For those without a degree... Do you ever wish that you had one or had finished one? Sometimes I do... I could go back now but age and energy... I have not the energy to do it. I just wonder what the rest of you think. I don't need it for my job but would it change anything to have a piece of paper??
Random thought of the day...
I have an Associates degree but it has benefited me in no way. I have had a successful life as a blue collar worker but I worked in that narrow era in history that jobs were plentiful, wages were good with benefits and a lifetime pension which I am enjoying now. Life is good.
Hmmm, remove the word 'degree' and replace with the word 'marriage'. Or did I just highjack a thread?? Sorry. But, based on the responses below, I'd say most would not go to school. I'm terminally degreed and I come from a blue collar background and what I teach is exceptionally related to that background in a lot of ways. Would I do it again...NO. I'd go get an associates in Welding and make 6 figures with little to no debt. But, I'd kill to go earn another degree in sculpture. I'm an odd duck of a farm boy!!
I'm 54, had a bi-level lumbar fusion, on my third year of my BA in social work and borrowing money to do it . It's either that min wage as I can't do what I know how to do and can't do what I'm able cause I don't know how. A plus is if I get worse I can still do the job from a wheelchair.
It's gotten to a point where a bachelor's degree isn't worth the time or $ invested. A teaching degree, yes. A college degree does help to create a well rounded person but only if it's a true liberal arts degree and not a specialists degree. Unfortunately we're letting the govt and business determine the curriculum and the programs are becoming more and more geared toward industry rather than teaching people how to think. They create Sheeples. Is that how it's spelled? Anyway, I'm in the teaching business and I cringe when my school claims to be a liberal arts school. The Core Curriculum has only 39 hours within a 124 hour minimum requirement. That is not a liberal art approach!!!
My biggest regret is not getting a degree earlier in life. I have an Associate's Degree in Health Information Management now. I wish I had gone into nursing when I was younger, but my dad discouraged that, in fact discouraged higher education which is why I joined the military.
That piece of paper is proof that you stuck it out.
I've thought about it several times myself. At the time I had to drop out of college (paying my own way, ran out of money), I kept saying I would go back. I have a fairly decent job that I love, so I don't think about it as often. But, I do have the occasional wondering of what could have been.
The person I was back then, I'd have hated university. An introvert. No confidence. I don't think I'd have thrived. The person I am now would probably have loved it, but would likely have spent most of their student loan on partying, leaving nothing left for food and study materials.
I had intended to go down the degree path. It fell over at A'Levels, due to the difference in curriculum between Yorkshire, where I'd done O'Levels and Merseyside, where I was doing the A's (I still don't understand matrix multiplication, and I passed O'Level Statistics at 14.) I ended up abandoning the A'Levels and going down the OND and HND route (an OND being equivalent to several A'Levels and an HND being a poor man's degree.) And then I dropped out of the HND early into year 2 because someone offered me a job.
I've been in the (different) job I am doing now, with the same company, for nearly 30 years. The story goes that it was narrowed down to a shortlist of me and three graduates. They set a simple aptitude test (find the password for a program - it was stored as plaintext in the configuration file.) I was the only one who passed.
My only regret is not keeping my skill set relevant. And that could happen equally with or without a degree. Having spent over 20 years working for a multinational company that still functioned as a family business, the original owners sold up, we (or our parent companies) have changed hands several times, and the whole thing seems a lot more cutthroat. Less interested in looking after its employees and more interested in "How can we make the best use of this resource? And do we still need it?" I find myself in an interesting position whereby I'm probably the only person with the skills to do the job, while at the same time, that job is being eroded (in favour of centralised software development and support in Europe) and my skills are not particularly applicable elsewhere. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't worried.
If I do find myself looking for another job, that's when I'll find out whether prospective employers value experience over formal qualifications. And whether or not it affects the package offered. I've got to remember how to write a CV/résumé first. It's been nearly 30 years.
I went almost 1 semester to college , then quit. I didn't see anything that a degree would lead me to a career I would enjoy. Spent the rest of working career in the HVACR field, more job satisfaction, never regretted it. Expanded my knowledge by learning things I took an interest in. Training courses in flying, sail boating,also College courses in Physics , Astronomy, Calculus,etc.
I was very lucky for most of my life..... but when things go south it happens fast.... my dad and i had an oil company and a large ranch for 50 yrs....and money to swim in..... in the 70s we had oil checks of 110000 dollars a mo... we had a ranch with 3500 hd of cattle and some of the best roping horses in the nation...... we showed the horses at all the large shows.... won at Denver, Huston, San Antonio ...... champion at the Congress....... 14 times AQHA world show..... dad died last yr.... my mom devorcied him after 54 yrs... for money...... my wife devorcied me after 40 yrs for money....... money is a creature that is worst than death..
Hindsight being 20-20, I would get a teachers degree and teach high school. Getting a degree in a specific field is always a crap shoot... my natural tendency is towards engineering, but our country went through a decade or two of having a glut of unemployed engineers. With teaching, you get to be involved with so many disciplines. Plus, in my neck of the woods, they get one helluva pension.
Degrees certify that one has absorbed a sufficient amount of information. With some, like mathematics/engineering etc. the information is dependable knowledge that will be confirmed to be so by application. With others the information is only partially knowledge because only a part of it is actual fact. People are 'learning' lots of things that are not so in qualifying for degrees, making levels of actual knowledge (information that is so) dubious.
Self-education confirmed by research and personal experience provides a very dependable body of knowledge about things that are important to the individual acquiring it. There is also no need to conform to a curriculum established by others. We, especially thanks to the Internet, can define what is and isn't personally useful. No need to chase a piece of paper to prove knowledge to others any more than it is necessary to get a marriage certificate to prove love.
I have degrees too and a lot of experience, but these things don't necessarily translate into well paid satisfying jobs. You add ageism now in western countries and that's a further problem. In the past experience was respected, but now it's youth, seemingly, that is wanted. But time passes quickly and younger people will face a similar challenge, unless work patterns and structures change greatly. Also, it's having degrees in demand areas that really counts, like technology related fields where seemingly young people get paid huge salaries, or in finance, where large salaries are paid to people for frankly I don't know what benefit to the world except looking at numbers on a computer screen and regularly collapsing capitalism.
I liked your last bit - does it change anything to have a piece of paper - I think No! I felt for a lot of my life that I should have, had/done, more schooling even though i had nice work environments and life was interesting. I eventually went and did three degrees one in social psychology one in Fine and Applied arts and one in Counselling - Looking back I really enjoyed the process and the content but it hasn't changed me - And I am thinking its just tools for living that you pick up. And you can pick those up just by living consciously - Learning to me isn't something you particularly do in a college. Its having a curiousity , and an enquiring mind, being playful with information. A lot of my lecturers at college were very fond of the students who did nothing but go out on the town and hand in any old work because they knew that the students were learning other skills - equally valid. I started at uni when I was in my 30's and many of the young people who came to Liverpool Uni had rarely even got on a bus before and didnt know how to have their money ready etc.
Schmegree degree! It was marketing and coercion that convinced people they needed, and forced people to get, a college degree. Companies limit their possible candidates to people who only have degrees mostly. I wouldn't be surprised if it was originally set up like that to also keep minorities down. Colleges make bank. People go into debt. Student debt is the biggest debt in the country. It keeps the economy going. My brother never went to college. He started working at his career at 17 in the 80s. He moved up numerous times and makes over $100K. College is a scam. There are some graduates who are lucky if they make $60K a year the rest of their lives. There are some making $35K a year.
I was fortunate to get into software development on the ground floor when there was a ton of low-hanging fruit and most degrees were not that helpful (tended to have out-of-date textbooks, training you in punch card programming and the like; or, run out of the math department and highly theoretical). So being an autodidact worked super well for me. I've made more money than anyone can typically expect to make in that field WITH a degree.
It backfired in that I had to do some fast talking to convince my children they couldn't pull the same stunt. Especially my son, who tried to follow in my footsteps. Things change fast in Information Technology.
If I were retired I might audit classes online just for the sake of curiosity ... that is an option that solves the problem of what an education costs, but not the energy problem. I think that would be the main obstacle and what I'd actually be likely to do is take a class here and there, not try to pull together an entire degree program.
My wife deeply regrets not pursuing her passion in medicine, instead doing writing and journalism. She has the same $$ / energy issues everyone else is citing. In theory she could have gone to school over the past 9 years we've been together (we could have gotten by on my income) and be in residency now but who wants to try that in their late 50s? And even the undergrad / graduate school portion would have been tough with all the drama and churn in our lives -- mostly child-related.
Life just gets too complicated to pull off degree programs in middle life, there's a reason they're supposed to be done before you get married and have kids, and a reason most people put off marriage nowadays into their late 20s.
I do construction. I finished my BS in 1986 in Oceanography and after that wanted as far from any institution of learning as I could get.
There have been some times it has helped. A contractor will see it and say, "me too. Right of high school. I was supposed to be a teacher."
It does show an ability to complete.
I have two degrees and a lot of education beyond that. School was always easy for me, and that's a shame in some ways. Now that I'm a senior citizen, I still have curiosity, just not a lot of energy; therefore, I pursue things a little at a time and follow only the paths that look interesting. Sometimes I don't think that is so good, either, because some things that don't look interesting can be once you get below the first layer.
I never liked the structure of schools. Science always felt too fast-paced for me that I ended up hating science, but after becoming nonreligious I learned about science on my own time and learned to value and love it. I took my education to my own hands and taught myself in many ways better than an single teacher would have. Plus I didn't have much reason because you don't need a college degree to be an author or writer in general. Never felt I needed a fancy piece of paper to prove myself, I've proved myself plenty of times over already. But if it's your thing more power to you--go for it .
Didn't finished it... didn't cared... It would had been another piece of paper to enslave me into something I didn't wanted to commit my whole life into. But nothing wrong with starting something and finishing it. Just was not necessary for me to live the life I wanted to live. To me was never about money... or the money.