I am 20 years old, and it's come to a point where I realize that somewhere along the line I will need the degree that I should be so close to having, but do not because of all of the dedication I've put into networking and building references through real world experience. It has been drilled into my head for years that I need an education and that I need to go to school. I agree with education being a necessity, but I don't necessarily agree anymore with going to school. This is not because I don't see school as being a learning experience, it is because I don't see going to school as a financially sound option. I see the acquisition of knowledge as a very important matter and I cannot perceive why, in this day and age, there isn't a way to obtain an accredited degree on one's own time, at little to no cost. I am speaking beside all merits and scholarships, most of which not everyone is able to obtain. All of the information that is taught within an academic setting is obtainable through the purchasing of a textbook, which you have to pay for anyways when enrolling for classes, or for free online. As Bill Gates has even said, “Five years from now on the web for free you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.” Why is there currently a social pressure to pay dues to an institution, to then receive the credentials currently necessary to obtain work in the real world? Also, why does the attitude of the general population still support this system when it is clearly not the most efficient?