As an independent international educational consultant (my “real” job), I work with adolescents to help them figure out their futures. Most of my clients are college-bound, but not all. And even though I work in the education industry, I do not believe that college is the best path for all teenagers. Additionally, we live in a society where a college education is no longer as desirable as it once was due to the prohibitive cost, increasing absurdity of the college admissions and application process, and existing technology era where we have machines that can think for us. A fair number of my adolescent clients ask me, “Joanna, why do I have to go to college when I can create an app, or video game, or company and make a couple of million dollars before I’m 25 (years old)?”
Exactly, and good point, Kiddo!
Plus, students who really struggle in the classroom due to learning and/or emotional challenges are not keen on enduring four more years of school (meaning college) if their primary and secondary educational experiences have been a living hell. And can we blame them?
We live in a society where a self-employed tradesman can make an incredibly good living without having a framed diploma hanging on the wall. We also live in a world where creative types, like musicians, can be successful and fulfilled without taking the traditional path of graduating from high school and then attending college. Just ask Nikki Sixx of Motely Crue. The Sixxter didn’t attend college, and he turned out more than ok.
So, if you’re a teen, or the parent of a teen, and you’re grappling with whether to pursue college or not, don’t allow society to paint you into a corner that does not align with your (or your child’s) soul’s purpose.
What do I mean by this? We are all souls who borrow a human body in each lifetime to experience life lessons and hopefully learn from these lessons and evolve. Our core essence is our soul, not our body. Just like our cars are not who we are, but rather are masses of energy in the form of steel, rubber, plastic, and so on that get us to where we’re going. Our body is a mass of energy that houses our soul and is a vehicle used to help us accomplish tasks in the physical world.
We each have a distinct purpose in life whether this is to teach, create art, or support and protect others. As long as we are engaging in our passions to help make the world a better place, we’re good. It’s when we’re stuck in a job or career that is unfulfilling, doesn’t bring us joy, etc. that we get into trouble because we are not aligned with our higher purpose. Our life is more difficult when we are not aligned, and we have to work harder for less. When we are aligned with our purpose, work doesn’t feel like work because we’re experiencing joy, fulfillment, and self-actualization.
My guess is that if we could FaceTime Nikki Sixx and ask him if creating art is a burden to him, his answer would be an emphatic and resounding “No!”. He would most likely say that although being a musician has its challenges, overall, he would not change the opportunity he’s been given to make a positive impact on the world. And this is why each and every one of us is here: to uplift, support, and love.
If you are sitting on the horns of a dilemma about whether to change jobs or careers, or whether to push your kid to attend college or not, or whether to sell everything you own and walk out the front door of your old life to embark on a grand adventure like I did, take a time-out and think about why you feel conflicted. I’ll help you out here by stating that your inner conflict stems from your ego and soul being in battle with each other. Your ego is telling you that you need to do what society expects, or what brings security, while your soul wants you to live in joy and alignment. It’s an easy choice when you think about it. It’s just the insecurity and logistical hoop-jumping that accompanies any major life change that can be overwhelming.
What’s the lesson here? Do what your soul is telling you (or your kid) to do. Don’t worry about what society will think about your decision because it’s your life and you’re meant to live it for YOU, not for others’ approval or convenience.
Nikki Sixx listened to his soul and pursued his passion; he didn’t care a whole lot about what others thought of him, and today he’s driving around in a golf cart while vacationing in Mexico with his beautiful family (according to Instagram). You can do it, too!