I Don’t Want to Make my Parent’s Mistake

Reader’s Question:

I’m a senior in high school. I am considering if I should start college next year or not. Both my parents want me to go to college. My problem is that I really don’t like school. Both of my parents went to college and it didn’t do much for them. They both still work long weeks and we are not broke, but things still get tight. If college didn’t help to improve their finances, then what’s the point of wasting all that time and money for nothing? College is very expensive. I work to make money and I don’t think I need college to do what I want in life. I’d like to be a chef and own a few restaurants one day and for that, I need experience, not education, correct? How can I help my parents to understand that I don’t want to make their mistake?

Incorrect! You need both.

I wish you were the neighbor’s kid so I could hunt you down and give you a good talking!

Please, try not to be offended… you truly have no idea what you’re talking about. That is okay though, the next stage in your life will be a lot of lessons and learning.


Lucky for you, you already know what you want to go to college for and culinary school’s exist!

If you want to be a chef and own a restaurant, you need to attend culinary school. You should also have spoken to a career or college counselor about this, as you clearly did not know culinary school’s offer 4-year degrees. Culinary school degree programs cover basic professional writing and business skills, which are needed to be successful in your extremely competitive industry.  Running a business is not all common sense, you must learn first. Or, you will fail!

You must learn from the best. You must surround yourself with those much more experienced than you. Why make a mistake someone else has already learned from? You want to do things the smart way? Learn from others and trust their experience.

You need college. How do you plan to be a chef and own your own restaurant if you don’t know squat about running a business or cooking at a high level? Are you going to work your way up from washing dishes at a fancy restaurant with the hopes that they let you peel carrots after a year? Does that sound better than going to college?

Also, if you think your parents work long weeks as professionals, wait until you work all hours of the night as a cook… all weekend long, and on holidays.

Do you think a bank is going to give a cook that makes $12/hr with no education or financial leverage a loan for that restaurant? How will you manage the front of the house if you’ve ever only known the line? Who will handle your payroll, taxes, vendor invoices, budgets, and sales forecasts? You won’t be qualified to do so with no college degree or administrative experience?

Lastly, your parents did not make a mistake by going to college. College is never a mistake. You show your age by making such comments. Most middle-class families (with a college education) still have a hard time financially. You have no clue how much harder life would be without both parents having higher education. If your parents had no degrees and worked restaurant jobs, waiting tables to get by, you would be in the first college class that let you in!

College does not guarantee success, true. Success is up to the individual. Did you know a college degree usually means you will make at least one million dollars more throughout life?… that makes it worth the $50k (or higher) price tag.

Be grateful your parents are pushing you to better yourself, not many kids have that support at home these days.

Knowledge is power… and you will need every bit of power to make a nice life for yourself.

Start looking into culinary schools that offer 4-year degrees and thank your parents for supporting your future at a higher education organization. They want what’s best for you and that’s not slinging burgers for the rest of your life.

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