Questioning college

Michael Tortorich
Michael Tortorich is a reporter for The Gonzales Weekly Citizen. He can be reached at reporter1 @

Racking up thousands of dollars of debt and investing four years of your time on hitting the books is an all too common part of going to college these days.

Is such an investment worth it?

It all depends on the person and their plans. While getting an education and improving one’s life is always admirable and should be promoted, it might not be the right move for everyone. An education is always of value, but it may be moot for some.

Getting a degree is no guarantee. No college promises employment after completing a degree program. Unfortunately a number of students enroll into expensive colleges only to learn that when it’s too late.

Just like in many things in life, you get out of college what you put into it.

For many young students their college years represent the first time in their lives when they are truly on their own. For some that freedom is too much to handle and they end up skipping classes and their grades slip. The temptation to party with friends often trumps nestling into the corner of the library with a textbook.

Success in school often means delaying gratification and knowing the proper time and place for everything. When I was an LSU student I remember many times when I wanted to skip class or blow off studying to hang out with friends. Sticking to one’s guns was never fun, but it usually paid off when report cards came out.

Not everyone is cut out to be a college student. I’ve known many people who gave it the old college try but ultimately found that their schooling interfered with their education, to borrow a phrase from Mark Twain. And I’ve also known people who went through the motions to graduate because they felt like it was the right thing to do. These people readily admit they weren’t sure what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives when they were 18 years old. And that’s OK. I didn’t either. I still don’t.

On the other side of the coin, there are many highly intelligent people in this world who never received a formal education. Many successful people never set foot on a college campus, or any classroom for that matter.

Sometimes taking the road less traveled works out for the best.

In this current economic climate it seems white-collar jobs are constantly vanishing. Meanwhile the demand for blue-collar remains high.

As a society we shouldn’t frown upon blue-collar work. The men and women who do such jobs are the backbone of our economy. They’re the ones who get things done. It’s honest work and an honest living, and many of those jobs pay well. It may take some sweat on the brow and a little heavy lifting, but it’ll pay the bills.

A degree is not necessarily a prerequisite to success. I used to think that my entire future hinged on the decision I made when I entered college at 18 years old. A little older and a little wiser, I now know that it’s never to late to make a move and make things better.