“What college do you want to go to?” “You need to be ready for college.” “College readiness.” “What career do you plan on going to college for?” In high school, college talk can get pretty overwhelming since we’re hearing these phrases nearly every day, especially when some may barely know what they’re doing next weekend let alone what college they’re going to.
When she was young, WO alumni Jazmine Modders was always told that she needed to go to college when she’s older by her family, school, and friends. She wanted to go to Juilliard University at first, a dance academy in New York city, but then thought about attending Michigan State University. However, now at 22 years old she has not gone to college. Although she missed out on the college experience that was ingrained into her brain ever since she was a little girl, she is still very happy with her life.
In high school, students are constantly told that to be successful, they have to go to college. Students will hear the countless success stories from those who have overcome numerous obstacles and went to college, which is of course amazingly inspirational, but what about the success stories from people who have not gone to college, but have still overcome their own obstacles and created a life for themselves? Modders is one of these people.She created a life for herself even though she had never gone to college. ¨I do think high schools put too much pressure on going to college, and that’s not a bad thing, but for the kids who can’t afford college right away and just want to make a living without throwing all their money on textbooks and loans, they should have job fairs at school,” Modders says.
Modders grew up wanting to go to college but after being out of high school for 5 years has yet to go to do so, but is still living happily in Arizona as a lifeguard. ¨I don’t think it’s necessary to go to college to have a good job because there are good jobs where you can get certified. For instance, I’m a lifeguard and make good money, which means affordable living.¨
Now just because she didn´t go to college doesn’t mean that she didn’t work hard for what she has or that she ¨took the easy way out;¨ she had to work hard for her job and went through numerous jobs previously. ¨My first job was at a ice cream shop,¨ Modders said; a position of employment that she held at age 18, while still living at home. She worked in order to begin her journey to creating an independent life for herself. After working at an ice cream shop, she then worked at numerous places like Walmart, Primera Plastics, and Enviro Clean in Michigan. After moving, Modders started anew at the Hyatt Hotel and is now making a life for herself in lifeguarding.
Modders ran into a few issues along the way that involved her lack of college and work experience, but she didn’t let that stop her. ¨Some difficulties I faced was not getting the job I wanted because they wouldn’t give me the chance because I didn’t have experience and qualification for that job.¨ Modders says. She also admitted that going to college would help solve these issues, ¨I do think going to college makes it easier to get a job because once you’re in that field hands on and learning about it, the more experience you have, there for you’re most likely to get hired.¨
Although Modders has overcome her obstacles and is happy with her life without college, that does not mean she’s eliminated any and every thought about still going to get a degree later on in life. ¨I really do want to get some sort of degree, I was thinking massage therapy. But it’s really hard to work full time, make a living, pay bills, and try to have money for classes,¨ Modders said. So don’t feel like college must start right away post high school; it’s ok to take a break. ¨I think that high school students should take at least a year off, figure out what you want to do,¨ she said.
College is a process, and for some it´s just not for them. Not going to college doesn’t make anyone a failure it just means that it wasn’t meant for them. Some people just know that they do not want to go to college, and for others, like Modders, they just want to begin their independent life for themselves first. Ï didn´t go to college because I wanted to get a job and get my own apartment first. I wanted to be independent and, also, didn’t want to ask my parents for money.¨
College can be an amazing experience and, for some, it leads to life they´ve always dreamed of, while for others college just doesn’t fit into their life plans. But the mindset that not going to college is simply ¨taking the easy way¨ needs to be destroyed, because it takes perseverance to be successful without college, but with hard work it is possible.