Against the education gradient: the future of society’s laborers choose their own schooling


A hand grabs a wrench as a choice for their career. The diploma and graduation cap symbolize the four year degree at university while a wrench depicts those who learn in the work force or in a trade school.

Although there is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, the one thing that 2020 seniors can count on is their next chapter as a freshman once again.

This being said, there are a few students that decided to stray off the path of the basic-bachelor four years.

“I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to go to college sometime in November of 2019,” senior Carlos Nunez said. “The main (reason) being that I realized college wasn’t my only option.” 

Students may say they know college isn’t the only way to be successful, but they don’t actually believe it as they continue to follow their peers to a normal higher education. In today’s society, this alternative schooling seems to be growing in acceptance.

Nunez is looking at being an electrician, but says that is up for change. He’s not entirely sure on his future, but knows what’s good for him and hopes to have a life that’s not strongly impacted by society. 

“Although I do believe that (college) can be necessary for some people, I don’t believe that that group is very large,” Nunez said. 

Junior Johnathon Nix also predicts this path for himself, most likely as an electrician. Going to a trade school or GTCC will allow him to stay out of debt while also being able to dive head first into a stable career.

“It’s hard work, but it pays well and it’s a much needed job in the work industry,” Nix said. “I can also become my own boss and I will have a well paying job after only two years of higher education at a trade school.”

Four very expensive years is not the only right of passage into the real world. Associates degrees, certificates from trade schools and apprenticeships offer an outlet of a promising life without all the debt weighing down one’s options after their higher education. 

“I don’t think college is necessary to be successful,” Nunez said. “There are a multitude of factors that are involved in success, and although college can be involved in achieving one or some of these factors, I don’t believe that it can be necessary for everyone.”

Nunez and Nix acknowledge college as a reliable option, but know individually what they want to achieve after high school graduation. 

“I don’t think people will judge me for not going to college,” Nunez. “I’ve talked to both young and older people and basically all have said that it’s smart of me to go to trade school.”

I don’t think college is necessary to be successful,”

— Carlos Nunez

On yet another path is sophomore Cadon Piñon, who is on his way to beauty school to start his adult career. At 15 years old, Piñon already has clients waiting in his own home salon for hair styles including box braids, faux locs, cornrows, etc. 

“As of right now I go to clients’ homes or they come to mine to get their hair done. It’s a peace that comes over me while my clients sit in my chair and get their hair done,” Piñon said.

Piñon has been dreaming of his own salon and his own natural hair care line specifically for Afro-textured or kinky, curly, coily hair. He looks up to Madam C.J. Walker, who was the first female self-made millionaire due to her invention of the world’s first hair-straightening formula. The African American entrepreneur created a social movement for colored women starting with their confidence in their natural hair. 

“My whole life I’ve dreamed big and I won’t stop until my dreaming becomes true,” Piñon said. 

To achieve his dreams, Piñon is planning on going to Empire beauty school to get his cosmetology license and work full time, and then continue his education for a possible two years. The baseline time for a license is eight months, but it depends on how far one wants to go with their schooling and diversity in the field.

“You can never have just one style, and plus, I have always had an interest in the beauty world–it always feels good to make someone else feel good about themselves.” Piñon said. 

These three students represent a mere fraction of the number of American students who will create their own life and career from their bare hands in various schooling options. 

“For people debating whether college is the right path or not, I don’t really have an answer for them,” Nix said. “I honestly believe in following what you think is right and to follow a career you think you will be happy with.”