• Eric Bowie

Do You Really Need Those Extra College Degrees?

College is a good thing. I’m not going to downplay the importance of a college degree. That would be hypocritical, especially since I have a Bachelor's Degree. However, I want to address this sort of over-does on education that I seem to see a lot, especially in the more highly educated circles nowadays.

I know a lot of educated people that get degree after degree after degree, yet see very little gains and increased opportunities from their loads and loads of education. All they see is massive amounts of student loan debt! That is the problem.

Be careful not to take on extra debt to get advanced college degrees that won’t pay off in the long run. When you go to college, your goal should be to get a return on your investment into education. College is too expensive nowadays to be going to college just to get some advanced learning. You can go on the internet and get that for free. If you want to know quantum physics just to learn quantum physics, go to YouTube.

You should focus your college education on a major, and a degree, in something that is economically viable and helps you pay your bills when you come out of college. You should get an advanced degree that will help you earn more money in your area of expertise. The key is to do this without the debt. This is crucial. I’m not saying don’t get advanced degrees, but I am saying get them with a perspective that they will add to the money you will earn, and not just some sort of empty promise of prestige that you think you will get with the added letters on the end of your name.

In other words, don’t over-educate yourself to the point of disappointment. Let me explain: Sometimes, very educated people have a tendency to want to lean on the notion that an advanced degree will somehow make them more palatable and acceptable in their career of choice, or in the corporate world. This is usually not the case. In fact, it can sometimes be a monumental disappointment when you ultimately come to the realization that your degree doesn’t propel you like you thought it would, or create the buffer from mistreatment or inequalities like you thought it would. It may do all of this for you, but there is also a likely chance that it won't.

Underappreciated people who feel a sense of marginalization, can have a tendency to self-medicate by over educating themselves! On a subconscious level, they sincerely believe that the more letters behind their name, the more professional and distinguished they will be perceived. And they do it at any costs. They begin to believe that the price to pay for the multiple advanced degrees or that doctorate degree, is insignificant and irrelevant in comparison to the letters behind their name that they hope will prove a level of "status" and "acceptability" while soothing their sense of marginalization. After all, you can no longer undervalue a person with so much education, or can you? And you can’t really discriminate against, or hold a well-deserved promotion from a person with an advanced degree, or can you? They can, and they will. I don't want to sound like a pessimist, but I do want to prepare you for the realities that await you following your hard work and large payments for your advanced degrees.

With the massive amounts of money being collected by these universities, the prices of these advanced degrees are not coming down anytime soon. So it’s up to us to be wise about the decisions we make when deciding on whether or not we really need that advanced degree.

Another very important thing to think about is this feeling of tying your self-worth to the level of education you are able to obtain. No one does this purposely, but it happens. Don't tie your self-esteem to your degrees and your level of education. Advanced degrees are good if they provide a return on the investment. If they don’t, then re-think it. You can’t educate yourself so much that people respect you. You can’t educate yourself so much that you won’t be discriminated against. You can’t educate yourself to acceptability. Those things come from within and are intrinsic. The most important thing is that you believe in yourself regardless of your level of education and don’t lean on letters behind your name for someone else’s acceptance.

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