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The Real Meaning of Success in Life and The Choice Between Going to College after High School and Taking a Gap Year to Travel

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This essay I chose to continue off the topic we had written about last week. I chose to write about how college is not for everyone, and how it can be very expensive. What I noticed when I was graduating high school a year ago was that my friends were mostly going to college. If they weren’t going to college, then they were traveling. So, knowing this, I decided to base this multi-genre essay off of those two perspectives. Why someone would choose college over not going to college right away, and then taking the time off to travel and explore. The friends that I have that decided to embark on a yearlong traveling exploration had a blast, most of them came home early and found themselves working, but attending a college or university in the fall. They decided to travel because they could, not because they didn’t get into the college or university they had wanted, but because they had the time. They are a mere 18 years old, and have nothing but time to spend. This essay takes both sides of the reasoning behind college and traveling. At the end I have one last genre that describes what it is like to be successful in life. When are you actually successful? Does going to college and getting a job after graduating make you successful?

College is not for everyone

Steakholder Writer: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Audience: Parents whom want to send their children to college

I chose to write about this because the topic of sending your children off to college is a totally relevant issue in society today. With the price of attending a college or university rising, many parents often find themselves stuck between sending their children off to a four-year university vs. enrolling their children in a two-year community college and then transferring them into the four-year college for the last two years. This source explains what the graduating class of 2014 did after graduation, and shows what different fields they went in. I was able to take a stance on the issue because this situation is mainly opinion based. Both choices are right, and you’re not doing anything wrong by choosing one over the other. Any form of post high school education is worth the money, time, and effort that a student will put into it.

“College Enrollment and Work Activity of 2014 High School Graduates” Bureau of Labor Statistics for release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Thursday, April 16, 2015. WEB 23 June 2015

Attending college is a luxury that not all families can afford. Families will generally spend around $10,000 on tuition alone (not including books, food, housing, and then all the miscellaneous fees that are incorporated into attending a university or state school) when putting that money aside; people will start to wonder “is this really for me?” Of course, growing up in the suburban town of McKinney, students will see all their friends get accepted into numerous Universities, Ivy –League schools, and places that one would never imagine attending. This brings us to the idea of college not being for everyone. Having your child graduate from a 4-year university is something all parents strive for. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, “in October 2014, 68.4 percent of 2014 high school graduates were enrolled in colleges or universities.” This means that only 35.2 percent of high school graduates didn’t attend a university or college directly after high school. At graduation, the valedictorian gives their speech and mentions that after high school, the graduating class will either go straight into the work force, attend a university or college, or they will go into a branch into the military. After graduation, whatever students decide to do is ultimately up to them. Since the majority of their friends and graduating class is attending a college or university, students may feel the pressure to do the same, I mean why not, students have already been in school for the past 13 years, why not add four more? Unfortunately, the only problem with that mindset is finding something to grab your interest and dedicate the next four years of studying into that certain field.

Why you should travel the world

Steakholder Writer: Air Treks

This topic caught my interest because of the simplicity of traveling. Students I know decided to travel post graduating high school, instead of attending a four-year university. They decided to take a year off and travel, enjoy the world, and see all that it has to offer. Students did this because they felt as if they needed a break before embarking on another four-year journey. Being someone whom enjoys traveling, I was able to understand why some decided to take the time off to enjoy life. It makes sense, and this article explains 17 reasons why you should travel around the world. I was able to take a stance on the issue because I feel as if you should travel at one point in your life. For me, I believe the year after I graduate college I will embark on a yearlong journey and travel the world. I will stay in missionaries, hotels, friends houses, and anywhere I find myself.

Travel. Explore. Wanderlust. Right now everywhere you look there seems to be some shape or form of advertisement to travel. The pages on instagram that are most popular are users whom always travel. There seems to be some urge for everyone to get out there and explore the world, see the sunset over Pedernales Falls, valleys of Mount Aspring, the icy waters of Zion National Park, and the natural waves of the Valley of Fire. Many students that I graduated high school with decided to take the time they had and travel. Since they did well in high school they had the opportunity to take the year out of their life and travel. Not only was this a wise choice, but the timing could not have been any more perfect. One of the reasons listed in the article of why traveling is good for you is “around the world travel can be a perfect way to separate these life stages.” Not only is that true, but it is also very logical. After going through thirteen years of forced, public education, people may often feel the need to experience life for what it has to offer. However, the only reason why this might not be the most wise decision, is because the percentage of people that decide to take time off and travel compared to the people that take time off to travel and actually go back to school is an unsettling ratio. It is definitely easier to just go travel and continue working a job that is simple and pays the rent vs. finding the motivation to get out there, get back on the grind, and go to school.

Steakholder Writer: Lifehack

While finding many articles online that were titled “how to tell you’re successful in your 20’s” or something along the lines of that, they were all focused around the same concept. Making people feel better about themselves. The articles I found were mostly about young women that were unsure of whom they were as individuals, and the advice was mostly relationship advice. So, after a lot of scrolling through Google and reading a lot of articles that were more focused to 20 year old wemon who may have just gotten dumped, fired, or gone through some life changing event that made them feel as if they were unsuccessful, I was finally able to find an article that I believe actually explains the true meaning of success. I was able to take a stance on the issue because I believe that the people that are most successful in life are the ones that are truly happy. They are the people that you see that always seem to be perfectly content with their life and where they are.

What defines success? If you Google “define success” there are a few things that come up. One of the definitions states “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose” while another defines it as “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.” To be successful do you need to have a lot of money? Do you need to have a job that you hate going to, but continue to go to work for a company that is well known, pays the bills, and you went to college to get a degree that would help get a job in that industry? Do you even need to have a college degree? What is success?

In my opinion success begins with your state of mind. If someone has a goal, they should get that done. To be successful, people must believe in themselves, they should have goals that they want to accomplish. Not only should the goals be attainable, but they should also be things that make the individual happy. It is very possible to have successful days and unsuccessful days; it all just depends on the situation. However, keep in mind that we are discussing success in the long run. To be successful in the long run, according to Merriam-Webster, is “the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame” however, I disagree. I believe that one is successful when they are completely content with the lifestyle they are living. When they are happy, and when they feel no need whatsoever to try and “keep up with the Joneses.” To me that is what success is defined as, and remains true. To be successful you don’t need a college degree, you don’t need to have traveled the world, you don’t need to be shitting money; you simply just need to be happy. If that entails any of the above, then that’s perfectly fine, there’s no need to change your perspective on life or success. If you completely disagree with this statement, then that’s fine too, this is just how I define success. Through happiness

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The Real Meaning of Success in Life and the Choice between Going to College after High School and Taking a Gap Year to Travel. (2019, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 27, 2021, from
“The Real Meaning of Success in Life and the Choice between Going to College after High School and Taking a Gap Year to Travel.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2019,
The Real Meaning of Success in Life and the Choice between Going to College after High School and Taking a Gap Year to Travel. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Oct. 2021].
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