I’d like to tell you a story:

There once was a little girl named Millie.  When she grew up, she wanted to join all the adults in a fun amusement park where all of them would play together.  “Millie,” the adults said, “You can surely join us in the amusement park, but you need a ticket.”

“Where do I get a ticket?”  Millie asked.

“Oh, there are so many wonderful options for where to get a ticket.  There are ticket booths all over the country, waiting to sell you a ticket.”

Indeed, Millie found that ticket booths really were all over the place, ready to sell her their tickets.  They would mail her things, call her, and even give her “discounts.”  So Millie visited some of these ticket booths and tried to find the best ticket she could, the one that fit her; the one that was made for her.  But when she found the one she wanted, she didn’t have the money to cover the cost.

“What do I do?” Millie asked!  “I want to go where all the adults are.”

“They’ll loan you the money!” the adults said.  “Getting the ticket is worth it.  Fulfilling your dreams of getting into the park is worth borrowing the money to get there.”

Millie was convinced.  She borrowed the money she needed, bought the ticket, and enjoyed every minute of acquiring the ticket.

Leaving the ticket booth, she proceeded to the amusement park.  Handing her ticket to the clerk, he responded, “Oh, wait, I’m sorry.  We don’t have room for you here.”

“What?  I’ve been working towards being here for a long time.  I borrowed money to purchase that ticket.  What am I supposed to do with a worthless ticket?”

“I don’t know, ma’am, I’m sorry.  There’s just no room.”

And so Millie sits outside of the park on the curb, digging in the dirt with a stick, waiting for her chance to enter the park with the adults.  All the while, the ticket booths are harassing her, demanding she return the money she borrowed.

Do you get the point?  Do you see what’s happened?

“Millie,” America’s Millennial generation (of which I am a part), were sold a bill of goods.

“An education is the best investment you can make!” they said.  “Follow your heart; follow your dreams!” they encouraged.  “It will be worth it in the end to make the investment in your future!”

And so we went.  By the millions each year, we’ve funneled through the higher education system at an ever-increasing cost.  But what’s happened?

The amusement park hasn’t been well-maintained.  The job market, the economy, hasn’t had room for much of our generation.  The effective unemployment rate for Millennials is 15.8% (includes Millennials who have given up looking for work.)  Many of those that are employed are either under-employed or working in fields other than what they studied in school.  Nearly one quarter of 26-year-olds are living with their parents.  Student loan debt is now over $1.2 trillion.  It’s hard to even understand how much money that is, but I found a resource that can help.

If I sound mad, it’s because I am.  Not because I’m victim to it (I avoided student loan debt thanks to my grandfather putting away money for my education), but I’m mad because my entire generation is being thrown off by it.  My generation isn’t reaching their full potential and doing the things they were born to do because of it, and we’re not growing up!  These are our “best and brightest.”  These are our friends, our siblings, our children that were sold this lie.

I still believe education is a good investment.  Knowledge is still power.  But your knowledge is only power to the extent that someone will pay you to use it.

Students entering college, don’t take out student loans.  Pursue formal higher education if you so desire and if it will help you advance, but don’t go into debt for it.  It’s just not worth it.

I put a lot out there today. What do you think?  Are student loans worth it?  Is college worth it?