Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Do you use your college degree?

I was driving the other day and thinking about all of the people I personally know who do not use their college degree. (Myself included, x 3.) I decided to post on Facebook and ask friends to chime in if they do not currently use their degree and what they do instead. There were over 100 comments of friends who don’t use their degrees, but have some REALLY cool & interesting gigs! All kinds of things- photographers, event planners, newborn sleep consultants, personal trainers, stay at home moms, and of course a few AdvoCare distributors. I loved reading what everyone does! Many of them are doing what they LOVE, and many of them are very successful in their endeavors.

I taught a “career exploration” class my final two years of teaching, and the standards of the curriculum pushed for a college bound pathway. I made sure to focus equally on technical school, vocational training, and especially entrepreneurship. I am definitely not against further education by any means (and am ALL FOR being a lifelong learner), but based on the response of that post & just thinking about all of the people I know, I think there’s a trend in society that needs to change. I know that everyone is not cut out for the same cookie cutter pathway that includes a 4 year (or maybe 5 year if you have a little too much fun) degree.

NO one should feel lesser than because they chose not to pursue a college education. It’s unfortunate too, because I feel like so many young adults just go that route because it seems like it’s what is expected of them. I mean, what else do you do?? (Heaven forbid them go straight into the workforce, or find a mentor in an area they’re passionate about, or start their own business, or go into ministry, or get married and start a family.)

Can you even imagine the MILLIONS of dollars spent on degrees and diplomas…the student loan debt still being paid on…for titles and positions people aren’t even serving in??  Shew! I bet everyone not using their degree would LOVE to have that money back, don’t you? (There was probably close to a million dollars for degrees just from the folks on that FB post of mine alone!)

I think about people like mine and Jonathan’s dads, who are both very successful business owners and entrepreneurs in the construction industry. Both of them probably started working in their family businesses to learn their trade before they were even ten years old. Neither went to college. Both were running their own businesses and supporting a family before the age of 25. And both have worked their tail off, yet still had the time freedom and financial freedom to provide extremely well for their families. Jonathan has also always had an entrepreneurial spirit, selling things on ebay, selling wheels and tires, helping his dad in his business, and eventually opening his own cabinet shop with a partner.

I think about the young ladies I taught in middle school and Sunday school. When I see them after graduation and ask what they want to do, I would say at least 8/10 of them have no idea or a couple of (totally unrelated) options they’re considering just because they seem like “good jobs.” I think about everyone I know (again, myself included) who changes majors. (Ladies especially seem to do this more often than guys.) Every once in a while I run into someone who knows exactly what they want to do & they are super passionate about it, but that is very rare. At least in my experience anyway. I wonder if some of them really just want to get married and have a family, but feel that is unacceptable so they just try to make themselves fit into some path that isn’t even truly their heart’s desire.

I think about all of the women I know who literally bawl their eyes out when they have to take their kids to daycare & desperately want to be home, but they feel like they have to work to help make ends meet(& especially to pay back their loans). Or the women who really just want to be a mom & wife, but feel like that’s “not good enough” so they pursue a career just because. Or the women who put off having babies to advance their career and education…or wait till finances are just right…and miss out on years of the blessings of babies. (Especially while you’re young & have lots of energy & bounce right back physically!) The Bible says “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” {And if you have kiddos, you know what a BLESSING they are!} Why in the world do we live in a society that tells us to “wait, wait, wait” when it comes to what God tells us are gifts and blessings? (I fell into the same trap. Here’s an old post I wrote about it called Attention Young Ladies: What I Wish Someone Had Told Me.)

I think about all of the young couples who enter into marriage with tons of student loan debt and begin life together already in a deficit. It’s hard to get ahead when you’re drowning in debt, and lots of times the strain of finances is one of the number one arguments in marriage. Actually, the last thing I read on the issue said it’s the #1 cause of divorce.

It’s not that I regret going to college.  I have great memories, met some lifetime friends, and it led me to the incredible man I get to call my husband. I learned lots of valuable life lessons and some independence I don’t think I would have gained if I had stayed home for those 4 years. (Now my Master’s and Specialist’s degrees…that’s a different story! Thankfully I didn’t have to take out loans for those, but I’d sure still like to have that $25,000 in our savings account!)

But, I do think we need to help our children think through some things before shipping them off to a 4 year school and hoping they figure it out. There are definitely some things we want to do differently with our boys than what I see is the general way of life for most kids now.

We want to… Encourage entrepreneurship. Teach them a trade and skill. Encourage LIFE education more than textbook education. (Things like tax planning, investing, multiple streams of income, residual income, tithing, giving generously, living beneath means, trusting the Lord to provide, being a good steward of what you’ve been given, going against the grain, beginning with the end in mind, having a vision for life and making choices that line up with that while working towards it, working hard as if working for the Lord, talking about time freedom and financial freedom, etc.)

And if we are ever blessed with girls, they will know that being a wife and mom is an incredibly high calling. It is enough, no matter what society says. In fact, I personally believe some of the greatest work you’ll ever do is in the walls of your own home.

I know that I am the most fulfilled I have ever been, in any of my jobs (pitching coach, assistant in hair salon, after school program leader, Jazzercise instructor, middle school teacher, yearbook advisor, camp counselor, daycare teacher, secretary, back-up photographer, babysitter, house cleaner)doing EXACTLY what I am doing right now. And there are no degrees required.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

Anyway, I just felt like that’s a message worth sharing.

Yes, we need some people to go to school. I am so grateful for the folks who make our world go round & use the knowledge and experience they gained in college. But, it’s not for everyone. And that’s okay. Personally, I think our young men need a little more “life training” and a little less schooling anyway. And our young ladies need to prayerfully consider if they want to be a “keeper at home” (Titus 2) someday and if it’s really worth investing years of time and money when you really know, deep down, (like I always did) that you want to marry your best friend and raise lots of babies.

21208619_10100734298831562_1196794403_n

SEEK the Lord & his will for your life. Trust Him to provide. In case you’ve been questioning it, hear me loud and clear. It’s okay to go against the grain…

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely LOVED this!

Megan said...

Such a great post Danielle! I totally agree on so many counts, but especially that the educational system sadly fails to prepare students for real life skills. It's sad that so much time is spent on things like ancient history and geometry formulas, but students aren't taught simple life skills like how to balance a checkbook or file taxes! Like you and Jonathan, I was fortunate that my parents taught me a lot about basic money management. However, I feel clueless about things like investing, entrepreneurship, passive income, and how to create multiple streams of income. You mentioned that you and Jonathan want to teach your kids these more advanced money management techniques. Would y'all consider doing a money management blog series to teach these concepts? I'm sure there's a lot of adults like me who've mastered the basics like saving and avoiding debt but would like to learn more about these concepts. Hope y'all will consider it! Thanks so much for writing honest posts like this one!

Megan said...

Such a great post Danielle! I totally agree on so many counts, but especially that the educational system sadly fails to prepare students for real life skills. It's sad that so much time is spent on things like ancient history and geometry formulas, but students aren't taught simple life skills like how to balance a checkbook or file taxes! Like you and Jonathan, I was fortunate that my parents taught me a lot about basic money management. However, I feel clueless about things like investing, entrepreneurship, passive income, and how to create multiple streams of income. You mentioned that you and Jonathan want to teach your kids these more advanced money management techniques. Would y'all consider doing a money management blog series to teach these concepts? I'm sure there's a lot of adults like me who've mastered the basics like saving and avoiding debt but would like to learn more about these concepts. Hope y'all will consider it! Thanks so much for writing honest posts like this one!

Anonymous said...

AMEN❤ Thank you for that, it was such a blessing to my heart! I a. A stay at home mom of two and I homeschool. It is the MOST rewarding thing I have EVER done; Personal trainer, office manager, daycare supervisor, Human Resources, any of it! God has been SO faithful in this journey of motherhood and He has had to open my eyes to see the truth that " the greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may be someone I raise!" We are shaping the world when we are raising these precious babies❤ I count myself SO BLESSED to live life with my babies and guide them in the truth and wisdom of the Lord in EVERY situation, as to prepare them for the day they that they do this all by themselves. I have been following your blog for 3 years now and I want to Thank you for your obedience to the Lord, it's such a blessing!