Is College The Right Path?

Many of us have grown up believing that to be self-reliant and have a promising future we must go to college. Liberals continue to believe that college is (as a general rule of thumb) the best way to lead a happy and successful life. However, many Conservatives argue college simply is not worth the time, money, and effort, and claim happiness and success can be found through other paths. While no one path is right for everyone, there is a compromise to be made between these two extremes. As a general rule, I believe college is worth the time, money, and effort. Nevertheless, Conservative concerns such as the huge amount of student loan debt, the skills gap and lack of employment opportunities should be taken into account when deciding whether to attend college. If you are interested in pursuing a very specific career field like medicine or law, college is a great option for you. On the other hand, if you find yourself either unsure about your future career or wanting flexibility in your career options, the Conservative alternatives of vocational schools or starting your own business might just be your best bet.

Both of my parents attended college and received post-graduate degrees. My mother was a high school and college math teacher and my dad was an attorney. With my parents’ educational background, I have never really considered not attending college. My career goal is to become a registered nurse, perhaps in surgery or labor and delivery. Ever since I started high school I have eagerly anticipated going to college. Because my career choice is very specific, attending college is probably my best option.

However, upon researching the costs and benefits of college, I realize it would be naive of me to assume that college is the best option for everyone.   For those unsure about their career paths, college probably is not the best option. Dr. Fritz Grupe, founder of, has found that “Eighty percent of college-bound students have yet to choose a major.” Also, according to NBC News, “…Indecisiveness can drain college savings accounts as students restart course sequences or transfer schools — losing credits in the process.” 1* The College Board has found that five and six-year students are not uncommon. They also found that roughly 40 percent of those who start a four-year degree program still have not earned a degree after year six. 1*

The bottom line is this: the sooner you choose a career, the better. The clock is ticking and according to the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, your indecisiveness effects more than just you. They claimed that, “…student loans are ‘beginning to have the same effect’ on the economy that the housing bubble and crash created.” 2* This issue must be taken seriously and into account when deciding to pursue a college education.

The skills gap must also be considered. According to a CNN article, employers may be expecting too much of their employees. Colleges are just not equipped to give them the skills companies want their employees to have right after graduation. Patrick Gillespie, a CNN journalist found that, “65% of job postings for secretaries who work for executives require a college degree.” But, according to Joseph Fuller, a Harvard Business School professor, among current executive secretaries, only 19% have college degrees. 3*

“According to the labor department, there were 5.3 million job openings in America in May. That’s better than the meager 2.1 million job openings at the depth of the recession.”

“However, the rise in job openings is running parallel next to a bad trend: the average number of days a job posting remains available is going up”, Harvard professor Fuller says. 3* There is an acute shortage of skills in the U.S. and many Conservatives blame the quality of our college education. found that “in 2013 56% of employers thought half or fewer of college graduates had the skills and knowledge to advance within their companies.” 2*

A final consideration is that many colleges are very Liberal. Some claim that colleges may be “brainwashing” students instead of educating them. David Horowitz, MA, conservative activist and author, claims that university, “curriculum has been expanded to include agendas about ‘social change’ that are overtly political.” 2* Some conservatives argue that attending college may not teach you to think and learn things for yourself. These are two very important skills employers are looking for in their employees.

To conclude, there really is no definite answer to the question, “is college worth it?”. I hate to say that, “it depends”, but in all honesty this question should be considered on a case-by-case basis. If you know where you want to go, there is a good chance college can take you there. If you have no specific future plans, college very well may end up a waste of time and money. But, ultimately, the choice is yours. As I have discussed, college is not the only way to succeed; but it is my way.







Conservatives See Better Alternatives to Attending College

Despite many Liberals’ claims, Conservatives believe that a college education is not what it used to be. Good-paying jobs are getting harder and harder to find with young adults graduating with useless or soon to be obsolete degrees like anthropology or psychology. Conservatives believe that many people should consider starting their own business, building their own brand, or attending a vocational school. These alternatives are not only less expensive but help you gain the skills you need to secure a stable job.

First, it is no secret that student loan debt is a major financial burden on college graduates. According to the Huffington Post, “America now holds $1 trillion in student loan debt. This is more than home mortgages, car loans and credit cards….” 1* To add insult to injury, college tuition prices are skyrocketing. In fact, “the cost of college has gone up 1,000% in the past 40 consecutive years.” 1* This growth rate has far surpassed the inflation rate. Those who are college-bound need to be prepared to pay an average of $920/month to $1,840/month of student loans for ten years. 1* Let those numbers sink in for a minute before you decide to earn a degree that will leave you grossly unqualified for the real world job market. According to the National Student Clearinghouse, there is only about 56% percent chance that students who start college will finish earning a degree within six years. 2* Many college students who do not finish their degrees only have large debts in exchange for their trouble.

While Liberals claim more and more jobs are requiring their employees to have college degrees, Conservatives argue that college no longer provides graduates with the skills required for today’s job market. While an annual study conducted by the consulting firm Accenture found that 80% of graduates from the Class of 2014 expected on-the-job training, more than 50% of graduates from the Classes of 2012 and 2013 report receiving no on-the-job training. 1* These statistics demonstrate that employers are looking to hire people with skills and experience: not just those with college degrees.

We are living in a technology-driven world economy. While our technological advancements are amazing, colleges are growing more and more inadequate in their ability to teach students marketable skills. According to Huffington Post journalist Michael Price, “If you obtain a business or marketing degree you will never be anything more than a project manager, and over-time more and more technologies will become available that will automate much of what you do making you completely dispensable.” 1* Colleges just cannot seem to teach the skills that jobs in the real economy require.   Price claims, “Millennials are the most educated generation in human history, which is why they are also one of the most underemployed generations in human history… college graduates can’t find meaningful work because there’s too high a supply of the same people with the same credentials and not enough jobs to fill them all with meaningful work.” 1*

These statistics make going to college sound like a waste of time. While this seems to go against everything we have ever been taught in public schools, there may be a lot of truth to this belief. Michael Price claims that, “[a college education] will never be effective or progressive enough to keep up with the growing needs of employers who look to college institutions for their future employees.” 1* Price suggests starting your own business or attending trade schools which will help you gain the skills you need to obtain stable employment.

Trade or vocational schools are a great option for those not interested in starting their own business or creating their own brand. According to The Huffington Post, “There are an estimated 3 million labor jobs available; 90% of them don’t require a college degree and most of them pay more than white collar jobs. They simply require a skill.” 1* However, Price cautions that many vocational schools are more expensive and less beneficial than traditional universities. Price also suggests that we take advantage of the many non-traditional learning methods, including YouTube and other online education programs. 1*

It is clear that a college education is not required in order to lead a productive and happy life. The question is, are the costs of not obtaining a college degree outweighed by the benefits of saved time and money? The answer to this and other important questions will be addressed in my next post.






Is College Worth It? Let’s Do The Math

With college tuition continually on the rise and many degrees failing to guarantee employment, many wonder if college is worth the time, effort, and resources. Liberals are eager to convince us that without a college degree our future is bleak. They tell us to expect very few job opportunities, poor health, and even a shorter life expectancy. While studies have shown that college graduates tend to be “healthy, wealthy, and wise”, this is not the full picture. In this post, I will explore the Liberal’s arguments. In my next post, I will discuss why college might not be the right option for you after all.

Despite the costs of time, effort, and money, gaining a college education does have significant and noteworthy benefits. On average, college graduates have more and better employment opportunities, make more money, and tend to lead happier, healthier and more productive lives. The phrase, “healthy, wealthy, and wise” may be cliché, but in this case, it does apply to most college graduates when compared to their less-educated peers.

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of being a college graduate is that you tend to make more money. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor, “…students who receive a Bachelor’s degree or a more advanced degree have, on average, more than twice the income of high school drop-outs and students with just a high school diploma…Bachelor’s degree recipients have estimated life-time earnings that are more than a $1 million greater than the lifetime earnings of people with just a high school diploma.” 1* If being financially self-reliant is important to you, then graduating college should be on your bucket list.

While the financial benefit of going to college is often overstated, it is important to know that the, “cost of not going to college has risen.” According to a Pew Research study, “Millennials with just a high school diploma are faring worse today than their counterparts in earlier generations by almost every economic measure examined.” 2* Keep this and the graph below in mind the next time you are about to dismiss the financial benefits of going to college.


College graduates also have more and better employment opportunities than those without a college degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, those who obtain a bachelor’s degree or higher have “…half the unemployment rate of people with just a high school diploma.” 1* The truth of the matter is, more and more jobs are requiring college degrees. In fact, “only 34% of American jobs require a high school diploma or less in 2017, compared to 72% in the 1970s…. According to a June 2016 study, 99% of job growth (or 11.5 million of 11.6 million jobs) between 2010 and 2016 went to workers with associate’s degrees, bachelor’s, or graduate degrees.” 3* More and better employment opportunities also means going to college helps to reduce poverty and the burden on tax payers. College graduates are also more likely to have health insurance and retirement plans. In 2008, 70% of college graduates had access to employer-provided health insurance compared to 50% of high school graduates. 3* This means most college graduates tend to be more economically valuable and less burdensome to society.

Henry Bienan, PhD, President of Northwestern University, argues that a college education results in “greater productivity, lower crime, better health, [and] better citizenship for more educated people.” 2* Studies have even found that college graduates are more likely to do volunteer work (43% compared to 19% of high school graduates) and donate blood (9% compared to 4% of high school graduates and 2% of high school drop-outs). 3*   A Pew Research Study found that, “…college-educated Millennials also have lower unemployment and poverty rates than their less-educated peers. They’re also more likely to be married and less likely to be living in their parent’s home.”



Psychologist Laura Carstensen, director of the Stanford Center on Longevity stated, “I think most social scientists would put their money on education as the most important factor in ensuring longer lives,” Scientists and other experts also claimed in a paper published earlier this year by the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Education not only predicts mortality in the U.S., it is also a large predictor of health in most countries, regardless of their level of development.” Experts have found that there is as much as a seven-year gap in life expectancy between high school and college graduates. 4*


While college may be expensive and a major sacrifice of time and effort, experts and college graduates alike claim it is a worth-while investment. In fact, “…about nine-in-ten college grads in every generation say college has been, or will be, worth the investment. Despite a steep rise in college tuitions, Millennials agree.” 2* It is true that going to college is not the right option for everyone. But for many people, going to college is a tradition they intend to pass on to future generations.






Marijuana: Pandora’s Box Has Been Opened

Got pot?  Conservatives do not!  All kidding aside, Conservatives have legitimate concerns about legalizing medical marijuana, such as the gateway effect and lack of needed research into the effectiveness of medical marijuana. However, Liberals also pose arguments that should not be ignored, including the right of an individual to self- medicate. At a minimum, medical marijuana should be legalized for medical research. When, and if, research demonstrates that marijuana is more effective for specific diseases and conditions than existing medicine, marijuana should be legalized to treat those diseases.

Many Conservatives worry about the “gateway effect” and claim that, “There is ample evidence that early initiation of drug use primes the brain for enhanced later responses to other drugs…Establishing it as a third legal drug, along with tobacco and alcohol, will increase the expanding opioid epidemic.” 1*

However, Liberals disagree, and state that marijuana is not a gateway drug. According to a Fact check article, “Though there are correlations between marijuana use and other drugs, there is no conclusive evidence that one actually causes the other.” Liberals make the point that, “Just because marijuana smokers might be more likely to later use, say, cocaine, does not imply that using marijuana causes one to use cocaine.” 2* Careful analysis tells us that just because two things are correlated does not mean that one caused the other.

Indeed, Liberals advance an intriguing argument that medical marijuana is the solution to the opioid epidemic because it is a solution to many people’s problem with chronic pain. Medical research has been severely limited by federal classification as a Schedule One drug. Researchers and doctors are hesitant to seek approval of medical marijuana research projects because approval is rare. They also have legitimate concerns about their licenses and jobs. 3* However, much anecdotal evidence indicates that marijuana is an effective treatment for chronic pain. According to, “Some medicines based on cannabis such as Sativex are being tested on multiple sclerosis patients and used to treat cancer pain. The drug has been approved in Canada and in some European countries. In another trial involving 56 human patients, scientists saw a 30% reduction in pain in those who smoked marijuana.” 3*

There are additional Liberal arguments that should not be ignored. For example, why should the government dictate what an individual uses to control their pain or other medical condition?   You would think that Conservatives would argue for individual liberty and less government interference with individual choice but they do not. In fact, this is one of the Liberals’ arguments.

It is clear that both sides of this issue pose legitimate arguments. However, the solution to this issue is not so clear. A compromise must be made between the Conservative and Liberal perspectives. A reasonable compromise would be to legalize medical marijuana for medical research and legalize it as medically appropriate. If existing or new research demonstrates that marijuana is more effective for specific diseases and conditions than existing medicine, marijuana should be legalized to treat those diseases. The FDA should treat marijuana as they do any other drug and can approve its use to treat specific medical conditions.

According to a 2013 survey in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly 8 in 10 doctors approve the use of medical marijuana. Additionally, survey results from the California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System found that, “92% of patients said that medical marijuana alleviated symptoms of their serious medical conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, and cancer.” 4* Many doctors and their patients support the legalization of marijuana for medical uses. To ignore the 23+ states that currently allow for both medical and recreational use would be unwise. 4* Like it or not, the cat may already be out of the bag, and Conservatives may not be able to close Pandora’s box. The majority of our society is leaning towards the legalization of marijuana’s medical and recreational use. 57% of U.S. adults are in favor of the legalization of marijuana. 5* If we cannot stop the use of marijuana, the least we can take advantage of its potential medical benefits.

HelloMD CEO Mark Hadfield claims, “There is overwhelming evidence that marijuana helps to alleviate a range of conditions that affect millions of Americans. If you take into account the relatively benign nature of marijuana—with zero deaths from overdose—and contrast that with this overwhelming benefit, it is really quite an eye-opener.” 6*

Despite an increase in medical research showing positive effects for chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer, and many other diseases, marijuana still carries a significant drug stigma. As Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “It can be tricky to be on the right side of science, but on the wrong side of ideology.” However, this stigma is well worth fighting to overcome. By at least legalizing marijuana for medical research, we can help stimulate the “medical marijuana revolution”. 7*

I must admit that I have a preference bias. I have a disorder that scientists claim would be helped by medical marijuana.   Therefore, who could blame me for encouraging this drug’s legalization for medical use? I hope that future research of the medical uses of marijuana reveals many life-saving and pain-relieving solutions to many conditions, including my own.