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  • Writer's pictureRyan Luby

A Better Life

It might have started with your parents.

Or your parents, parents.. or probably..their.. parents.

More than likely though, it started even before them.

As long as humans have been around it seems we want what’s best for our family.

And parents, for their children, wish for them to have a better life.

I couldn’t argue against that.

But the issue doesn’t lie in the fact of us wanting the next generation to have a better life, it lies in the definition of better.

What is better?

Without defining what better actually is, the idea of wanting a better life for our future generation doesn’t mean anything.

It’s like saying you are working toward achieving your 1 year, 3 year, and 5 year goals but when anyone asks you what they are you just shrug. You reply, “I never really set goals, I just know we are supposed to have goals, and we are supposed to work toward them because that’s a good idea.”

But without clearly defined goals you aren’t actually working toward anything. You are just pretending to do so because you know it’s the right idea.

Without defining better, we leave the next generation’s future up to someone else to define.

And someone will define it.

Most recently, Better has been described ingeniously by the education system who launched a PR campaign assuring us the right path, the better path, for everyone was more education. And for a short while, they might have actually been right. But, it was a very short while. Quickly, the cost of education increased.. drastically, the ease of borrowing money became, even easier. And the access to information grew tremendously, and became cheaper.

Still, people everywhere are hoping the next generation has a better life, and allowing the out-dated definition of better to guide more people down a path that has been well-walked.. and the results are clear.

  • An article published by the Washington post reported on a study that showed only 62% of college graduates had a job that required a degree.

  • Of that 62%, only 27% of college grads with jobs, had a job that was closely related to their major.

  • Oh and the most recent number for the U.S. student loan debt crisis? That would be 1.2 Trillion.. with a T.

But I’m no expert, and I don’t have all the answers. Plus, 90% of all statistics are made up anyway.

What I can say is. Things change. A better life in 1960 isn’t the same as a better life today. And a better life today, is different than a better life yesterday.

Education is always the key to growing.. but education has also changed. Education today can still be found in a book, but it can also be found online for free in amazing places like Khan academy. Or on youtube for free. Being taught by someone more experienced, and more accomplished than most college professors. And youtube has a pause button, and a way to replay, or fast forward. I’m not saying it’s the same as learning in a classroom, or better all the time. But.. it’s also not that different. And certainly not $25,000 a year different.. and rising. Or even better, education can be found on the job. Working alongside others in the real-world.

This is not an anti-college rant. It’s a pro choice rant. Not that kind..

Let’s redefine better ourselves.

A better life involves a young adult being able to gain real-world experience.

How about real-world experience for free?

How about real world experience where you also get paid?

That would be a job.

If you are the whiz who has scholarships and knows what you want to do, then go to school. The sooner the better, and finish as quick as you can.

If you are certain you want to work in a field that requires a degree.. then borrow away.. I guess.


Get a job.

I love school. And if the price was right, I would be encouraging everyone to go, and go , and go back for more.

But the price isn’t right.

And the opportunity cost of spending your time in a classroom for over 4 years, while simultaneously borrowing over $50,000 which you will be paying back for years versus the potential to gain experience, while getting paid, and potentially building up dare I say a positive net worth.

I would choose the latter if I knew better.

And today, we should all know better.

Because it’s up to us to more clearly define the better life, that the next generation will live.

Learn more on this:

Video: Mike Rowe Sunday Special

Article: Is College Overrated

Article: Why College is Overrated

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