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I don’t have a college degree.
It’s my dirty little secret in the professional world. While I don’t lie on my resume, co-workers typically assume that I have a college education behind me.
I have taken classes at a community college, but did not finish. To say the least, submitting my resume and taking job interviews was nerve-racking for many years because of this. At this point in my career, I have found that employers mostly care about my experience, not my education level.
Is a College Degree Necessary?
The necessity of a college degree these days is debatable. There are some fields where a degree should be required, such as teaching or the medical field. A degree may also be attractive if you want to shoot quickly up the corporate ladder , although even with a degree there is no guarantee. Others I know have wanted the accomplishment of earning their degree.
In recent years, the companies I have worked for have one thing in common. They have all asked for a bachelor’s or even master’s degree in job descriptions for jobs ranging from entry to mid-level. While that can be daunting to see when submitting your resume and cover letter, the jobs can still be attainable for someone without a degree. It takes more than a degree to be successful in the workplace. It takes drive, ambition, and curiosity.
Do you know many people who are actually using their degrees in the workplace? Many wind up on a career path that doesn’t relate to their education. Acquiring the necessary skills through self-study, mentorship, or training is just as valuable. Those required college math classes certainly wouldn’t help me these days!
While I strive for career and personal growth, a college degree is far from the only way to attain this. Work hard, pay attention, ask questions, and be open to learning and training opportunities.
It doesn’t matter if you flip burgers, bricks or houses. Just don’t sit on your ass all day flipping channels. Hustle.Denzel Washington
“I just got Lucky”
“I just got lucky,” I used to say when people seemed surprised with my lack of college education. Reflecting back on these interactions, I realize now how self-deprecating it is to say that luck got me where I am today. I didn’t just get lucky. I started low and worked hard, dealing with bouts of imposter syndrome in between. I’ve dealt with jobs that I’ve hated, I’ve made mistakes, but through it all, I’ve continued to learn and grow.
I’m proud of what I have accomplished in my career and writing for that matter. It sure as hell isn’t luck that got me here.
Did I Miss Out by not Attending College?
I hear a lot about the “college experience.” College is supposedly where people gain their independence and make lifelong friends. I know I’ve missed out on the social aspect, but I’ve made some great friends without it. To me, the experience alone isn’t worth the many years of debt.
I do believe that a degree can help you get your foot in the door when first starting out. I did get a lot of rejections, but then again, I’m also terrible at tooting my own horn and tend to play down accomplishments. Once I had some solid work experience behind me, interviews did get much easier.
Success is Subjective
Will I consider completing a degree in the future? I don’t have plans to, but I have considered taking some writing courses at the community college. I’ve also taken a non-credit photography class which I really enjoyed. Never say never – who knows what the future will bring?
I’m not rich, but I am comfortable. Without a college degree, I’ve made it to a position and salary where I’m able to pay the bills, save, and travel here and there. Not to mention, there is potential for growth. What I have may not be enough for some, but it’s enough for me.
I’m happy for my friends that have earned their degrees, but I’m also happy for the few I know who like me, have found success and happiness without one.