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Is College Necessary?

Episode overview

Having grown up in an era when success seemed determined by a college diploma, Pete Newsome and Ricky Baez sit down to discuss whether college is necessary for success. As Gen-Xers, they’ve witnessed the seismic shifts in the job landscape, prompting a lively debate on whether a college education still holds its weight amidst emerging alternative routes.

They explore the complexities of higher education and its potential pitfalls. Pete and Ricky scrutinize if colleges are truly equipping students with the tools needed to carve out successful careers or if they’re just handing over an expensive piece of paper. They stress the significance of mentorship and the empowerment of today’s youth to chart their own courses—whether that’s academia, military service, or entrepreneurship. Focus is placed on cultivating guidance rather than dictating choices, advocating for a personalized GPS to navigate the career roadmap.

As the conversation unfolds, they challenge listeners to question the status quo and explore the value metrics schools use to define success. Do these reflect genuine happiness and fulfillment, or are they merely a facade? They share the importance of discovering one’s ‘ikigai’ and celebrate those who choose passion projects over pompous titles.

41 minutes

Pros of attending college

  • Educational and career opportunities: College provides access to specialized knowledge and skills in various fields. It often serves as a gateway to professional careers that require specific degrees or certifications.
  • Networking and social connections: College environments offer abundant opportunities to network with peers, professors, and industry professionals. These connections can be invaluable for future career prospects and personal growth. Additionally, the social aspect of college life, including exposure to diverse ideas and cultures, can be enriching.
  • Personal development: College is not just about academic growth; it’s also a crucial time for personal development. Students learn to become more independent, manage their time and finances, and develop a sense of responsibility. College can also be a time for exploring interests and discovering new passions.

Cons of attending college

  • Financial burden: One of the most significant drawbacks of attending college is the potential financial burden. Tuition fees, books, accommodation, and other expenses can lead to substantial debt. Student loans can take years to pay off, impacting financial freedom and choices post-graduation.
  • No guarantee of success: A college degree does not guarantee employment or career success. The job market can be competitive, and not all fields have the same demand or job growth. Graduates may find themselves underemployed or in jobs unrelated to their field of study.
  • Time commitment: College requires a significant time commitment, often four years or more, for a bachelor’s degree. This time could be spent gaining work experience, learning trade skills, or pursuing other interests or paths to success that may be more aligned with an individual’s career goals and personal circumstances.

Additional resources

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome headshot

Pete Newsome is the President and founder of zengig, which he created after spending two decades in staffing and recruiting. He’s also the founder of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed and award-winning staffing and recruiting firm he started out of a home office in 2005. Pete’s primary mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way; with a commitment to zengig becoming the most comprehensive source of expert advice, tools, and resources for career growth and happiness. When he’s not in the office or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his career knowledge and expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Finding Career Zen & Hire Calling podcasts.