University still worth it

With COVID-19 dramatically affecting all of our lives, graduating high school students are being forced to make the difficult decision of attending university this year. Normally, the decision would be easily made; however, this year many outlying factors must be considered when making this decision. I believe that people should absolutely attend university despite COVID-19, simply because university offers much more than just a degree. Those who choose to attend university are placed in an environment that enhances personal growth and friendships, improves time management skills and accountability, as well as increases in employment opportunities. Attending post-secondary education is absolutely crucial for shaping an individual's career path and life - and for those reasons, it’s absolutely worth it.

Although the majority of classes university students are taking this year are online, university residencies are open and students are still permitted to be on campus. Many Canadian universities are utilizing a hybrid system of classes where students have certain classes online, while other classes are in-person. By deciding to attend university this year, students are going to be able to leave their niche of normalcy at home and express themselves freely in a completely new and exciting setting. Students attending university will be able to make an abundance of new friends and create unforgettable memories that people who decide to postpone university will be unable to do. The smaller class sizes that come along with attending university this year will further create an environment that will fuel friendships and allow students to have a more personalized learning experience, leading to better grades. In addition to this, the friendships that are made in university eventually develop into lifelong connections and relationships that open doors in the future and form a strong base for any job sector in the world. The interrelation between social connections and the business world is much larger than one would expect and is what helps people bring their success to the next level.

It is undeniable that being a university student is a very stressful task. A post-secondary student’s lifestyle typically consists of balancing a full course load, while cooking, cleaning, staying active, and in some cases, working a full or part-time job. To put all of this into perspective, classes and studying normally take up over eight hours a day, which is a handful, to say the least. With the addition of online classes, students are now taking part in many asynchronous classes, meaning that they can participate in classes and do their work whenever they please. For students who live stressful lives, this is a great asset that also grows the importance of responsibility. The necessary time management skills and accountability brought by the university setting will facilitate success later on in life and in the workforce. Employers put a massive amount of value on the accountability, determination, as well as the time-management skills gained while studying at a post-secondary institution. The energy and commitment symbolized by a four-year diploma (or longer) allows university students to be much more competitive to prospective employers than their high-school counterparts.

The employment opportunities that arise with the completion of a bachelor's degree make university completely worthwhile. By attending university throughout COVID-19 students will be at least a year ahead of those who decided to postpone university and will be able to pursue their dream career much faster. Statistically speaking, in Canada, those with a bachelor’s degree are employed at a rate of thirteen percent more than those with a high-school diploma and earn, on average, $27,000 more annually. An increased salary guaranteed by having a university education allows individuals to afford a higher standard of living and stay financially flexible throughout their lives. Life experiences, such as vacations become much more realistic, making life much more exciting and amusing. In addition to this, a higher employment rate also increases job security. Rather than working a minimum wage job after completing high school, those who pursue an education in a specific area of study will find a career path that pertains to their interests and expertise. Essentially, people who pursue their passions and interests while attending university will be much happier in life, which increases success, and allows for a better lifestyle.

There is absolutely no denying the countless benefits that arise from having a university education. Even with COVID-19 causing certain changes within the university setting, it is still worth it due to the increase in personal growth and friendships, time management skills and accountability, and the undeniable employment opportunities. For some, the price of university comes at a financial burden and can be unaffordable, however, I believe that if you have the opportunity to attend university it would be foolish to pass it up. The price may be high, but the payout is undoubtedly worth it because, in the end, university is much more than just a degree.

Sebastien Gracia, English 100 student, Kelowna

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