Human perception is largely based on experience, but the latter is not always first-hand. Sometimes, it is the stories we hear or the lack of experience that lies in our subconscious and determines the way we perceive certain people, events, or objects. While this is not inherently a negative concept, there are numerous dangers that are associated with it. For example, there is a risk of unfair or negatively biased treatment of people that we might subconsciously see as inferior to us in one way or another (Cherry, 2020). Therefore, it is important to be aware of our own biases and keep an open mind during all interactions, and treat everyone we meet with respect.
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For this assignment, I decided to find someone who made the personal choice not to attend college, unlike myself. I was brought up in an academically inclined household, meaning that the only path that I saw for myself was through formal education. Therefore, since most of my close interactions to date have been with classmates and college peers, I have not had much chance to talk to someone who chose to work straight after high school. Although I understand that people and their motivations and goals are different, there is a preconception in my head about the seeming lack of ambition in people that do not wish to get tertiary education. Since I was raised with different ideals, it is difficult for me to understand those that have a different perspective on the necessity of university-level education. Hence, I thought it would be useful to dedicate my research time to this topic.
Since most of my friends are currently people that I have met at college, I had to go out of my way to acquaint myself with someone from a different path. Luckily, I knew that there were some friends of friends from high school that chose not to go to college, so I decided to contact them for a conversation. I wanted to enter the meeting with an open mind but be aware of existing preconceptions in my subconscious and record any responses or thoughts that surprised me.
The girl that I decided to meet with is a childhood friend of one of my current friends who, after taking a gap year, decided that she was not suited for formal education and decided to focus on her career. We had a long conversation over lunch, which she offered to pay for since she actually has a source of income. Our meeting was very pleasant, and she turned out to be very sharp and responsible. She explained to me that formal education, no matter how glorified it is, does not guarantee a job but does guarantee a large loan that the graduate would have to spend years paying off. Furthermore, she noted that there are many career opportunities that do not require a college degree and that many companies are willing to train their employees on the job.
Reflection and Takeaways
This exercise was an incredibly helpful one and provided a lot of information to be processed and thought about. After getting home, I researched some jobs that did not require a college degree and realized that there were many more options available than I originally thought. According to Indeed, opticians, flight attendants, firefighters, massage therapists, and pilots are among some high-paying positions that do not require a degree (Indeed Editorial Team, 2021). Nevertheless, the biggest takeaway from my interaction was that choosing not to go to university is not a sign of a lack of ambition since the difficult choice often requires a lot of thought and planning.
Cherry, K. (2020). How people’s prejudices develop. VeryWell Mind. Web.
Indeed Editorial Team. (2021). Jobs that don’t require a degree. Indeed. Web.
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