In January 1996, the founders of Google revolutionized the way Internet search engines operate. Google’s success lies in its ingenuity and usefulness to the common Internet user, and has since inspired young entrepreneurs to follow in the footsteps of possibly the greatest tech start-up of all time. However, in recent years, a growing stigma surrounding the tech industry has created a wake of hugely successful start-ups, which has led to a number of ambitious young tech geniuses to opt out of a college degree in order to pursue their technology venture.
To no degree do the historic stories of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropping out halfway through college demonstrate the importance and value of a college education. And, having not at all curbed the present stigma between college and the tech industry, the wild success of Google and Facebook has only furthered the desire for young techies to pursue their ambitious goals. In combination with the epic histories of Google and Facebook, the average college loans skyrocketing up to $30,000 has made the possibility of skipping college seem more appealing to some. Recently, the current Google Chairman, Eric Schmidt, publicly announced his opinion on the critics of the necessity of a higher education, saying: “They’re just wrong.”
From an economic standpoint, there are two interpretations on the utility of a college education one can take. Some see college as an inevitable abyss from which climbs the burden of student loan and financial debauchery. On the other hand, others value the life-long benefits of a college education as more than just the economic fallbacks that are met immediately upon graduation. In my opinion, tech gurus who see college as a hindrance to their future endeavors will eventually feel regret for what they opted out of. Even if the slim possibility of starting a successful technology business before graduating college occurs, the maturation and growing of the mind that the college experience offers will always prove to be a reliable asset for life, and the risks one takes when choosing to skip college are grave.
Eric Schmidt thinks that the talent of “grit” is an extremely important lesson acquired during college. Especially here at BC, students are taught to strenuously pluck and mettle their minds, constantly building their strength of character through hard work and diligence. The greatest asset of a college education may not be the actual knowledge a student memorizes or understands, but, in fact, may be the learning of how to work hard. College provides a safety net for students to take risks and learn from their mistakes, while the tech business world offers no immediate benefit from taking large risks except only greater opportunity for failure. What’s more important is that we learn how to work together as a team in college; living in a community of hard workers builds our confidence and ambitions as valuable assets for our eventual career success.
When I was in seventh grade, one of my closest friends was suspended from school for hacking into the administrator’s computers. Fast-forward seven years, he is halfway through college and tells me that he will not be continuing because he doesn’t feel like he is being productive enough. He is a perfect example of the product of the tech industry stigma; yet, I admit he does have the technological skill to be incredibly successful even without a college education; he is a one-in-a-million type kid. I do not disdainfully interpret his decision, for I am confident that his skills will prove him successful degree or no degree; however, I am slightly saddened that he does not value the wonderful opportunities that college provides young kids with that you cannot find anywhere else. What I hope to convey is that the college years furnish our adolescence completely to ease our transitions into the working world, and to skip these provisions puts your future decisions at greater risk.