Originally Posted by ViceVirtue
copla, I appreciate your point of view and consider it sound, but I'm not sure it's that black and white.
It's obviously ideal to have your life "figured out" prior to entering college so you can decide whether it is necessary. You want to be a lawyer - yes, a writer - perhaps not. Many people simply can't be that clear about their purpose at that stage in their life, but even if you convinced me they could (and should) be w/ some introspection, what about the reality that their purpose may change in the future?
Say someone wants to be a writer and turns down college because it's not worth it, and by all accounts they become successful. But in the process this person learns about the legal process involved with copyrights and publishing and gets inspired by some people they've worked with and decides they would serve a better purpose as a laywer in the publishing business. Ouch. But they have no education, so they must endure 4 years of college before they can even take their first class in law school.
Surely, it goes the other way too - this may not be the best example. The point is, if you either don't have a purpose or expect the chances of it changing are likely, the concept of "If you don't know what road in life you want to take, then it doesn't really matter what road you take, as long as you don't stand there pondering your life away because you can't decide which road to take." is a reasonable one.
What's that Lennon quote? "Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans"
I agree it would be better to have decided upon your plans and begun to implement them, but if you haven't it's not a bad idea to go ahead and just experience life (going to college, in my example) as long as it's in a direction you think would be of benefit in the future. You could waste as much of your life "making plans" (finding your purpose) as much as you could "experiencing life" (just doing something). There's a balance.
Sure, it's all about risk-reward here. The risk is four years of your life that you will NEVER get back. Let's be clear about that. NEVER get back, you will never see those years again, you will never be able to put them to another use. Those years, gone, That is the risk, and that is a HUGE risk. To trade four years of your life, you need a clear and massive reward. But the off-chance that you may at some point in the future maybe just maybe want to pursue a career path that would at THAT point in time necessitate college... that's a vague at best goal
If at this point you don't need college, but at that point you do, why wouldn't you attend college at the point that you actually need it for what you want to do? The reward in that case is high enough to make the risk more stomachable.
I couldn't agree more about needing to experience life instead of making plans, but from my perspective, it's the complete opposite- going out into the real world, working every day to fulfill your goals, meeting all the amazing people that come into your life as a result of that, and the freedom that comes with living into your future, the wonderful knowledge that everything you want from life is at your fingertips, THAT is experiencing life. Writing papers and getting shitfaced? Not so much.