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The Importance of Higher Education

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From texts to success, the youth want to do everything in a shortcut. Let’s face it today’s teenagers do not know how to be the leaders that they are supposed to be. They overreact to the simplest of events, and lack maturity. Furthermore, social media is a constant reminder of the mistakes that were done yesterday. Although it is a reminder for them, it is a notification to the world. However, this is the case because teenagers do not have a mentor. They don’t have proper guidance to let them know that they can do it, and that they can strive to get a higher education so that they can be successful. I take extreme pride when I talk to you, having been selected to speak at such an event because I know it is through you that others will change. I see you in the crowd as people that are motivated, but lack information. Additionally, I know that, as tech savvy people the positive word of mouth will be spread, through the likes of Facebook and Twitter, to ensure success of other teenagers. In this world, we are constantly struck by pessimism or what others see as practicality. But that student sitting next to you that may be flunking out of high school may be successful if that student had the proper guidance and information.

My story is like the story of the many teenagers out there; I didn’t know what types of resources were available to me so that I can go to college. Some students simply stop at high school because they cannot afford the price of college, which seems to only be increasing as we speak. I’ve always dreamed of going to college; in my senior year my dreams were crushed. I felt like a small ant being crushed by a foot; small and helpless. My family kept telling me that there was absolutely no possible way for me to go to college. I worked hard in high school, like many of you do today, but I still could not afford the piles of debt. I knew the importance of higher education. However, I felt my dream was more important; I could not stop just because someone told me to stop. Today, I’m thankful that I did not stop because otherwise I may not have had the chance to share my passion with you.

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I kept searching for a way to make my dream possible. The saying, if there’s a will there’s a way is very common, however it is not untrue. I met all the deadlines that were necessary to secure my future. I even applied for my FAFSA. FAFSA is the free application for federal student aid; it is a valuable resource that is funded by the federal government. I applied to every scholarship I could find. Now more resources are available to you, like Scholarship experts, which compiles data for such scholarships. This is, especially, important when your family cannot afford college. Apply to as many as you can because there is no harm when you do so, there is only benefit.

Eventually, my hard work and persistence showed way for my success. I enrolled into the Point Park University in September of 2007. I graduated in 2011, and not only was I able to finish my undergraduate at Point Park University I was able to finish my MBA as well which I received this past April.

Maturity is something that comes with age, and some people think that is merely enough. Therefore what is the need to go to college, if I’m smart. The problem is times are going to change. For example, in 2008 the economy fell to shambles. If a person just had age and simple street smarts, what use is that in the terrible economy? There is none. The only foolproof plan to success is hard work and education. Time can take away your job, but it will never take away the ability to get a new one. That ability is a degree. In the United States, now a day, you cannot get a great job without a degree. For each investment made, there should be return on in investment, strictly speaking from an economic perspective. A great job is the steady return of investment in the future.

College is a brilliant return on investment because college is a way to explore what you have never explored before. Although the piles of debt are offsetting, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Upon deeper inspection, the iceberg will reveal social skills and many concepts that are necessary for success in life. If one wants to be a doctor, how and when else will the foundation be set for success in the future? If one wants to be a businessperson, how and when else will one learn about the economic principles that are necessary for that return on investment?

Many of the leaders that made Fortune 500 came out of college; college is a great experience that produces leaders of the future. If one digs deeper into the iceberg, then the necessary skills that make us the leaders we have deep inside ourselves are apparent. The good thing about college is that the institution gives an education, an experience that is equal to none. Unlike the stock market, college provides a steady return on investment in the form of a salary. Most college graduates make an average starting salary of $44,259 according to National Association of College and Employees. The return on investment is steady so as to provide that great return that is expected when those hopeful, beady eyed freshman enter into college. Of those beady-eyed freshman that entered into college one fall, I was one of them. I learned many lessons in the first semester, alone, that I would have never learned if I had not gone to college. College taught me to balance time, and take valuable notes to succeed in many classes that are necessary for graduate schools, and life thereon.

With that I’d like to leave you all with some parting words. Some people say that the world has many opportunities; some say that you can’t get anywhere unless you are born to a certain class of people. Some even say that it is pure fate that brings you where you are going to be, and you simply cannot do anything about it. I disagree with this statement I think people decide their own fates, and it doesn’t matter who your parents or how much money you have. I think that your education is the most important thing that you can have in life, it can bring you many things such as advancement, stability, a career, and of course knowledge. Just as the famous poet, Robert Frost, described the boy who was chopping wood. The boy’s hand was chopped off, the boy wailed as the ability to do any job was taken away from him. Similar to those without a degree are like the boy whose hand is cut off because the ability to do any job is taken away. Keep your hand, earn the degree, and be successful because that’s the only way to do it.

Today, I am here because I have realized the benefits that higher education has to offer. The world told me that I could not and should not go to college because the expense was too much. Like the iceberg I mentioned, the expense is only the tip the many benefits that higher education has to offer is deep down under. For those of you, that thought that college was impossible please take me as living proof that anyone can go to college. Today, I want to remind all of you, “yolo” you only live life once. Because you only have one life, make the most out of it. In your life, there are two paths in front of you one that is thorny and full of difficulties at first, but it will surely get easier as the road very often does with college graduates. While, one is the road that may be deceivingly easy at first, but will only get harder. It’s up to you what road you take, but as a traveler of the road, which was thorny, I can assure you that college is very valuable. In your life, there will be many decisions you will need to make. Surely, there will be many failures you will have to get up from; however, college will give you the confidence to get up from those failures. Remember students, as Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.” College only makes you repeat that so many times so you can make excellence a habit. Thank you all.      

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