Older teens live in a world of questions.
If you’ve been in high school, you know what I mean.
Life is an “oyster” with endless possibilities and the questions are urgently banging down your door.
Where will I go to college? What will I study? How will I pay for it all?
All these questions seem so urgent and they can be overwhelming. But there’s one question that you absolutely must ask yourself before going to college. We’ll get to that soon.
Questions Aren’t the Problem
Despite the temptation, please don’t stop asking questions! The questions aren’t the problem. It’s the answers. At least, the ones you assume.
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Assumed answers are just that: assumed. They’re answers that we take for granted and don’t bother giving further consideration to. A good example might be…”you need to go to college”.
Our lives are often largely mapped out by social expectations. We assume we’ll get through school, find a college to study at, graduate, and get a good job. Millions of students assume this life track without really considering if it’s the right fit for them.
This ends up doing a lot of damage in many cases. Students go into debt for a degree that they assumed they needed but never nailed down why they needed it.
The Question Every Student Needs to Ask
Maybe it’s a question you thought you grew out of. It’s true: many younger humans have no problem asking this question.
The question is “Why?”
So you think you need to attend college and get a degree. Why?
Thinking critically about this question will save you a lot of time and money wasted down the road.
Fighting back against assumed answers and really digging into your purpose will help you step into adult life armed with intentionality and a clear roadmap. This in turn will help you make the most of your education and prepare you for the next steps in life.
How Do I Ask “Why” Effectively?
When considering college decisions, it’s important to ask “why” questions to make sure you are on the right path. How do you effectively assess your situation and the decisions in front of you?
It certainly helps to have an end goal in mind. If you know what you want to do and accomplish, you’ll have a much easier time answering the “Why college?” question. For example, if you know engineering is in your future, then you’ll have a pretty clear answer to “Why college?”
If you don’t know what your end goal is, don’t rush the college answer. It’s better to hold back and get clarity than to rush ahead into socially-expected assumed answers that are going to cost you. Think about your strengths and passions and consider what God may be drawing you to do. If you know some kind of career or work will be in your future, consider what you can develop now to optimize your career flexibility and impact.
If you are still wondering if college is right for you, take our fast quiz to discover your college fit.
Jace Bower is the Marketing Coordinator for Unbound. An Unbound alumnus, he has experienced firsthand the powerful advantages of doing college differently and participating in an intentional community. Jace graduated with his bachelor’s degree in History in 2016 and has worked in restaurant management and marketing since then. He also served on the Unbound Student Cabinet in 2019.
The author of two books and a semi-regular blogger, Jace can often be found doing something with words. When he’s not, chances are he’s reading about theology, listening to music, or playing pool or tennis with his wife Shannon in their Virginia home.