For many people, there is a great allure to having the confidence and self-reliance that comes with being competent in a marketable skill. However, it’s also true that the trades aren’t for everyone – and for the rest, high school and university degrees remain viable options.
There is a tremendous value in bringing your passion to a plan, seeing that plan to fruition, and working your tail off in a trade, where you can be paid well, and have pride every time you successfully repair, build, or demolish something that needed to be repaired, built, or demolished. But not everyone can set goals for themselves and then have the self-direction and discipline to see those goals through – and that’s OK! We shouldn’t stigmatize those who learn and work differently than we do. There will always be five-thousand hours of high school, four years of college, and two-to-six years of graduate school for those who prefer to be told what their goals are and how to achieve them.
Even the federal government recognizes this. There are wonderful loan programs with reasonable interest rates for students who just aren’t built to come-into-work-early-and-stay-late. And for those who grew up in homes that don’t value delayed-gratification, university may be their best option. Some of us can work our way through eighteen months of trade school, but for those who just can’t manage, a mortgaged-sized government-backed loan to “go find yourself” might be the best option.