Is A Degree Worth Your Sanity?
What do you reckon?
Do you think a degree is worth it?
We all know that education is an important part of life. In a country where I am fortunate enough to receive a free education, I would like to think that I would take full advantage of that opportunity.
However, I recently made the decision to complete my education at a HND level rather than progress to the Degree course. (For those who don't know, a HND is basically half of a Degree) In all honesty, I feel that this is the best option for me, particularly in the current financial situation.
I tend to get super stressed when it comes to educational deadlines. I feel I must specify, because work doesn't stress me at all, but the concept of failing to achieve my qualification TERRIFIES me to the point i overly stress. Therefore, I found it difficult to finish even the HND with my sanity intact!
I was totally set on going back straight after the HND, but my stress levels were a factor, and I was advised that it would be unwise to pursue it, as the workload would be 6 times as much as I was already getting! As I also worked, it would have been almost impossible. At the time, I was upset that I wouldn't go on to graduate and wear that funny black robe... But, the more I have thought about it, the more I have realised that it was probably for the best.
Don't get me wrong, I did worry that I had ruined my life. After all, we are encouraged at school to pursue education as far as possible, that you won't get a good job unless you are super qualified, and in some cases that's true. This was a worry to me until I was recently in the local shopping arcade, and I saw 2 of last years graduates from the previous year working as cashiers. Is that the good job that my teachers spoke to us about? I think not!
It made me realise that even though I was in the same job as I was before I got my qualification, at least I am in a position where I can progress within my role. I can build a career with my current employer.
I have also realised that in today's market, you won't get a job without experience. For example, if I had 6 months experience in Graphic Design (as well as my HND) I would be more likely to land a job than a graduate who had no experience, even though, on paper, they are better suited. I have found this to be true of most job opportunities that are out there. It is a sad fact that half of UK graduates fail to find a job within 3 months of leaving University, but it is also proof that perhaps there should be more emphasis of work experience built into these courses.
It is these realisations that have led me to question the worth of a Degree.
Is it just a piece of paper?
Difficult to achieve, no doubt, but still a piece of paper to represent 4 years of your life...
I have worked alongside graduates in many job roles, even before the recession. I once even worked alongside a Doctor. An actual doctor! In the same position and rate of pay as me!
For the most part, these people were completely down to earth. But, there are the minority who are so arrogantly superior that they simply can't accept their current position, which leads them to perform poorly at it. They think that the fact that they have their magic piece of paper makes them a better employee, without considering their standard of work.
Unfortunately, there will always be people who are surplus to requirements within their field, and will have to accept a position that they are overqualified for. How they approach that role shows a lot about their personality, and if they react negatively, then I'm sure you can see why they may be surplus to requirements.
Unfortunately, at the moment, the surplus continues to grow because many individuals turn to Education in an effort to improve their chances of finding work. They choose subjects that are marketed to the masses as being easily achievable, no matter how they done academically at school. This in turn means that there are a lot of graduates for a particular subject, and only so many actual jobs.
There are also people who want to break free of the benefits system, and student finance provides a platform for that- personally, I was richer as a student than a full time worker! As a result of this surge, Colleges and Universities are filled up well in advance of the academic year because there is such a huge demand.
But, at the end of the academic year, the reality is that most of these people will return to the benefit system. Even if not, they will be unlikely to be employed within their chosen vocation. After all, there can only be so many hairdressers, personal trainers or care workers at any one time!
Of course, you can always go down the route of starting your own business, but that carries all sorts of risks, and I'm simply not brave enough for that!
Obviously, there are success stories out there, and I wouldn't want to dissuade you from following your dreams, but as it stands at the moment, I am happy to have realised that for me, a Degree just isn't worth the hassle!
© 2013 Lynsey Hart