I Paid Thousands of Dollars for a Life LessonPosted: May 9, 2011
Next Sunday will mark the one year anniversary of my college graduation. Almost a year ago I put on my cap and gown, proudly displayed my star that showed that I graduated “With Distinction,” and received my diploma. And now I question with a tinge of bitterness, what for? My current job does not require a bachelor’s degree, nor does it seem likely that I will find a job that requires a degree as long as T. is in the seminary . Sure, my resume has an impressive education section that probably helped me gain my position but I have yet to use any information that I learned in the classroom (information I went 20,000 dollars into debt to receive). To do my actual work, I pull on my experiences from volunteer work, summer jobs, and an internship.
Now I realize what many people my age are doing to make their education worthwhile: they continue it. They go onto graduate school and receive higher credentials in order to find a better paying job. Could I do this? Sure. Would that be responsible? Probably not. My husband is already accumulating thousands more dollars of debt in order to study at the seminary and throwing in more student loans for me to go back to school would only deepen our debt. Likewise, looking at the prospect of moving three times in the next four years makes completing any program difficult. And to add the final nail in closing my education box, I know I want to have a family someday and I know that I want to stay home with my potential children. I’m already looking at 10 years of payments for my first round of schooling and I know that most likely I would add 10 more years of payments for graduate school. I don’t really want to wait 10 years to start a family, much less 20.
So the lesson I paid thousands of dollars to receive is this: choice and sacrifice. I am working while my husband goes to school, this is my choice but also my sacrifice. I want a family, this is my choice but also my sacrifice. I chose to get married right out of college, I chose to put family before work. Because of this, I sacrifice the chance to make my education worthwhile and sacrifice the chance to have a lifelong career. It’s a pricey lesson but I think I will be a better person for it.