That’s me after my graduation ceremony in 2009. I graduated from Oral Roberts University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Management. Oh, what a glorious day it was. The day I had been looking forward to for the past four years. I remember being in class day dreaming about my graduation. What dance moves I was going to do to celebrate? What was I going to wear? After all I was making history by being the first to graduate from college on both sides of my family.
Now, almost five years and a ton of student loan payments later; I reflect on the value on the value of my degree. What impact has it had on my life? I often have conversations with people who wonder “Ray, are you ever going to use your degree?” Of course I love answering that question (not). I’ll try to answer that question and address education’s impact on my life later in the post. But I recently asked a few of my degree-holding, college educated, amazingly accomplished friends how they feel about education and its impact on their life. Here’s a condensed version of what they had to say:
Chelsea, said: “I was a literature major, I read three books a week. Because of the rigorous schedule, I learned to read quickly and comprehend the story easily. In class, I was always shy to participate in group discussion and I thought my input wasn’t necessary. I gradually felt more comfortable and started stating my opinions and ideas….I not only learned about genres and characters, but also a good deal about myself was discovered through studying the timeless pieces. I wouldn’t trade my undergrad experience for the world!”
Nicole shared: “I got my undergraduate degree in Vocal Performance….towards my last year in college I decided I didn’t really love opera…then the I got bit by the film bug. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t spent that time and money on my undergrad, but then again it prepared me for auditioning for film. Also, being in a community of talented performers (classmates) prepared me for competition.”
Mary, pictured above, gave me something to think about; “I honestly have mixed feelings about the worth of my undergraduate degree. I feel as if it’s an accomplishment, but nothing substantial. I now know that I will reap benefits from my degree by pursuing my aspirations. I will benefit from the knowledge, friendships and hardships. I think the degree does not do what we think it will do in the real world for some people.”
“So Ray, what’s your take on education? Are you ever going to use your degree?,” you ask. Well I, too, at times question the value of my degree. There are a few things I may have done differently in my undergrad, but for the most part I’m thankful for it. Like these ladies I choose to look at its impact on who I am today. While I don’t believe college is for everyone, I do believe it was for me. I believe I use my degree in everything I do. Who I am is a confident-educated person. It was a necessary foundation and an invaluable experience. I totally agree with Mary that in most cases our degree does not do what we think it will do in the real world. In end having the courage to do what makes you happy is most important. If you’re like me, you studied business management and all you want to do is see the world and experience new things on a regular basis. What ever it is that makes you happy; don’t let your education limit you. Let it be the foundation you stand upon.
Let me know! What’s your take on education? What impact has it had on you?