Do You Really Need a College Degree to Build Awesome Career?

By Silvia Woolard

Posted 3 years agoGROWTH

Do You Really Need a College Degree to Build Awesome Career?

So do you need it?

Do you really have to invest a fortune in education just to get the job you need?

And I mean – a real fortune! I’m talking about an average of $25,290 at public U.S. universities and outrageous $50,900 at private U.S. universities per year.

Well the answer to that question is the one you don’t hope to see at all: it depends.

Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Henry Ford. All these successful men did not get their college degrees.

But my doctor and my psychologist have one. You wouldn’t allow someone to perform surgery on you if they didn’t have a degree, would you? Maybe you would hire an interior designer without a degree if they were really talented, but would you hire an architect to design you a house if they didn’t go through the schooling system?

It’s clear: if you aim for a profession that specifically calls for a degree, then you gotta get it regardless of your cost. The good news is that architects, engineers, and surgeons usually make enough money to pay off their college debt without much effort.

But if you want to start your own business, be a writer, journalist, or anything else that does not necessarily call for a degree, should you bother getting it?

It’s a rather extensive talk with tons of pros and cons, so let’s get to it without further ado.

1. Some People Don’t Need It

Do you know how many people go to college without having an absolute idea what they are doing there?

Do You Really Need a College Degree to Build Awesome Career?

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They apply to colleges because all their friends are doing the same thing. They get into college and they start attending classes, hoping they would give them direction in life. One class after another, and they still don’t know what major to opt for. So they make a random pick, just because they get good grades at a particular subject area.

I’m saying all this from personal experience. Do you know what degree I got? Public administration. I liked sociology, so I thought this would be a nice blend between sociology, economy, and law. Plenty of options for me. Except there were zero options and I ended up doing something completely unrelated to that degree. I started my own business and college taught me nothing on how to maintain it. So I had to go through several online courses to learn the basics.

So let me give you an honest piece of advice: if you don’t know what you’re doing at college, just don’t go. Chances are, you won’t get the direction you’re craving for. The professors are just there to teach. They are not there to help you find your calling.

So you’ll end up attending classes you don’t like and writing projects you don’t understand. Okay; I’ll be honest: I skipped most of the projects and I hired writing services  for the most important ones. That’s how lost I was.

If you were looking for reasons not to go to college, let me give you few solid ones:

2. It’s Expensive as Hell

Do you know how much money an average graduate owes? In 2017, that amount was $39,400. The overall student debt in the USA is $1.48 trillion. That’s way above the total credit card debt.

So if you go to college, you should be ready to spend a lot of money.

Even if you get a scholarship, you’ll still spend a lot of money and you’ll probably need to borrow despite the fact that the government or some institution is financing you.

I want you to ask yourself a very serious question: “Do I really need this degree for the profession I want to pursue? I mean, can I succeed without it?

If the degree is not mandatory, then you could probably find a smarter way to spend that money. A vocational course, online certification program, entry-level positions… there are plenty of options.

3. You’re Going for the Wrong Reasons

  • Are you going to college because all your friends are going and you don’t know what to do?
  • Are you going because your parents expect you to do that?
  • Are you going because that’s where the party is?
  • Are you going because you had great grades at high school and this seems like a logica step?

Do You Really Need a College Degree to Build Awesome Career?

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These reasons are all wrong. And I’ll tell you why.

  • Yes; most of your friends are going to college. But chances are, you won’t get into the same college that your best friend is getting into. People go to college and make friends with other people. You’ll have to make peace with that fact. You’ll still stay friends, but you can’t follow someone else’s journey.
  • Parents have expectations. They imposed them on you since you were a little boy. You’re their pride and that’s okay. But it’s definitely not okay for you to do something just because your parents want you to. You’re your own person. College should be your choice, not someone else’s.
  • College students party like crazy. But who stops you from partying if you don’t go? Here’s a little hint: fraternities look cool only in movies. In real life, they are lame. And that’s an understatement. Imagine dudes who don’t know what to do with their lives and try to find life’s purpose in beer pong. That’s your fraternity right there.

Oh; don’t even mention those high-class fraternities of so-called intellectual. Those are just rich kids who also don’t know what to do with their lives.

  • So you’re smart, huh? Well you can still use your intelligence. You can get an entry-level job to start the career you want. You can get a random job that would get you enough money to start the business you have in mind. You could start an online project with a minimal investment and see where it takes you.

Your intelligence at college is good for studying, writing papers, and taking exams. In real life, you could put it to much better use.

4. You Don’t Have to Go to College Right Away

Who made up that rule that you had to go to college as soon as you graduate from high school?

I did that because it seemed like the logical thing to do, and it was the biggest mistake of my life.

If you don’t know what you want to become in life, going to college with the idea that it would help you figure things out is not the right thing to do.

Go travel! You’re young and  your spirit is free. You’re not tied down to a long-term partner or a family, so you can take this opportunity and set yourself free.

If you don’t have enough money to travel to the places you want to see, you could get a job and save. Even better: you could volunteer abroad. Check out volunteer abroad programs and you’ll find wonderful opportunities to help this world and see more of it at the same time.

Take a break from this schooling system. We all know that it’s burdening you. If you do decide to go to college, you can do it at any time. A break of a year or two will make a difference, but it will be a good one. You’ll show up to college with life experience and a specific goal for the things you want to accomplish in future.

If You Know What You Want, Then College Can Only Benefit That Journey

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So let’s say you know exactly what you want.

You decide to start a small business, become a writer, pursue a career in marketing, or start a website.

You don’t necessarily need a degree for these professions. But you do need education.

Right now, I’m a business owner with an irrelevant degree. This education did not teach me the things I needed to know. But if I opted for a business major or even took an MBA, I would be set for a more successful start.

When I started the business, I had zero knowledge about how small businesses worked. I didn’t know how to write my business plan, so I turned to a writing service again. I had no idea how to do accounting, so I paid tons of money for consultations and bookkeeping. I didn’t know what to do with the marketing approach, so I had to hire a team.

The good news is that I had a good starting capital to hire more people than startups usually hire. So it eventually worked out. But you know what? I still needed to upgrade my education because I wanted to know what was going on. I didn’t want to be an investor; I wanted to be a proper business owner.

If I had a chance to go back and choose, I would definitely go to college. But I would choose to study something I love. I would choose to study something related to the future I saw myself in.

This is my most honest tip for you: figure out what you want first! If it takes a year or two, take the gap. When you visualize that bright future, it will be time to invest in it. Maybe you’ll go to college or maybe you’ll take a certification program. Even if you don’t pursue a degree, it’s still important to get educated. With so many online learning opportunities nowadays, it’s easy to get the knowledge you need.

College educated or self educated, genuine motivation and professional attitude are crucial. 

Are These Seemingly Minor Bad Habits Ruining Your Career Success?

Have you ever wondered why other people seem to climb the ladder to the corner office, but you’re stuck sitting on the bottom rung? Why a coworker you can’t stand keeps getting promoted and you keep getting passed over?

Well, there are probably some things you’re doing that stop you from reaching the level you’re capable of.

If you do any of these things, stop it right now and see your career blossom.

1. You’re Late

Flexible schedules are awesome, but if you don’t have one, showing up late is a career killer. Even if it’s totally illogical–after all you do a great job and you work late into the evening–when you come in 30 minutes after everyone else does, it looks bad. Even if you do have an official flexible schedule, pay attention to how the boss responds to when you start and stop working. For some reason, people see early birds as morally superior to night owls. It’s not true, but it can damage your career.

2. You Whine

If you ever catch yourself sounding like a tired three-year-old, this has got to change. If you start into “why me?” or “it’s unfair that I have to do this,” it’s a career killer. Yes, you can push back, but you can’t whine about it. If you’re thinking, “this is unfair!” don’t say that, instead of say, “I have 6 other projects on deadline. Can Jane take this one on?” Make sure you watch your tone. The tone is super important when it comes to whining.

3. You Forget to Respond

Do you ever open up an email and say to yourself, “oh, I’ll get to that later”? and then you don’t? Because it’s already marked as read, you’ve marked it off as handled in your brain. This means that other people have to harass you and follow up. Even if your work quality is awesome when you do it, this little habit can be a career killer.

4. You Assume You Know What You Are Doing

You sit in the meeting, feeling comfortable and confident that you’ve got this. So, you don’t ask any follow-up or clarification questions. Then, when you get back to your desk, you find you lack the right information or something is unclear. But, you’re embarrassed to ask now – you should have asked in the meeting. So, you plunge ahead and just do it, and it’s wrong. Yes, sometimes you get lucky, but sometimes you don’t. Ask!

5. You Don’t Believe Your Boss

Bosses aren’t perfect, of course, but they are still bosses. So, when your boss says, “Make project A a priority,” and you think to yourself, “Project B really is more important!” this little habit will destroy your career. Maybe, in the eternal scheme of things, project B is more important than Project A, but your boss just told you her preference.

Likewise, boss’s say things like, “Can you please limit your lunch to 45 minutes?” and that means that the boss really, really, really, doesn’t like long lunches. Again, even if you technically have a flexible schedule, this rejection of the boss’s criticism means you’re not going up anytime soon. Sometimes, bosses have ridiculous requests, “I only want things written in Times New Roman!” and if you say, “that’s ridiculous, I’m not going to do that!” you do so at your own peril.

6. You Take Care of Personal Hygiene at the Office

I don’t mean you wash your hands after using a bathroom. That’s a good habit! Are you clipping your fingernails–or worse, toenails!–at your desk? Do you pick your teeth with a toothpick or dental floss in your cube? Even doing these things too often in an otherwise occupied bathroom can rub people the wrong way. And please, leave the treasure hunting in your nose for home.

7. You Do the Bare Minimum.

Boss says do X. You do X. So, why aren’t you recognized for that? Because your co-workers are doing X and, with their own initiative, Y. That’s what it takes to be promoted above where you are–more. Ask yourself every Friday, “What have I done that’s above and beyond?” If the answer to that is nothing, you need to fix that. Doing the bare minimum keeps you in the bare minimum job you have now.

8. Your Emails Are Sloppy

Writing isn’t your strongest subject. That’s fine. Unless you’ve been hired to write or edit, it doesn’t have to be. But, what they can’t be is sloppy. Don’t ever use text-speak in a business email. Remember proper punctuation and capitalization. Check your spelling. Unless you’re a grammar genius, use grammar checking software to catch any errors. Take the time to re-read things and ensure they make sense before hitting send.

9. You’re Tied to Your Electronics

Is that you checking your email while in a meeting? Are you just catching up on Facebook or Tinder? Sending a quick text as you walk down the hall? If it’s work-related, it’s admirable but still annoying as all get out. Now, if your boss is an electronics addict, you might be able to get away with this bad habit, but if she’s not, your doomed. Put the phone down and do some work. Text your friends when you’re not on the clock. And for heaven’s sake, don’t scan your phone will someone else is talking to you.

10. You Think You’re Above Politics

By this, I don’t mean you should, yourself, become a whining little suck-up who throw their colleagues under the bus. But, you do need to pay attention to the political situation around you. Sometimes the person with the real power isn’t the boss, and you need to be aware of that. Sometimes there is a bully that will destroy you if given the chance. You have to be aware of these things or you will be destroyed.

About the author Silvia Woolard

Silvia is a professional writer at UK BestEssays and novice entrepreneur from Phoenix. She mostly writes and works in a field op popular psychology and marketing. In her free time she loves to travel around the globe. Please follow Silvia on her Twitter!

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