I’ll begin this by promptly checking my privilege at the door. Starting this conversation with a masters in my back pocket makes this a very easy topic to discuss without actually having to put my money where my mouth is. But it’s still a question I ask myself fairly often.
Why? Because we all have the same struggle early on in our career. Dealing with the catch 22 that requires you to have experience to get experience. As someone who studied economics I examine everything in terms of opportunity cost. What would it cost me in lost time/opportunity to do one thing while I spend that time doing another. In this case, by going to college and into debt, I gave up the opportunity to start my career 5 years earlier and lost 5 years of earning potential. Being broke and in debt doesn’t make that degree feel too valuable.
Besides the technical fields, how many people actually say that college prepared them for their job. For a huge amount of people, myself included, their college degree has NOTHING to do with their chosen career path. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Knowledge may be power but “knowledge from college” is neither predictor nor guarantor of success”… “In “Econ 101” terms for job-hunters: time spent cultivating your Facebook/Linked-In network(s) may be a better investment than taking that Finance elective.”
Your ability to excel on social media is literally a better predictor of economic success than a college degree, even from a highly regarded university. I mean everybody and their mama have one- Literally. It’s now like a defunct key card that may or may not get you into the hotel room. It leaves me wondering how I screwed up my priorities when I was avoiding social media and chasing A’s. Nobody’s checking for those grades now but they’re checking for followers.
The way I see it, education is meant to be a beautiful thing. It opens your eyes to the world at large and how it functions. Whether or not you need to go into 40,000 dollars in debt to attain this knowledge is another matter.