Working at Walmart, I see lots of people who are unhappy with where they are at in life. Some of them are in the later years in life (many of which regret not having gone to college), and a lot of them are young and less than 5 years out of high school but aren't already going to college. I ask them, "Do you want to work for Walmart for the rest of your life?" and not a single one has said that they did.
But essentially, this is what it boils down to: without going to college, you are forever limiting the kind of jobs you can get. Sure you don't have to work for Walmart. There are any number of companies that you can spend your time working for. But the fact still remains the same-- you are limited to a very small category of jobs, and most them are going to be just as bad as working for Walmart.
So many people get stuck doing jobs like cashiering or waiting because they never went to college to get the training that they needed. A lot of these people have hopes and dreams, most of which have to do with this idea of being "successful," but beyond that, everyone has ideas of what they would like to do if there weren't any barriers for entry. Computer programming, scientists, business owners, and so forth. There are any number of jobs that person would want to do but couldn't without education.
Beyond that, a lot of people just don't know what they would want to do. But chances are, those same people have a list of interests that could relate to any number of jobs that they would be very happy with.
Going to college isn't for everyone, or so people say. But I believe that it is! NOBODY wants to be stuck doing lame dead-end jobs that pay low wages. Nobody ever says, "When I get older, I want to be a Walmart door greeter" or "I would really like to clean bathrooms for the rest of my life." No. That sucks. Why would anyone want to do that for the rest of their life?
It's important to go to school, and coming back to this idea of "success," we have to understand what success really is.
Success isn't simply making a lot of money; rather, success is doing something that you love doing. It's really easy to get passionate about something when you job is challenging and rewarding. When you are doing something that makes you feel like you're making significant contributions to society or to a team of people, you feel way happier than when you're getting bossed around by managers all day.
Education is a seriously risky endeavor. You can pay thousands of dollars into it and get so caught up in life that you end up dropping out without the benefits of graduating. It's a huge time commitment that requires a lot of effort, and most people who aren't going to college would say that they just don't have the time or motivation to do it. But you have to plan ahead. You can't just sit there and let the rest of your life pass you by because you aren't willing to do the work now.
I'm going to college because I want something. What I want can't be achieved simply by the act of wanting it. I have to have knowledge and skills, and I also have to have recognition of those knowledge and skills. What I want to do is change the world. I want to spend my life working for humanity, making sure that everyone in the world has a chance at being happy and achieving self-realization (the act of making use of one's full potential). I want to make sure that people are able to have dreams and act on those dreams. I want to make sure that people have access to adequate resources. I want to make sure that people can provide for their families and not spend so much time being miserable because they can't pay the bills.
I want to work for better education, to make it cheaper, more efficient, more effective, more personal. I want to evolve education into something that is innovative and creative, not rigid and stagnant.
I can't do that without getting an education first myself! Education is my key to changing the world, but your dreams don't have to be that big. If you want anything, anything at all in this world, you should pursue it with all of your strength. There is no reason to let petty excuses get in your way of acquiring the skills and credibility you need to do something that is truly important to you. And chances are, even if you end up doing a job (like teaching) that doesn't pay off as well as other jobs you could get through education, if that is what you choose to do, you will be much happier than if you hadn't.
Employment should be something personal that calls to each individuals interests and capabilities. That can only be achieved by getting an education, and that is why you should go to college and live out your dreams.