I find this hard to believe. I’ve never graduated from college, I barely made it out of high school. I did some two year college in the 80’s, learned a little coding. After an 8 year government contract, followed by 3 years cowboyin’, I got hired by Intel pushing parts into a tester at night. I showed an aptitude for automating tests and reducing data sets. I just retired after 21 years at the end pulling down $80k + bonuses, stock, & benefits. If I’d had a degree, it likely would have been closer to $200k. I worked with chemical engineers who ended up doing electronic work pulling down that ~$200k.
I see way too many chemistry jobs on craigslist (I still look) to think you can’t do better than $52k in a big city. You probably won’t ever do exactly what you imagined in college, at least to start. I thought I’d spend my life in a quiet bucolic TV repair shop. The trouble with that was about the time I started college, we stopped repairing TVs. I quit college and worked repairing simulators in the 80s. I ended up validating CPU internal clocks in 16, and a lot of other things in between. I did take night classes almost continually between the 80s and still do today.
So now I’m working plan B . . . and scheming plans C, D, E, etc.