I've spent the better part of 7 years going through the academic hoops that our society has been built around. Why did it take so long? Well, I had to fail out first… then change my degree 3 times… and come up with the money on occasion… as well as hold as close to a full time position somewhere so I can pay my bills. Could I have done it faster? Yes, I could have not failed out after my first year. Would I change anything? No, not particularly. Was it worth it? That depends. That's the golden question. I'm 1 month after graduation and I'm still holding the 30hr a week, minimum wage job that I have had for the past year. I didn't get a golden crown and I still couldn't waltz into any company's place of business and declare myself as the best employee they could possibly hire because this piece of paper demands it.
No magic gate opened for me either. I should add that. I really wanted that magic gate to open.
But was it worth it? I sit here in my small apartment with my fat fuzzies (4 cats) and my fur baby (my dog) browsing every job posting site and picking through business directories for companies that I might want to work for every night. I'm not qualified for anything… it seems. Why? How? I have a 4 year degree! I did the hoops, I worked hard, I cried and sweated and became a miserable being for years! Why!? Well… that's because of this lovely inclusion that every employer feels the need to post: 3-5 years of experience. What the hell is that!?
I live in a dinky town in the middle of nowhere and got my degree at a great college but had to work the entire time I went. The local jobs available? Minimum wage jobs that are also great for high school graduates/dropouts. Anything else? No, the town is tiny, there's less than 12,000 residents, and most of them are retired! There are more churches and banks than businesses I could work at! How about an internship? That was completely out of the question. Without government assistance I couldn't afford to leave my apartment or job for more than a week… every few months.
So here I am, thrown into this awful job market and trying to figure out how to get myself off of my parent's monthly allowance because I'm too damn old to be doing this still and genuinely trying hard and doing everything everyone has asked. I'm still broke, I'm still me, and I'm still sitting on the same couch in the same apartment with the same hand built furniture.
Was it worth it? Hell yes it was worth it. "You can't put a price on knowledge." That quote comes to mind and I live by it. Why? Because I may be in the dump right now but I'm a stubborn mule and I will force myself into the world eventually and people will be SHOWN how much I can benefit them. I'd like to add something to that quote to make it a little more clear, the dash of cinnamon on your toast if you will: "It all depends on what you do with that knowledge."
What will I do? I have no choice. Keep emailing, keep inquiring, keep learning, and keep pushing. I made the choice to go to college and I stuck with it, for better or for worse. I stand by my decision and I will forever say yes, yes my hardships were worth it because even as hard as it had turned out to be, it prepared me mentally for what I am facing now. I learned how to take things one day at a time, I learned how to deal with difficult people and how to do a shit ton of work with little to no recognition. I learned how to meet deadlines and how to pull all nighters. I learned how to strive to the top of my class and to network with important individuals. Those are the things you learn in college, not the technical stuff. You have a piece of paper that says you can do all those things, not that you did the homework or learned anything from a textbook. Nobody cares about that. It's the social skills, it's the hardships. If college was easy for you, you did it wrong and you're probably thinking that your degree wasn't worth it… probably… either way, life sucks and it's hard but people do succeed and the only thing preventing anyone from getting farther than this point is thinking that the hard work will end one day and settling… complacency is a dangerous thing.
I'll get my bone one day. How do I know this? Because I'm going to take it!