Many people are realizing that as the pandemic subsides, people with a high school diploma or GED will be the hardest hit. You can still find plenty of jobs without a college degree in many industries. The cost of living is rising, and more people are realizing that they do not have to settle for unfulfilling jobs and inconsistent work schedules. People are realizing they have options in how and when they work.
Those of you who have been following Writing Elite know about my career journey from longterm unemployment to working in the retail industry to my current position here at Writing Elite. During that time I’ve learned that we all have the opportunity to learn and grow (even at 44). Learning moments that occur later in life may not be recognized as such, but that does not negate the value of them. The same applies to the workplace. During my time working in retail, I excelled in a number of areas in the grocery and dairy departments. It is not only about the physical labor required, but also about the soft skills of selling and customer service. My regular customers would come to me directly if they needed help tracking down a product, placing an order, or even just general information about the store. Even though I was willing to learn and grow into other roles, there were forces beyond my control that kept me there for one reason or another.
After I left retail, I decided I was too old to allow others to make decisions regarding my career progression. In the end, it was my project, even if I performed it for a company I worked for as an employee. It’s this very sentiment that so many workers in the US and abroad are making a priority over the supposed security that one would expect from a ‘9-5’ job. In 2015, a Tacoma Community College advisor told me the same thing I discovered during my time at my previous job, and during the pandemic. Despite the fact that working (as an entry level employee) isn’t a bad thing, it has its limitations. The person who wants to do work they are passionate about will need to make some sacrifices and invest in it. In other words, if you want to excel in a career you’re passionate about that isn’t wage slavery, you’re going to have to upgrade your education.
Parents reading this will probably say, “College isn’t for everyone.” or “College isn’t necessary to make good money.” Unfortunately, both are not entirely true, and are often misleading. Let’s look a little closer at both and you’ll see why.
Why attend College anyway?
If you already have a college degree, then you are aware of the benefits of your hard work. Along with an increase in overall income earning, seeking a college degree; whether you’re fresh out of high school or going back to finish that degree – college presents you with the ability to learn skills you probably wouldn’t learn in the work force right away. Depending on what you (or your children) major in you will also have the opportunity to work with that knowledge. Yes, you will have to do a lot of reading, but you will also be applying that knowledge in various ways with lab work. You’ll be able to see how well you master the material before heading off into the workforce. Along the way you’ll also be picking up other skills and interests that while not directly related to the field you’ll be working in will also aid you.
I’m currently majoring in Psychology, a field of study that has always held my interest and along the way I’ve picked up an interest in art, skills in rhetoric and have improved my writing. I’m also a member of My college’s Office of Student Engagement (OSE) where I support my fellow student leaders as the Titan Today and Challenger Editor and writer, helping to build a solid, diverse and inclusive college community. At 45 and after a host of jobs and positions I’ve held prior to furthering my education I can tell you that college will change the way you approach work regardless of the career or industry you’re in.
Whether you are thinking about pursuing a college education for the first time, returning after a ‘life-break’, or looking to change careers, there are benefits for it for everyone. Today’s colleges and universities are for the most part improving to accommodate a diverse student body.
Are you a college graduate or current student? We would love to hear you experiences and how your college or university experience has helped you both in you careers as well as life in the comments below!