I was talking with a friend at work yesterday when I realized that my college education wasn’t exactly necessary for my job. While there were certainly benefits (for example, I can write coherently), I feel as if much of my college education and the learning that went into my diploma and development is being wasted on mindless emails and mindless tasks.

I started wondering – how much of my college education is withering away at the back of my brain? Why doesn’t my job (which would only consider people with a BA or BS) use more of the critical thinking and skills I learned back on campus? How… necessary… is a college education for many jobs out there? Even upper level jobs – if you’ve been at a job long enough, surely you’re learning the skills to keep moving up, just as you graduate to the next level each year in high school and even college and begin taking higher level classes.

What do you guys think? Are college educations going to waste sometimes? How often? If we don’t use the critical thinking and skill sets we learn all the time, how necessary is college in the first place?

Don’t get me wrong – I am a full supporter of higher education and I think everyone should have the opportunity to go to college/university. Instead of thinking that just because most jobs don’t use that education, people shouldn’t bother with it, I actually think the reverse. Our jobs should use it somehow. How do we work through this catch that they don’t? Is the bachelor degree becoming less valuable as more and more people have it? Should it be cheaper because of that?

I want to hear your thoughts. I want to hear your college and “after graduation” stories. Sometime I’ll share mine as well – but for now, let me hear it!


5 thoughts on “College.

  1. I’ve never been to college and at this late stage in my life I think it’s a fair bet I never will. I’ve had lots of different jobs but never any careers (save for this writing gig I’m constantly working on). Along my journey I’ve been a Wind Farm Crew Chief, a Machinist Mate in the engineering division aboard a nuclear submarine, a commercial submarine pilot, and much more. I’ve met people with college educations that couldn’t find their butt with a handfull of fish hooks and I’ve seen people with no college who are smart as a whip.

    Right now I’m working at an organization that believes its own press and recruits hard for college degrees, doctorates, you name it. I’d have to say that fully 50% of these ‘degreed’ individuals confuse education with intelligence. But they’ve got the sheepskin on the wall and they’re getting paid the big bucks so why should they have to consider ideas from anyone not equal to, or above them in the food chain?

    If your current job doesn’t challenge you, commit to voting with your feet if neccessary and then try to change things. Just remember the old Japanese saying, “The protruding nail is hammered down.”

    On the other hand, If you don’t ask, the answers always no.

    Good luck,


  2. I have a college degree; my roommate does not. My roommate currently makes twice as much (if not more!) than I do. It’s the complete reverse of how it should be, but that might be a little bit of my fault for not really getting an immediately useful degree. I could easily be doing the job I hold now without that pesky degree that’s sucking up all my hard-earned funds with student loans.

    But I wouldn’t have traded the experience for anything. My degree is a B.A. in History and Creative Writing, and the only thing I really want to do with my life is writing. And so college gave me the tools and the introspective and the love for research that fuels my work now, while my crappy job gives me enough free time to put those tools to use while still paying the bills….or attempting to, anyway. Not to mention the great experience and all the people I’ve met and perspectives on different things that a place like a university can really offer. And I love learning; I want to always be learning, so I’ve even considered picking up a few community college classes here and there, just to learn a little something new.

    One day, I might go back to grad school, but it’s a long way in the future and that puts school into a different perspective, since I will basically be harvesting the self-feeding academia monster.

    But basically it boils down to the fact that, if I can write, I’m happy. My “career” might not look impressive to some, especially considering the degree, but I’m getting to do what I love.

  3. Having a degree in Business Communication and working as a Secretary, I don’t utilise the skills I’ve learnt from that to full capacity. But what is a ‘waste’ for my day job helps me at night with my novel-writing tremendously, so I won’t say getting my degree was a complete waste.

  4. I dropped out of the safe degree to take a course in journalism. Career wise, writing didn’t get me far, so I ended up curving back to the first degree. Now I find that I’ve curved too much and spend all my spare time dedicated to getting back to writing again.
    Will see if it pays off!

  5. I’d think my college degree is definitely more useful to my hobbies, but hopefully someday my hobbies will turn into my career. So Maria, I agree with you. DM, I think your story proves that college is not ALWAYS necessary and some experiences are even more diverse and just as valuable (if not more, in some cases) as a college education. Thanks, all, for your input!

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