School vs. work (and the gap year)

Ryan Eidson  —  May 5, 2016

Two generations ago, high school graduates chose one of these options:

  • Continue education at a university (at least four more years of school)
  • Learn a trade at a trade school (one to two more years of school)
  • Join the military
  • Find a job now and figure it all out later

The choice for high school graduates a generation ago was: “Which college do I attend? There are so many options for where to go to school and what to study.”

Here’s the choice facing many high school graduates this year: “With college just so stinkin’ expensive these days, is it worth going at all?”

The current generation is looking at the mistakes of their parents (and older siblings). They’re extremely practical, and they see the massive student debt that others have signed for, just to have that ball and chain drag along for years.

College is a choice that’s up to you. If you want to take a “gap year” to explore what interests you in the real world (the workplace), do it. If you have a gig you can land that allows you to take afternoon or evening classes to get your degree in six years (and earn a living while doing so), great.

If you’re going to college just to party and see how many bottles you can down on Friday night, that’s a big waste of your tuition dollars.

Unlike what was taught in the late 20th century, school is not always the answer. Especially the lecture-style system of compliance we see in education today.

Related Post: The Best Graduation Gift You Can Give (and it’s not cash)

Ryan Eidson


I have the unique ability to make complex ideas easy to understand. I am the author of A Couple with Common Cents and live in rural Missouri.