You know, college is a peculiar thing. It’s, in my case, the best four years of my life, spent with the best friends, and relatively no worries or cares in the world (except maybe how to afford my wine habits). All throughout college it was my mission to miss as little classes as possible. Not because I was an overachiever, no way. Not even close. I just hate make-up work. I’d rather get it all done ASAP so I could go enjoy $1 beers on the patio of the Copper Penny with my girls at 2pm on a lovely Wednesday evening. But one thing stuck with me from almost all of my professors, besides the fact that they cared more about shoving their personal agendas down our throats rather than teaching the actual material, their view of the “real world” was so…bleak.
It made me never want to leave college or grow up in any way, shape, or form. I wanted to be the Peter Pan of Oklahoma State. They also made it very clear that our first jobs would likely suck and we would get paid like crap because “you just have to work your way up” and “no one starts out at the top”.
I am rolling my eyes so hard at all of them right now. I am not sure if professors get paid extra to instill fear into the feeble minds of their students, but here is what I learned in life after college:
1.) You will get the job you want if you really want it. You have to be willing to jump through hoops, but you can sure get the job you don’t “qualify” for because a lot of companies would rather have someone green and fresh who they can train specifically to their needs.
2.) You only get paid what you think you’re worth. When my boss asked me what my salary quote was, I had no problem shooting for the stars (realistically). I researched my job title, location and what the median salary was for someone my age in this position. Key word, research. And I even typed up my findings and showed him. He was impressed, and I make exactly what I asked for. Take that, “wage gap”.
3.) This one tastes like vinegar coming out of my mouth, but honestly, all a college degree does is certify you to make X amount of dollars an hour, drink too much beer, and spend the rest of your life paying off the loan that got you there in the first place. That’s right, you’ll pay your mortgage, pay your bills, buy your groceries, and then whatever is left goes to the man.
It’s not all bad though. A college degree holds a significant amount of value. Yes, you can get plenty of high paying jobs without a degree, but you can get a higher paying position faster with a degree. Contrary to popular belief, your professors aren’t always the brightest bulbs in the classroom either.
It’s actually crazy to say, but everything I learned that is worth knowing, I most definitely learned after college.
If I could go back and write each paper over again, take each test, or do over every presentation, I know I would make all A’s this time around. Not because I’ve been thumping textbooks since then, it’s because I have experience now. I don’t care what any college professor with a Ph.D. in astrophysical trigonometrical biochemical engineering tells you, experience speaks where words cannot.
All those papers and tests are doing for you is teaching you how to obey the rules and follow instructions. Sorry, but it needed to be said. And don’t get me wrong, anyone who ever wants to become a functioning member of society needs to learn the basic concept of following the rules, it’s just that some of us will pay $50,000 for that lesson and others won’t. Yet, both will likely go on to succeed in the way they were meant to succeed.