3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Pursuing a Degree

You know when I was young I always dreamed of being a doctor. It was one of those popular career choices that get programmed into your brain by the adults in your life. It’s not like I had a passion for helping the sick or felt a deep sense that this was my calling. But it was a dream. Throughout my whole education experience, I’ve studied sciences in preparation for that goal. Even though I really enjoyed art and literature in school, I didn’t pursue that.

I enrolled for medicine after high school but didn’t get through. To be honest I was fine with that because again it was just an arbitrary goal in my life. My only concern was disappointing my family. But it didn’t really matter in the end because they were just happy I was going to university to get a degree. I did more sciences and diverted slightly into the world of social sciences with psychology. I actually enjoyed studying that a lot. It was fascinating learning about the mind, human behaviour and how the mind and body are linked. At this time I was pursuing a BSc. in Biology and a minor in psychology.

Psychology was so intriguing to me but due to some administrative policies, it was difficult to take it up as a major. So I just took as many classes as possible, more than the minor requirement, and graduated. Fast forward to the future, I am working and have only worked in the customer service field. Whether it be in a retail store or like now in the finance industry. After all that studying, the stress of making ends meet and working hard to get a First Class Degree, those skills are going to waste.

Despite that, I don’t really regret getting my degree and I enjoyed the experience of being in a learning environment. But I wish I knew that sometimes it’s better to take some time off before going through the expense of a degree. If I knew that I wouldn’t be utilising my skills actively, I’d have preferred to go to work and explore different options first. That way I could gain inside knowledge in an industry and then go the degree route to learn the theory.

I also wish I knew that sometimes experience is a much better teacher than books. I learned everything in customer service from doing it and I didn’t need a degree for that. There are a lot of successful persons in the world that don’t have a degree, not even a high school diploma. What do they know that I don’t?

Finally, I wish I knew it was okay for your goals to change. I could have avoided a lot of stress and heartache. Goals are great to have and I’m glad I had a target. But it is okay to be flexible and allow room for the different opportunities to come your way.

The education system only grooms us to pursue a career as an employee or self-employed worker. Nothing is wrong with that because each is needed. But the growth and success we seek, can’t be found by working for someone else or based on the time you put in each day. Why don’t we learn about being business owners and investors? That way our reach and potential for success is not dependent solely on our own effort and time. When you a big business owner your output is not determined by your input only but by the ones who work alongside you. Same with an investor. Even if you take a vacation you will come back with your business intact. Unlike employees or small business owners or self-employed workers, if you stop work you lose money.

Anyway, this post is getting quite long and I can go on. That last paragraph has been on my mind since reading the summary version of The Business School for People Who Like Helping People by Robert T. Kiyosaki.

I love learning and I completely advocate for continuous education. But I don’t believe the education system we have now set us up for the life that we want. You don’t even learn practical stuff like how to do taxes, how to save or invest your money. In the end, time and experience are your greatest teachers.

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Thank you for reading my rambling thoughts.


2 Replies to “3 Things I Wish I Knew Before Pursuing a Degree”

  1. Often, it is not just the subjects you are learning, but the skills to be able to function in a workplace – Organizing, time management, writing reports, doing research, etc.. Many employers look for any completed degree for that reason.
    Experience can trump education, but it may take longer to balance out, unless you know what you want to do and are planning to do it for the long haul. Apprenticeships work well because of this. Nowadays, people tend to switch jobs/careers more often than in the past.
    In the end, it is difficult to know what is the correct path because once we take one step it becomes a “what if?”, so yes, we have to be flexible, but most important, “Do what you love or love what you do. If you can’t do either, find something else that you love.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very great points Leon. You’re right, we do learn more than just the subject matter. The skills we develop can usually be transferred across to different fields. I think having internships or apprenticeships in the various areas of study would be great. That way we learn the theory as well as acquire practical knowledge about the field.
      I don’t think there is a correct path to take, just the one most suited to you and the life you want to create for yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

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