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As youth growing up in the 21st century we are constantly bombarded with information that declares the importance of college. There are countless articles stating that we will make X amount of dollars more if we attend college or much less if we don’t.

But, I believe a deeper examination must be made for your individual needs. While I agree that attending college has its advantages, I do not believe that it is the only path to finding career success.

As I’ve gone through the college process I’ve learned that this old adage is true: “It’s not necessary what you know, but who you know.”

One of the great yet often overlooked advantages of going to college is the opportunity for networking.

As a student you can rub shoulders with individuals who can open doors for you after college. But, often times students don’t know this or take advantage of it. And while I can’t ignore that I found myself in this internship with SkillSmart because of an introduction made by one of my college professors, I know we’re likely in similar situations as college students: fifty thousand dollars in debt, impending graduation, and no firm job offer.

I must admit, however, that I didn’t know all the opportunities available to me without a college degree.

I didn’t know that I could study a craft and work my way up to the point where I could make a middle class salary within five years and much more beyond that. Compared to my present situation it almost seems like a no brainier.

So, to those of you who don’t have the resources or ambition to go to college, don’t buy into the rhetoric that it’s your only path for success.

Don’t feel lesser about yourself if you don’t strive for the badge of a 4 year degree. Because by pursuing in-demand skills outside of traditional academia, you have an opportunity to make more money in a shorter time than by earning a college graduate.

And companies like SkillSmart are designed to help you succeed, they create opportunities for the career path that’s right for you – and your skills.

Here’s to us all finding our right path to success!

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