The Paradox of A College Degree-5 Distinct Reasons Adults Returning to School May Reconsider
School is a huge blob of distraction…
I hate it.
If you make good money, or you’re an entrepreneur…
School becomes the biggest distraction in your life…ever.
Especially if you have already invested nearly a decade and/or 10,000 hours of study and practice into your field of expertise.
“Get an education, get good grades, get a job,” they say.
For us entrepreneurs, we mostly brush off that old-school logic.
However, I think part of us who always valued education, from time-to-time, have a pulling to go back and finish school.
1. Life Experience Trumps College
Back in 2006, all I could ever dream of was going to college and just killing it. Going on towards a professional career, making great money and travelling the world. Quite quickly, I realized that this was an illusion. I moved on to entrepreneurial pursuits, and quickly caught the bug for business.
I quickly learned the importance of networking, sales and just making a name for myself. From there, I fell in love with being self-empoyed and making my own money. I learned the way of the “hustle” and realized that if I was going to truly make it in life, I was going to have to work hard for it. It was no longer about the grades.
Now, keep in mind, I was a student growing up who was uber-focused on perfect grades and impressing teachers. Getting into the last two years of high school and into college, I began to catch onto the reality of how society really worked, and so I grew apart from the scholastic ways of perfect ACT and SAT scores.
Fast forward to 2016, I have traveled the USA and internationally, I have met thousands of amazing people, I have helped others succeed, and in the process I even wrote my own book, started several websites, and even did a podcast for awhile. Let me tell you….everything I learned in all the years of school pale in comparison to what I learned on the streets, hustling.
2. Free College Is Enticing….for the Institutions
Every single day, I see advertisements for grants, and going to college for free, this and that.
Don’t get me wrong, making school more accessible and free for many people out there is amazing, and makes our society a better place.
But what people forget is at the end of the year, you will receive a tax statement where you have to report scholarships/grants you receive, and…believe it or not, you will have some type of penalty there. Either you get less money back from the government, or you won’t be seeing much of a refund period.
As a businessman myself, I realize that refunds aren’t always a good thing. Either that means you didn’t make much the prior year, OR you didn’t properly account for business assets, investments, and expenses in order to come out on top. Either way, refunds just mean that the government took your money, invested it and made some good interest earnings on it, then returned you your principal back. Essentially, you don’t win.
So, if you get an offer to go to school for free, congratulations! But keep in mind, nothing in life is really ever free.
3. Once You’ve “Made It”, School Becomes More Attractive
What happens when you’ve already made it in life? You’ve built your career up, made multiple six-figures in your line of work, paid off all debts, and sitting in a beautiful home and have a paid off car in your garage?
Well, you can either think about:
√advancing further (if possible) in your career
√taking a Sabbatical
√going back to school to get more certifications or try a new field
√Just sit on your wealth and get lazy
Which would you do?
Most people nowadays go back to school, and go for a more advanced degree or try a completely new field.
It seems like the popular thing to do nowadays. However, more and more folks are going back to school, not in the traditional sense (very expensive nowadays), but instead, opting for shorter certification programs or fast-track localized programs in IT, Business, or even Computer Science.
Knowledge is power. Just don’t go broke going after it. And know when you really need it. Don’t use a degree as a scapegoat…or to ignore the realities of life.
4. Starting a Family Makes One Think of The Future
When most people start a family, they tend to immediately think “That’s it! My life is over.”
However, this is far from the truth. As a father of three beautiful children, and husband to an amazing wife, I know now that anything is possible.
Starting a family should make folks evermore responsible for their future, and the legacy that they leave behind for their children, and their children’s children.
There are plenty of options out there for parents looking to get back into the field of their choice:
√Internship programs (part-time or full-time)
√Adult programs (usually evening classes, part-time)
√Online colleges geared for busy adults (WGU is an amazing option for adults already in a field they like, and have busy lifestyles)
One of the best pieces of advice I can give is, be patient, do your research, and weigh all the pros and cons before jumping the gun on studying.
Make 100% sure that everything works to your lifestyle and you will avoid any regrets. Feeling much more confident in your decision will allow you to last longer in school and make it fit with your crazy lifestyle…and your family’s.
And please remember, with or without a degree, there are a million ways to make money without one. You just have to be willing to do what it takes to make it. Taking out tens of thousands of dollars for a degree that you might think will work out, is like going to the casino and dropping it all on red in roulette.
5. The Need to Have Something to “Fall Back On”, a Myth?
In the New Age, there is no such thing to “fall back on” a degree.
With the power of the internet, a smartphone in your pocket, and a laptop to work from anywhere in the world, commerce and earning a paycheck can happen instantly in any capacity.
Not everyone is an entrepreneur, and I get that.
Regardless, realizing the power of making money from thin air, proves that jobs are becoming less and less valuable nowadays.
A good friend of mine recently said it best: “Taking a ‘nice’ job with a nice ‘paycheck’ and attractive ‘benefits’ is what is called ‘the golden cufflinks’. It may look pretty, it may feel good, and it might even make you feel secure. But you’re still in handcuffs, whether you like it or not.
So what I am trying to say here is, as I mentioned before, giving up on life and saying to yourself, “Well, I guess I have to just go back to school. I’m worthless and can’t figure out life on my own, and need a paper to prove it and myself to society. Oh, and let me take out loans while I’m at it.” is not the solution.
Be smart in your approach, realize you have skills to offer to society, and don’t put it all on a degree. Balance it out, go part-time to school if you have to, but realize that you don’t have to fully sacrifice what can be created and realized in the present-day, right now.
Realize, that to “fall back” on a degree, is a myth.
Instead, go out there, create several forms of income, and fall back on that.