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Was College Really Worth it?

By • Dec 19th, 2009 • Category: Books, ENTERTAINMENT

I’ll be the first to admit that I was happy with my choice to leave college early.  Not only did I have the intention of pursuing my entrepreneurial spirit, but my state university in Florida was full of people that were more concerned with alcohol and thong bathing suits than biology and calculus.  Basically, college to me was a #totalwaste.  So here I am, professional blogger, media company owner, restaurateur, and a college drop out.

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is Bryce Gruber is a Manhattanite mom who can be found jet-setting off to every corner of the globe. She loves exotic places, planes with WiFi, summer clothes, & Sucre brown butter truffles. Bryce's aim is to do to luxury what Elton John did to being gay. Follow her on twitter @brycegruber
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32 Responses »

  1. What’s even more ironic about this is that college grads with 5 and 6 figure student loan and other college related debt can’t even get jobs. 4-6 years of their lives and all that debt for what? I’m so glad I dropped out. Don’t need school if your business savvy.

  2. I think a lot of it has to do with what is expected of you also. A lot of people feel like the title of college graduate is a status thing or a sign of success. Personally, I’m glad I’m finishing college. For one thing my writing and communication skills have improved as a result of things I learned in college. I’m also much more mature and prepared mentally than I would be had I entered the working world right out of high school. It feels like it was a natural progression into being a full blown adult.

  3. At the end of the day, college isn’t for everyone and it should be a personal decision

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bryce Gruber, Bryce Gruber. Bryce Gruber said: #omgfacts it takes the average person 6 YEARS to finish their degree http://bit.ly/8xeOC3 [...]

  5. Have to agree with Maura. My degree did help add some ‘cred’ for me and helped me succeed in terms of what the “Real World” is about in the dance/art world by not holding my hand and figuring stuff out on my own with a little bit of mentoring. College also allowed me to grow as a person and learn things about myself that I wanted to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  6. Dear Maura,

    You’re a fantastic human, and that’s all I have to say about that.
    Meanwhile, I think your internships may have helped you in your communication studies as well, as we often practiced communicating about raunchy things and alkie.

    Love you loads,

    Bryce

  7. Dear Bryce,

    I really wish I had to write some sort of paper on what I learned in my internship. I think an excerpt would look something like this:

    The knowledge I gained during my internship is immeasurable and include such things as the cultural world of NYC (Rie’s Zagat Ratings–fucking delicious was my favorite), animal science (hyenas enjoy a good bj..and often swallow), culinary arts (frozens before noon and sushi lunches), who the truly important movers and shakers are(imdb-ing Brian Austin Green), and socially acceptable and professional behavior and presentation (don’t be a guidette or you will get abused on TheLuxSpot)

    Thank you for your guidance and life advice.

    Love you more,

    Maura

  8. Dearest Maura,

    I think you’re forgetting your lessons in appropriate places to put your feet (the desk), things to drink whilst yogaing, how to wear neon colors, sexual harassment from minors (les enfants), adding a good suffix to every name and word, and jew-fro.

    Sincerely,

    Bryceypoo

  9. you own a restaurant?

    also, college has pretty much only caused me to go crazy and i still don’t have a job…

  10. sarah,

    yeah, i’m a partner in one in dallas:)
    also, i prefer you crazy. the jobless part sucks though.

    hope youre not snowed in!

  11. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by brycegruber: #omgfacts it takes the average person 6 YEARS to finish their degree http://bit.ly/8xeOC3

  12. The college grad has to prove he can’t do the job while the college dropout has to prove he can… if anyone will even give him a chance.

    This is one of the few “what if” scenarios that plays out in my brain. What if I had finished college? I was going through some really tough times. Being Asian raised the bar. People expect me to have a degree just based on my physical appearance. But that’s a rant for another time.

    Whenever I was looking for a new job, it would come back to haunt me – the only qualification I’d be lacking is the bachelor’s degree for many jobs. I don’t mean to sound self-righteous, but I know I’m smarter and more capable than most of the people applying for the jobs I can perform at a high level.

    A few months ago, i started a new job where a college degree doesn’t mean anything. I have become one of the top performers on the sales floor and having more fun than I ever imagined I could at a job.

  13. These statistics are mostly sad, but true. The college degree doesn’t guarantee success but it is even more difficult for someone with just a HS diploma. Of course there are exceptions to every rule including the following. The college degree is not considered a special accomplishment but as basic as the HS diploma since most people have them. I agree with Bryce that a lot of debt is incurred especially if the degree doesn’t produce a career. However, the Canadian Studies course is most helpful for those interested in commerce with our neighbors to the North. Plattsburg is really close to Montreal, but most students wouldn’t really venture into/study the area as a means for later economic prospects.

  14. It’s not a matter of whether college is worth it or not, it’s a matter of the individual attending college and what he or she makes of the experience.Some people go to college because they feel socially obligated to and their parents practically force them to.They diddle through college learning next to nothing while wasting brain cells drinking and getting high. Others take full advantage of what their respective college has to offer and actually learn a few things and use the resources given them through professor contacts and university partners in order to achieve their goals, whether that goal is to land a job with a PR firm or start their own business. It is all about personal accountability and self-motivation, a concept that is lost upon American society, especially with the recent bailouts of criminal scum. Personally, I finished my Bachelor’s and then my Masters a little while ago and it has helped me considerably. Not through the amount of knowledge I learned in class but through the sheer number of valuable contacts and top level professionals that were my instructors.I aggressively maintained contact with my instructors and all of the visiting guest speakers, with the majority of whom having been quite helpful and generous with their time when I launched my magazine in the most populous nation on earth.There were some people in my Masters program that just went through the motions and just wanted to say they had a Masters degree and possibly have a leg up on the competition in the job market, a waste of money and time if you ask me.Bottom line, there is no right or wrong, good or bad when it comes to university attendance, it’s all a matter of what you make of it… Or don’t.

  15. The comparison of the starting salary is misleading. How much wage growth is the Yale grad getting versus the public school counterpart? It is misleading to assume this gap won’t compensate for the tuition differential. I.e., students going into finance, engineering, etc. will have much faster wage growth than other industries.

  16. Helen,
    Did you know that there is a difference between “your” and “you’re”….

  17. Winemaking is also called viticulture & enology, a degree at U.C. Davis. Its the biggest ag school near Napa, so that degree makes sense there.

  18. What an intentionally misleading graphic designed to make drop-outs feel better about their choices. So you highlight the costliest university, but not one considered a fantastic bargain? You throw out a statistic about students taking more than four years to finish a degree, but don’t bother to list the reasons why? (It’s not because they’re all either too stupid or drunk, or both.) If you want to play that game, there are plenty of statistics and studies that show college graduates (still) earn more money over their lifetimes than high school graduates.

    Yes, college is expensive, and no, not every degree will catapult you into a higher earnings bracket. However, for those of us who have chosen that route, it has provided benefits — both individually as well as to the greater social good — in immeasurable ways that can’t be articulated in words — or a ridiculous graphic.

    I have worked for corporate Internet companies for the past 17 years, during both big boom and big bust times. Many of my colleagues did not have college degrees but were very capable critical thinkers and doers. More than a few have expressed regrets to me that they wished they had finished school, because when there is high unemployment, having a degree still opens doors. Not everyone wants to start their own business or is fortunate to find an employer who doesn’t care about higher education.

  19. Simon,

    Have you ever heard of a typographical error? This can occur when one is typing fast on a cell phone keyboard. BTW if I don’t sound like an English major with my phrasing and punctuation, that because I wasn’t one and my career doesn’t require me to be one.

    I’m tired of hearing “College is the only way to guarantee success.”‘ It’s not. I know plenty of unemployed college graduates who are racking up interest on deferred student loans they cannot afford to pay. I also know a number of individuals who have bachelor’s and master’s degrees with jobs that did not require either and now they are struggling to pay their student loans and make end’s meat.

    If someone feels the money and time spent working towards a degree was/is worth it, then great for them! What I am saying is that not every career path requires and/or pays a bigger salary for having a degree over experience. Plenty of successful business owners/entrepreneurs are doing fine without one.

  20. I agree with EnglishGrad. That graphic attempts to compensate for its complete lack of objectivity with bright colors and attractive clip art. You can’t fault someone who discovers that college is not his path, but the blogger’s mistake is that she over-hypes her “data” and presents it as indicative of the “American collegiate experience”. Also, though Bryce dismisses alcohol and thong bathing suits, she attempts to put $217,640 in perspective by reminding us that hey! We could buy a new Ferrari with this! What a contradiction. Luckily, it is doubtful than any aspiring college student would consult this blog for advice; if he does, hopefully he will identify enough of her grammatical mistakes to know that this is hardly an expert opinion.

  21. Dear Celeste,

    If you check the fine print at the bottom of the infographic, you’ll see all the cited sources, most of which are government. And, hate to bother you with the truth, but this blog is in the top 20 in the world. So, plenty of people stop here daily to get to-the-minute advice on how to blow their hair out to look like a Jersey Shore cast member, how to deal with Restless Genital Syndrome, and other varied (but important) life advice.

    After a quick facebook search on you, I think you can use the blowout advice. Luckily Pauly D. taped a brief video for you to study. Kind of like you did in college

    Warmest regards,

    Bryce

  22. It’s funny because only a college dropout would choose a Ferrari over an education.
    Good luck with life sheeple.

  23. There’s no ‘n’ in restaurateur, you empty-headed ku-n-t.

  24. This graphic is really quite misleading. Your initial conceit is that attending a college is not worth the time or money, and young people would be better off doing without. You then go on to compare median starting salaries for Yale and UC graduates – noting that the Yale graduate is getting far less value for their tuition. What you don’t do is compare the median income for any college graduate to the median income of an individual without a college degree: For men with no degree – $43,830 in 2006 versus with a degree $60,910; for women the breakdown is $31,950 and $45,410 respectively (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0883617.html). That’s over a $15,000 difference between the income of those who do and don’t have degrees. Why is that not illustrated in your graphic?

  25. [...] it Time to Re-Think Education? A Visual Guide to America’s College System Link: theluxuryspot.com Share this [...]

  26. Helen @ 6.03

    I don’t entirely disagree with you, but saying “I’m so glad I dropped out. Don’t need school if your business savvy” doesn’t exactly sell your point. Maybe if you stuck around for a few more classes, you’d have spelled “you’re” correctly.

  27. These are difficult numbers to interpret, especially because 83% of all statistics are simply made up.

  28. @ Bryce #20

    To which top 20 blog list are you referring to? Your blog is not listed in the top 100 on Technorati’s (http://technorati.com/blogs/top100/), which is updated once per day, nor in the top 50 of the Guardian’s blog list (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/mar/09/blogs). Of note is that both of these lists are a mix of blogs and not just news. Even searching Technorati’s blog database of 1179091 blogs, which I suspect harbor the most trafficked blogs, I cannot locate your blog.

    In your statistics you lack numbers of those individuals that did not attend college. What are their starting salaries upon entering the workforce? Then, I would suggest the inclusion of a distribution salaries for college graduates compared to non-college graduates over time. (Furthermore, break this down into STEM, business, and liberal arts majors and perform the aforementioned comparison again; perform again with bachelor’s, masters, and Ph.D). In conjunction with this, include a salary distribution of the total population of a given country that your analyzing. This is a lot of work, but I am sure you will find that these data will skew conclusions into another direction upon comparing the averages. Moreover, you require all of these data to support your conclusion that “college is not worth it”; without these data your conclusions are groundless because you have no control group to compare against and all that is on your graphic is a jumble of numbers.

  29. Catenin,

    We currently don’t imbed technorati code in our site, as it conflicts with silent/invisible advertisers (please look up invisible link ads for more information on how this works and why it conflicts with technorati). Please feel free to check out our press page where you’ll see some of our alliances and information, as well as our ranking on sites such as Alexa and Compete. We were named the #18 blog in the world (as of just a few days ago) within Facebook, and to give you an idea, that same ranking system identifies Huffington Post as #5.

    Regarding another graph, if you look at the fine print, I did not make this graph. And there is statistical data available at all the sites mentioned in the bottom right corner.

    Best,

    Bryce

  30. [...] our last post in whether it’s worth it or not to attend college, our site has seen a lot of heated debate.  Some readers agreed with the infographic, and others [...]

  31. As a college professor, I am certainly willing to agree that many students come to college unprepared, that certain people have the determination to succeed in life without a college degree, and that many courses lack a certain academic rigor.
    I would, however, like to see a version of your graphic that shows what typically happens to the people who didn’t attend college.

    How are the other eight hispanics faring compared to the one who got the degree? What are the other five African Americans up to? How does the median salary of a woman without a bachelor’s degree compare to a man with one?

    I’d also like to see how you address non-quantifiable phenomena, like the pleasure derived from studying great works of art alongside experts in their fields–and the freedom to choose between wasting time or pursuing truth and beauty. (I’ll concede that many squander this freedom.)

    American higher education is in a crisis and is in need of reform, just like the health care industry. To suggest that anyone should abandon education just because some people succeed without it is like suggesting that anyone should stop seeing a doctor because some people survive diseases without treatment.

    I’m not saying that you are recommending people to drop out–but your juxtaposition of your personal narrative with some generalized statistics might lead a person to that conclusion.

  32. Gee, this is the tripe that Reagan spewed when he counseled folks to go to tech school instead of a four-year college. That turned out so well that you’ve decided to re-thread and distribute it, eh?. I suspect you are making many people on the far-right very happy with this posting.

    The current right-wing movement that holds our Constitution in disdain is an anti-intellectual movement that discourages individual analysis and encourages dogmatic allegiance to narrow-minded pundits, celebrity politicians and radical religious figureheads. Most of the folks adhering to its tenets are those who did not go to college or did not apply themselves to self-education.

    Congratulations for the being an exception. You obviously educated yourself in areas where your passions lie and that has probably accounted for your personal and business success. You obviously knew that being well-educated is not defined by being in college or graduating from college, it is dependent upon what you do while there or what you do on your own. Few of us are capable of your achievements because we want or need guidance and more input that we can seek out ourselves..
    If you learn from people who have already amassed expertise, you jump to their levels quicker than reinventing the educational wheel. That’s the gift of professors and educators at any level: they lift you up further and faster than you can lift yourself as long as you are open to their offerings of discipline and insight.

    Your statistics point out the high attrition rate in the first year of college. You do not seem to recognize that attrition rates remain high each and every year and continue through graduate and professional schools. That is to be expected. Few can, want or need to travel that route. Every one has his or her own needs, desires, and abilities. There are many variables that factor into why so few graduates attain your standard of “success” – some speak to maturation levels, some to economic or academic ability limitations, some speak to personal goals (such as starting a family) and some to societal requirements (e.g., the draft during the Vietnam War era). You can generalize but it is dangerous to encourage everyone to buy into your call to quit college because of a simplistic financial cost vs. benefits analysis.

    One of the things you learn as you progress through a college curriculum is that statistics can be misleading. They can be manipulated to prove almost any argument. While the story you tell with yours is highly interesting, it may not be a completely honest or accurate indictment of our higher education system.

    Yes, college can be expensive. Yes, people can and do succeed without a college degree, but it’s really more about what you do while you’re there that matters. Your arguments against college have been made by every generation using different statistics, but the arguments are false ones because you cannot and should not measure success by solely by financial yardsticks. I have been very pleased to see many other posters protesting that threshold for success.

    College teaches you how to find information, how to analyze it, how to synthesize and use it. It encourages and demands discipline on both personal and intellectual levels. It mixes you with people with different backgrounds and perspectives that few jobs can. It allows you to test your personal beliefs against those of others both past and present. It gives you time to mature emotionally and intellectual while you test yourself against concepts, disciplines and perspectives your own background could not possibly have provided. Mind you, you can also piss off that growth opportunity. You know that firsthand because it’ was those students who pissed-off their opportunity that you say drove you away from college.

    That may be a pity, really, because if you’ve achieved the dramatic personal growth you say you have, we can only imagine what higher levels you might have achieved had you persisted and applied yourself in an academic setting. You obviously have talent. Testing and nurturing it further might have lead to even more “real-world” success.

    You, however, must realize, that you are the exception, not the rule. Your experience is not typical. Even if you limit success to monetary standards, you would, if you pushed a little harder into research would find that college graduates’ lifetime earnings usually surpass high school graduates even more than high school grads lifetime earnings surpass those who drop out of high school. See what I mean about statistics. They only tell part of a story.

    One of the most crucial points made in the law school I attended was this: trial attorneys look at the facts and then”frame” them to suit their argument. In other words, the plaintiff’s attorney will highlight certain facts and paint them to fit one frame or style of the truth and ask the judge or jury to apply the law to that picture or version of what happened.. The defendant’s attorney will highlight other facts and do the same to suit the end that is desired. It’s not phony. It’s just perspective and the art of interpretation. The judge and jury then try to determine which version and what law match up through further reflection and interpretation.

    That’s what you have done. You’ve taken some interesting statistics and framed them in a way to support your belief that college is a waste of time. Someone else could look at those same statistics and come up with an argument that they prove that it was the students wasting their time in college that undermined their financial success.

    Additionally, parents have traditionally pushed their children towards college because they hoped their children would be able to live better lives, work in less dangerous jobs in safer conditions with more benefits for fewer hours. I come from an urban blue collar background, and my husband comes from a rural, small town agricultural background. Both sets of parents pushed us to go to college, and to take it seriously. We knew firsthand the true cost of ignoring a good education.

    I would challenge you to rethink your approach I would also ask that you put your sources (which I assume that blur of fine print at the bottom left of your posting is supposed to represent) in larger font so people can test your assertion.

    Again, I am not attacking your achievements. I congratulate you for those. I do not, however, think your success is typical or that you should be encouraging others to believe that higher education is a waste of money or time. That is narrow-minded on a personal basis, and is based upon a narrow field of data and an even narrower analysis.

    I think you are doing a service on one level by exposing students to some data that might make them rethink how they utilize their time should they decide to attempt college. However, Bryce, you are seeing and telling only part of the story – perhaps because you yourself chose not to find out what college could truly be. I suspect someone of your intellect and drive needed to be challenged by a more rigorous school and curriculum. That you were wise enough to step away from a college path that did not suit you is impressive. I can only wonder what would have been had you gone to a truly solid school and dug deeper into your obvious talent. You really are the exception, not the rule, and I hope younger students realize that before following in your footsteps because I doubt that most of them will match your achievements. Good luck in the future and thanks for generating a terrific discussion on the comments section.

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