by Aoife Burke
I would tend to disagree with this statement. It was reported widely in the media in Ireland today, 21st October 2019, that wealthier people are more likely to go to college and do high points’ courses such as engineering, medicine, and finance. Judging from my own personal experience only this week, I went into a shop asking if they wanted any part-time staff and I was asked what college I was attending as part of a quick chat with the shop assistant. It is a proven fact that those with college degrees, in particular STEM (science, technology, education, maths) degrees, tend to earn more.
I lived in Dublin for 6 years before college and I was often asked what degree I had. I was told repeatedly to go and earn a degree, as I wouldn’t get a good job without one. I was earning a living as a legal secretary and the pay was nothing to write home about! I was making tea for people who had degrees and found a sense of snobbery directed towards me, although, at that time, I had almost finished my higher cert in applied social studies from Athlone IT (which I now have!).
College is critical to success in life. Having a degree lets other people know what kind of person you are. It opens doors that would otherwise remain shut and people will connect with you on a professional level. The few that have made it without an education probably never told of the struggle to get there. I’m thinking of Bill Gates of Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. These are in a tiny minority and they probably had natural genius and business instincts anyway. If jobs are accepting people with a second level education, then either they are trying to save money, or they are jobs in the service industry. In these jobs, you can get easily fired, badly treated, low pay and long hours, working tough, menial jobs. Nobody really wants to do these jobs. This is why they are easily available. I believe in treating people with some respect, but I do not allow them to disrespect me either.
College matters, as the grades you earn will affect you for the rest of your life and they are held on record forever. I did not consider myself academic until I saw my old transcripts and saw I had passed exams in law, psychology and social studies. The days of working your way up in a job are long gone. People in management tend to be suited to the role and many possess degrees. Of course, college is expensive, and it tends to divide up the haves and have nots. It shouldn’t. It’s a proven route out of poverty, driving many students and parents into debt in the process. It’s a tough gig getting through college, especially after the recession and the housing crisis. It’s now a case of ‘what cards do you hold’? However you get there, get there if you can.