Like many in their late teens/early twenties, I started working my way through college with a part-time job…which quickly became a full-time job. As my job took over more of my life – leaving less time for school and studies in it’s wake – I became overwhelmed with the stress of trying to accomplish both work and school well. When time stepped in and finally played it’s heavy hand, forcing me to choose between the two commitments due to it’s constraints, I decided to stick with the job and dive head-long into my career. I liked the money I was earning, and a college degree no longer seemed as essential as it once had. I’d landed a good job at a great company, after all. Isn’t that really what a degree is all about?
Thanks to some hard work, a lucky break or two, and some more hard work, I was able to progress quickly in my company…until I ran head-long into a great promotion and a big problem: the position was contingent on having a college degree. I was luckily able to negotiate my way into the position none-the-less, but it came with delayed raises, smaller bonuses, and the requirement of returning to school part-time, after work hours, to finish my degree…and I only had six months to do so. Otherwise, I would be demoted and the position given to another. I was able to finally finish my degree, but the circumstances were not ideal; the stress level during those six months of trying to finish a year-and-a-half’s worth of classes while also working full-time, was no light thing – not to mention that, at this point, I was several years older than anybody else in my classes, making it somewhat difficult to relate to my fellow students.
So, was college right for me? Definitely. Did I do college right? Certainly not. I wished many times during those last six months that I’d stuck with my college courses to begin with, obtained my degree in a reasonable amount of time, and especially that I hadn’t bet on the fact I’d never need a college degree because in business, and in life, you never know what will come your way. If you’re not prepared, you could lose out on some great opportunities.