5 years vs. 40 years and the role that academics should play in a college decision

5 years vs. 40 years and the role that academics should play in a college decisionWhen you are 17 and 18 years old, the time you are thinking about is the present.  You are trying to do whatever you can at this young age to make yourself happy.  If you love to eat, you are going to eat.  If you love to play basketball, you are going to play a lot of basketball.  So when you are this young and immature, a college decision is never going to be easy.

At that time, you are looking mostly at the next five years of your life.  Why wouldn’t you?  Chances are high that you will be playing athletics in college and get a chance to be a big man around the campus.  The short term has been your focus for the 17 or 18 years you have been alive but that may not be the smartest direction to go in when all is said and done.

While these four or five years may be among the most fun or your life, unless you are going to get a chance to play professionally in your sport, there will have to be a time where you realize that there has to be something after football, baseball, basketball, or whatever college sport you compete in.  That is why academics must play a huge role in this decision.

It may not seem all that important at the time but at the age of 23 years old, you may have regretted the decision you made regarding your college because you based it strictly on sports.  Instead of looking at the type of education that you would get in the field you were interested in, you were happy to enjoy the life of a college athlete.

That is when it hits you that unless you are a trust fund baby (And I can safely assume most readers here are not), you are going to have to figure out something to do with your life for the next 42 years.  The reason why I say 42 years is not just because that it is an outstanding number.  The reason that I say 42-years is because if you are 23-years old and finish college, you have 42-years to be in the work force until you retire at the age of 65.

When I was that younger and looking at colleges, I did want to find a school that I had what I wanted to major in and the unique academics offered by the eventual school that I picked help me land there.  But it never crossed my mind that the degree I get at this school is going to pave my life for the next 40 plus years.

Obviously there are exceptions where after you finish up your playing days, you may go to grad school or get another undergraduate degree because Leisure/Recreation is not cutting it in the real world.  If you really think about it, planning ahead can avoid this step.  If you are able to find a school that fits you academically, it will challenge you to be the best student that you can be.  And it will also help you get that degree in a field you are interested in.  Keep that in mind before coming to a final college decision.

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