Formal education is not all that it is cracked up to be. Don’t get me wrong. I am not anti-education; just the opposite. But America has built the formal educational system to make sure that the majority of children can read, write, and do mathematical computations with some degree of accuracy. The more I read articles, though, in newspapers, magazines, and on the internet that have been written by so-called well-educated professionals, the more I realize that we have failed. While I would never make the statement that a child can get by without any education, I also would not say that you must have a college degree to be successful. Yes, a college degree would make things easier in most cases. But it is not a guarantee of success; you can get by without one.
On the other hand, all of these people with college degrees create some unintended problems. One of them is a shortage of people willing to go into a profession that is classified as a blue collar job. It does not take a college degree to be a plumber, electrician, or heating and air conditioning repairman. But it does take some specialized training to work in one of these fields. People with the skills to do these jobs contribute just as much to our society as those with an M.D. or Ph.D.
Our cars are becoming more and more sophisticated with each new year model. While I cannot speak for you, I certainly would not want my doctor trying to repair my new car. While it is also true that an electrician or a plumber will probably never make as much as a doctor or lawyer, it is also true that you can earn a very nice living in one of these fields. So before you think of someone who earns a living without a college degree as being inferior, you might ask yourself, “Could I do this person’s job?”
I have taken the time to name just a few people that may not have graduated from high school. I think that these individuals would be classified as a success in almost anyone’s book. True, they are exceptions to the rule. But what they prove is that not everyone needs a college degree to be successful. Would you classify someone who became the President of the United States as a success? Most people would. But we have several ex-presidents who had nothing more than a high school diploma. The man who is in charge of one of the world’s biggest companies does not have a college degree. Of course I am talking about Bill Gates. While the list below is fairly short, I could easily fill up this page with the names of world leaders who did not graduate high school or college.
- Peter Jennings: Mr. Jennings dropped out of school in the 10th grade from what he states as “pure boredom.” When he passed away from lung cancer at the age of 67, he was the chief anchor for the ABC Evening News.
- George Eastman: Founder of the Kodak Camera Company in 1880; he quit school at the age of 14.
- Audie Murphy: He quit school in the fifth grade to work so that he could help support his brothers and sisters. He went on to become the most highly decorated combat soldier of the entire second World War. He also became a successful western movie star.
- George Bernard Shaw: He became one of the most famous playwrights in history. Mr. Shaw held an outright animosity toward formal schooling. One of his main complaints was the standardization of the curriculum.
I could go on naming extremely famous and successful people for several more pages, but I think that I have made my point. While I will most likely NEVER be in the same class as these people, I have also done rather well even though I dropped out of high school in the eleventh grade. I am a published author, freelance writer, newspaper columnist, and occasional guest speaker. This is in addition to having run my own business for 25 years. I am now the CEO of the company where I work.
When I was working as a handyman, I got treated as if I am “just a handyman.” I was constantly talked down to and treated as if I am an idiot. I wonder just how many of these people could come anywhere close to the record that I have achieved. I guess my point is, “Don’t ever underestimate someone that you have just been introduced to because you never know who they are or what they are capable of.” And, while I may not be the greatest thing since sliced bread, you are sitting there reading something that I wrote!
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