To say that a college education/ degree is a waste of money if a financial profit is not made in return totally discounts the value of knowledge. Due to the rising cost of college and the poor job market out there, many of the traditional degrees may not financially return the money you put into it. But the advice to automatically skip secondary school, to me, would be a misstep. I went to four years of college, earned 3 bachelors degrees, and have yet to really put them to “proper use.” But I have never once regretted the choice to attend.
My life’s aspirations have always included being a stay at home mom, and that’s exactly what I have grown up to be. So, no, I have not quite made a financial return on my investment of thousands of dollars and four years of hard work, but to me, a return that is much more valuable. The priceless knowledge and experience that I had gained during that time. I learned how to critically think for myself. I “found myself” as far as leaning towards liberal feminist values. I earned a Sociology degree, which has taken a big part in shaping my outlook on life and opinions on key political issues like healthcare and education and inequalities in the world. The discussions that I’ve had over a round table earning my Women’s Studies degree have made me feel proud to define as feminist as opposed to being scared of the title. The History degree I hold gave way to my interest in the past, the books I love to devour and my ability to write and do research and further educate myself. I learned about living with people and working with others, about managing time and selecting what’s important in life. I learned to live in a foreign (to me) city essentially on my own.
I know that it’s not realistic and even frivolous to think that paying thousands and many times hundreds of thousands of dollars for “nothing tangible” isn’t very economical or realistic and maybe even silly in some people’s eyes. And I understand that is a privilege that is just not given to many. But to me, the value of my knowledge and education is worth every penny that I am still paying monthly and realistically may never recoup.
For those of you that have paid or are still paying and may never even stop paying for your education; what value to you place on your knowledge (careers aside)?