Education can be a defining aspect in how successful one will be in life. How much education a person decides to get can make a dramatic impact on their life forever. Many kids who drop out of high school probably don’t realize the implications that come with not getting a high school diploma. It is not just the diploma they will be missing from their life. It can affect their ability to get a higher education, earning potential for the rest of their lives, their knowledge, social status, health, relationships with others, personal self-image, and all of these things can impact future generations if they choose to have children.

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The more education one receives the better off they will be in life because, not only is knowledge power, high school degrees lead to better opportunities. A diploma is important in getting a job, but a college degree is even better as it can lead to a long-term career. Not only do high school dropouts lose out on the education they would have continued to receive in high school, they lose out on the education they could have potentially gotten in college. A higher education extends beyond getting a degree; it offers new opportunities and a happier working experience, providing one with the ability to choose a career path they want.

Aside from the lost opportunity to gain knowledge, those without a high school diploma lose out on the ability to get a better job or have a career. Getting a college degree helps ensure a better salary and a more permanent job situation. Most jobs available to high school dropouts offer little pay, which can dramatically impact one’s living conditions. Their chances of living in poverty increase considerably. While one person living in poverty may not make much of a difference in society, if they choose to have children, they then have a family living in poverty.

Because high school dropouts have a higher chance of living in poverty, their quality of living is lower than it could have been if they had completed their education. It is not only the quality of their monetary situation, but also the quality of their health. Living in poverty can cause financial stress, and constant stress can result in poor health. This can alter their potential lifespan, shortening their life.

Another aspect that can be impacted by someone not getting a high school diploma is the social stigma that often comes with it. Many view a high school dropout as someone who quits easily, doesn’t know how to work hard, or is uneducated. Employers may hire someone who doesn’t have a diploma, but may not treat them as well, or give them as many opportunities in the workforce because they fear that they may quit or not be able to accomplish certain tasks. Whether these statements apply to them or not, they may have to deal with others judging them as such for the rest of their life.

Having social stigmas could consequently lead to a lower self-esteem. The opinion of others can often lead to personal belief and self-doubt. Having a negative self-image can lead to a feeling of hopelessness and can cause one to lose the ambition to succeed.

All of these negative side-effects can have long-term implications as a parent’s education is often a good indicator of what kind of education their children will receive, and financial situation they will live in. If someone drops out of high school and eventually has a family, having never furthered their education, their children have a greater chance of also dropping out of high school.

The result of dropping out of high school and not getting a diploma can lead to multiple negative side-effects, many of which could be long-term and life-altering. It could be a downward spiral. It is much more than a high school Diploma; it can be the difference between great opportunities, good health, and a higher quality of life—physically and mentally—to a life in poverty, with limited opportunities that could potentially impact future generations.