get my bearings and found some WIFI. That experience taught me how to operate outside of my comfort zone, and the feeling of victory that can happen when you figure things out on your own. Life is boring when you only operate in your comfort zone; just beyond it is where the magic happens.
7. Travel gives you valuable life experience that a classroom never will
Seeing history come alive, learning new and different ways of doing things, and learning new languages from native speakers are what travel can do for you. When you travel, you get "street smarts" that you'll use the rest of your life. Those experiences are what will define how you see the world, and different situations in life.
8. You don't need a degree to create financial freedom
Whether it's Steve Jobs, Michael Dell, or Bill Gates, there are many stories of people who dropped out or didn't go to college, and changed the world. A degree doesn't lead to anything other than what you use it for after you graduate. Financial freedom comes from the opportunities YOU create.
Today, there are over 2.5 billion people online, and in three years, it's estimated that number will triple. The Internet and social media have taken away the gatekeepers. There's never been a greater time to create a thriving business or leverage the Internet to land your dream job in a creative. The stories like Steve Jobs' have nothing to do with their education; he and others achieved success because of their drive and perseverance.
This article is not meant to be a knock on college, anyone who went to college, or will go. This article is written to give you another option and to challenge you to think about what you want from your life. Don't go because society has conditioned us to believe college is what it takes to be successful in life.
Choosing travel can give you a complete and real world education. It can shake you out of your comfort zone and teach you to love and appreciate life. It's also very exciting. I will leave you with the words of Steve Jobs.
"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Photo is author's own.