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Four signs you’re wasting your time in college

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Sara Tiano

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Congratulations Aztecs, you’ve made it to college! That’s an accomplishment not everybody reaches, and you should be proud of yourself for getting this far. Now for the bad news: a lot of you probably shouldn’t be here. At least not yet, that is.

Sure, based on societal norms you’re supposed to come to college right after high school, but that isn’t the only path, nor is it necessarily the best option for everyone. While the traditional plan works for some, many of you aren’t getting the most out of your (very expensive) college education. If any of the following categories sound like you, it may be time to reevaluate your plan and your current enrollment status.

 

1. You’re a freshman or a sophomore.

To tell you straight up, lower division students are wasting their money here. And if you’re an out-of-state freshman or sophomore, this is doubly true for you.

Don’t let a negative stigma deceive you: community college is where everyone should start. General education classes suck everywhere. You’re not going to have a better COMM 101 experience at a four-year university than you would at a community college. In fact, you may even prefer the smaller classroom experience that a community college offers, and you’ll also save a ridiculous amount of money.

San Diego Mesa College’s per-unit cost is $46. For a 15-unit semester you’re looking at $690 for tuition. San Diego State’s estimated 2014 tuition per semester is $3,443. Transferring to SDSUafter completing the first two years at a community college could save a student more than $11,000. That’s a big difference considering the total average student debt is around $30,000.

 

2. You’re still looking for your passion in life.

You’re looking in the wrong place. Sure, in the past college has been seen as a time of self-exploration, activism and broadening horizons. Back then, going to college was also practically free.

If you haven’t noticed, universities these days aren’t about learning for learning’s sake, they’re about getting a job. If you’re not explicitly working toward a specific career path, you’re wasting your time and money in college.

 

3. You don’t know what you want to be when you grow up.

I don’t blame you. It’s ridiculous that society expects usto figure out our entire life’s destiny by 18 or 19. But don’t fall victim to this façade and waste your money pretending you know what you want when you may just need more time deciding.

Trying to figure out what you want to do from inside a classroom doesn’t make much sense. The only way to really learn about jobs is to have them. Go out for entry-level positions in industries you think you might be interested in, and test the waters before you commit to a career path. Every job you have helps you learn more about what you do and don’t want in your future career. Come back to school when you have a better idea of what you want that future career to look like.

 

4. You’re more focused on doing you than doing school.

If your motto is “C’s get degrees,” you’re more dedicated to your social calendar than your class syllabus or you’re constantly skipping class to go to every music festival this season, you shouldn’t be here.

It’s totally normal and wonderful to be in a time of life where you want to branch out, have a great time and just plain enjoy your newfound freedom. For that to be your priority when you’re in school inevitably means you’re not maximizing the potential of your education. With how much you’re spending to be here, you should really try to get the most out of it.

If this is you (and be honest, Aztecs), take a break from school and ride out this young, wild and free phase. Get a job that pays the bills and in your time off, have all the fun you want. Spend your party years making a little money instead of wasting it on classes you don’t even want to go to.

 

[quote]If you fit one of the descriptions on this list, it doesn’t mean college isn’t right for you, it just means college isn’t right for you right now.[/quote] Take some time during the summer to evaluate where you’re at. If you’re not getting the most out of your college experience, don’t come back in the fall. Apply for a leave of absence, do what you need to do and save your tuition dollars for a time when you can fully appreciate their worth.

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

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