The Washington Post recently published an article that discussed how not all college majors are created equal. I couldn’t agree more.
I started attending a local junior college during my senior year of high school. Call it one of the perks of being homeschooled. I remember:
- Enjoying the classroom setting
- Being overwhelmed by professors and their gospel-like profession of political and personal beliefs
- Not knowing why I was going other than wanting to earn a degree in something
When I finally graduated from high school, at some point, I was told that I could continue to live at my parents house if I continued going to work and go to school. This sounded good to me, so I continually signed up for general education classes. Slowly I worked towards a specific associates degree that I can’t even remember today. This cycle of junior college continued for years.
During my junior college days, one of my best friends went off to college. I remember feeling an extreme amount of jealousy. He wouldn’t call or talk to me during the school year and yet would expect our friendship to be exactly where he’d left it when he came back for breaks. At the same time he seemed different, my friend was changing. Growing up, one could say. I knew then that I didn’t want to be a part of the hometown scene that seemingly never changes. I wanted to get out, to leave everything I had ever known and begin an epic adventure. If college was my ticket out, I was going to embrace it with my all. There was a problem though, I had no clue how to finance it.
Fast forward a few years, I remember a night sitting around the kitchen table with my parents. I had just applied and had been accepted to Azusa Pacific University. A private Christian school that was going to cost me $40,000.00 a year. Magical money that neither I nor my parents had. I was depressed. Earlier that day, my Mom and I had drove up to the school and had moved some stuff into my new apartment near the school. After talking to my parents that night, I knew that I couldn’t afford my ticket to freedom. I was stuck with no new adventure in sight.
Six months to a year later, through the grace of God, I found myself driving east towards Texas. Through random circumstances, I had read about a private Christian school in East Texas and decided to apply. I was quickly accepted. I was finally moving forward with life.
Back to The Washington Post article. It did not dawn on me, until after graduation, that not all degrees are created equal. I quickly realized that I had failed to do my homework on what was to happen after college. I didn’t know what I was going to do or how to pay for the loans that were pending repayment.
It would be easy to blame LeTourneau University now, for their lack of honest financial counseling and apparent glee in accepting my “money”. I feel that while the school gave me a fantastic education, they never helped me step back and look at the bigger picture. How were all the student loans I had taken out going to impact me? Was there even a career path for someone with my degree? The importance of internships was never communicated, and I wish it had been.
College, ultimately, was a path and a decision that I made. Even with staggering loans, I did grow up, escape my hometown, create lasting friendships, and even find the love of my life. All of those things are priceless. I understand now that I was naive in just wanting a degree, a piece of paper to hang on the wall. I realize now that while not all degrees are equal, what you end up doing with the degree as your foundation is what matters.