As it shows in my facebook profile, I have a Bachelor's of Business Leadership degree. Is this degree necessary for my job in reality? Absolutely not. Although it does help with some of it. And I'm still glad that I have it. But to those who say that a degree is essential . . . well, I don't agree for the majority of careers. I will always value some things higher, like work ethic and common sense. Anyway . . . when I was 17, all I knew about college were the things the guidance counselor talked about and what I saw on tv. Now that I have some bearing on it. I thought I would mention some things that I wish someone had told me; things that I intend on telling my children.
I haven't actually checked, but to my knowledge, all degrees require certain, standard classes. Basic reading or math at a community college will have basically the same information as the same class at a four year university. The college loan that I am still paying on is all from my first year at a four year university, where I took only a few specialized classes, but was required to live in the dorm and have a meal plan that I rarely used. In this house, we have already started encouraging our children to plan on spending the first year or two at the community college and then transferring on if they choose.
My freshman year of college, I had two scholarships. One academic scholarship and one from a writing contest I had won. I should have applied for every scholarship that I saw!!! I didn't realize how many scholarships were out there. Filling out applications for scholarships should have been my second job! Someone is going to get that money given to them for college, it could have been me!!
Some colleges have ways to get credit for life experiences. I worked since I was 13 years old. I had a lot of experience. The college I graduated from had an excellent program where a student could submit proof and narrative to show how life experience had taught them to master the syllabus for certain classes. I also tested out and passed a few other classes. Those were some great and efficient ways to earn credits towards my degree!!
Different colleges have different programs. I entered in to an accelerated program that took a semester off my college time. It could have taken two semesters off, but I was one or two classes short of the pre-requisites. I was ecstatic to save any time and any $$$; as my first year of student loans had set me on a quest to get the degree as cheaply and quickly as possible!
This last point isn't to cut down any instructors. I just have to mention that little disclaimer. But I found some of my most real world education at evening classes. Several of these instructors were people who worked in the fields during the day and taught classes in the evening. Text books are great sources of information. But when the instructor can say, "Today this came in handy for me because . . . ", it just brings it all to a different level.
So the span of my college education was three and a half years over three different colleges. One semester was paid for in cash after I got engaged and moved back home for awhile with a full time job. And yet, I'm still paying on the loans from the first year . . . that loan will not make it to the end of this year! But my degree says one college on it. That's all any one's degree will say. It doesn't matter how you got there. Just as long as you graduate, you get the degree.
Lastly, the biggest seeming myth is that college was the end of formal education. Since being a middle school student, I had heard of teachers needing continuing education. Guess what. They aren't the only ones. There are many, many, many professions that require annual education. The licenses that I have both required additional formal education to obtain regularly. And the next license on my radar requires a slightly obscene amount of formal education.
Tonight I am thankful for the opportunity to go to college. It was such a big part of my high school dreams. And I've worked my butt off both at school and at jobs to pay for school. But I am very thankful for the opportunity. There are some who don't get to go. I am also thankful for the continuation of education throughout life. It is always good to learn something new! And some day, I will fulfill another point on my life to-do list and take a welding class. I decided I wanted to learn to weld about 18 years ago, and I fully intend to learn some day when I can take the class and not feel guilty about being there. I have a feeling I will not be naturally good at it . . . so I may need a few classes! I'm sure I'll get it, eventually.