A Diploma's WorthWhat does a high school diploma really mean? What is it really worth? It all depends on how you look at it.
By: Amos Gewirtz, Sibley Scribe
During a university interview, I was made aware of an interesting fact—it is not so easy to price on a high school diploma.
This did not immediately make sense to me. After all, is it not a simple task to find jobs that one is qualified for right after high school, get the salaries, and then find the mean? Is it really that difficult to see that a high school diploma is not a sufficient qualification for the brunt of today’s workforce?
I voiced this opposition—that it is actually quite simple to value a high school diploma—to my interviewer. He agreed, briefly. “Yes it’s true. The number of jobs that you can get right out of high school are few—and among those jobs, the salaries do not vary much” “However,” he went on “the high school diploma is an invaluable part of getting to university”.
At the time I thought this answer was fairly obvious; a bit of a cheap retort to my more important question—assuming that you pass high school, is there really much value in a diploma aside from using it to get to college?
With graduation nearing, however, I have come to realize that my interviewer had brought forward a far more interesting point than what my question had asked—that we view high school in the wrong light.
It is not valuable to price a high school diploma because a high school diploma has varying degrees of value depending on what you do with it. Do you use the diploma to enroll at a university? Do you go to college at all? Do you take that time traveling? Do you join the military?
My diploma’s worth, just like everyone else’s has not yet been decided. All we can do is guess. But to all seniors, at the end of our time in high school, I’ll still ask you to ponder the question has been asked over and over, to kids our age all over America: what is your diploma worth?
The fact is, that most of us were pushed through high school—woken up at the same time every day to spend hours working through classes, to go home, to do homework, and then to start the whole process over again. This was good at first— it helped us acclimate to the routine, but the approach could also have caused us to lose sight of why we were here. As a result, many of us view high school as more of a stepping-stone rather than as door—as more of a means to an end rather than as a figurative porthole, that once left, frees us from the narrow confines of halls and corridors and allows us to move in many other directions.
In the coming days, take some time to think. If you think that your diploma is a piece of paper like any other, that’s fine. If you think that it’s the crowning achievement of your life until now, that’s fine too. If you don’t know, so be it.
Regardless of the answer, some of us can begin to reflect, if only briefly, on our four years at high school, what they meant, why we went, and where we’re going.