“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both”- Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken)
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost is a perfect analogy for the tumultuous time of college decisions for a senior; it’s a time in which the graduating class must leave the peers that they have been accustomed to for new ones.
But it’s similarly important to recognize the “roads” graduates are choosing to take. Some have found their interests outside of going the traditional post-secondary school route, whether that be a trade school or joining the armed forces, many have decided to not opt for the path that has been indoctrinated into us since middle school: attending a four-year university.
But overall, the undergraduate college enrollment rates are on the decline. There are approximately 16.6 million undergraduate students nationwide, which is 6.6% less than the last census.
However, CCHS has an overwhelming rate of students planning on attending a four-year university.
“I have always dreamed of being a Gator and pursuing a career in medicine,” senior and incoming freshman at the University of Florida Danielle Robins said. “Going to college allows for me to begin my medical journey as I am majoring in Neuroscience on the pre-med track. I also couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go to my dream school!”
The “road” to college, however, is very winding. There are many factors that determine one’s success, some of which are just beyond their control. Whether this may be finances or other personal reasons that may render it impossible for them to be away from home for extended periods of time.
“I’d like to go to a 4-year university because it would give me those essential connections for the future,” junior Jake Adams said. “It also increases my chances for a more successful career path.”
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”
For many students, this mantra applies to college as well. In which the “one less traveled by,” otherwise known as alternate paths than the popular four-year university, is the path that will make “all the difference” to them and their future endeavors.
There are also other undeniable factors that lead to people being interested in “less traveled” paths, for instance, it may work better with one’s preferred learning style.
“I am very interested in trade school because it’s a whole different experience than college, you’ll get to meet more kids that have the same mindset as you and it isn’t all about textbooks and online work,” junior Jake Monroe said. “To me, trade school is mostly hands-on work rather than just trying to pass the class like in a college.”
There is, undeniably, a certain attitude about college. Many students feel pressure to go to a four-year university; they may feel that a degree is a symbol of success, or there may be residual pressure from their parents or other outside influences.
The students’ sphere of influence is what defines them. It is commonly said that “birds of a feather flock together.”
But with few examples to model after, it makes the idea of wanting to branch out from the norm even more difficult. For teenagers and young adults, breaking the norm of conformity is rare; so without guidance, many may fall into the proverbial cycle of unhappiness in college.
It’s cyclic to see people enter a university for the wrong reasons and then fail to follow through on their original “road.” But if this mentality of clinging to a four-year university was broken, then thousands of dollars, and their psyche may be saved.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence…”