If you have researched what career you want in life during your college life, then the education will not be wasted. Not only should you research about the courses you love, you need to know if that courses upon completion can land you a job you will love in your entire career. I have seen people who thought they loved one course, completed it, only to find that the job in their line is not what they had imagined. They then had to go back to college or university and study other courses. In life, all jobs have its pros and cons and no job is perfect. Its all in your mind on how you adjust to life working in the job.
You do not need to study too much and take huge amount of student loans but you need to have certain level of education to get any job in these modern world. Without education at all, you won't get too far in life unless your family is already rich as before. Try to do a part time job during your college years because this is will help you when you complete your studies and are ready to start working. You can then mention to the employer about your skills and experience you gained working part time. You will have a better chance of getting hired than those that did not work part time during their college or university studies.