December 13, 2011

The Scholar...

As many of you know, I didn't finish college.  I took classes for four years, changed my major seven times, received research and writing grants, transferred universities, and eventually figured out that spending two more years working towards something that I simply liked as opposed to died for would just be tragic.  There was also a lot of family troubles going on, which I won't get into, because my mother will shoot me through the telephone.

Fast forward a year and a half and I still feel the same way about school.  I will never go back full-time - EVER.  BUT, I am going to finish.  Perhaps sooner than later.  Perhaps very soon.  Perhaps as soon as March.

Why?  Why am I going to add to my huge pile of student loans (who keep calling me, by the way - WHO GAVE THE STUDENT LOANS MY PHONE NUMBER?  And how do I file a harassment suit against them?)?  Here are a few reasons I'm going back:

  • Degrees actually "matter".  I've put "matter" in quotation marks because the functionality of a degree in the workplace is relative.  This is how it goes: Okay, so you're a small publication house that needs a temp to perm administrative assistant for a large data entry project, covering phones, and calendar management.  Awesome!  I was an office assistant at my university and worked at a data company part-time!  I've done it all!  Hire me!  Oh, no, I didn't finish college, but I have a good work ethic and relevant experience - I'm a very good fit for this job.  So you're going to hire a recent grad with absolutely no work experience to play with Excel and answer phones just because they have a degree?  Amazeballs!  The moral of this story is that the degree itself doesn't matter at all, the having of the degree is what matters.
  • I can't bring myself not to.  I love learning.  I just do.  And while you don't need to go to college to learn (in fact, I honestly believe you can learn a lot more by traveling and learning things first hand), there are a lot of opportunities in certain fields (such as writing, which I'm shooting for) that are more easily or exclusively accessed through universities or having a degree.
  • I refuse to have all that debt with nothing to show for it, god dammit.
Do I think getting a degree in journalism and creative writing will make be a better or more valid writer?  Besides a better understanding of grammar, no.  Do I think I might be able to land an freakin' sweet internship at an amazing magazine that will lead to a prosperous career as the next Cathy Horyn?  It fucking better.

6 comments:

  1. I must tell you that although I do believe a lot of degrees are just bogus, I do love to learn and degrees are helpful. Aside from that, I am a Journalism/ Creative Writing major and sometimes I don't learn anything but a lot of the times I do. And it is not only about the tests and the papers, most professors are people who were once in or are in the profession and they get it. They know what to expect and they know how to give you advice... not to mention connections. Also, sitting in writing classes teaches you a lot about yourself that you can't learn on your own, that you need people to guide you through and other students sitting next to you.

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  2. exploit that degree for all of the meaty internships, travel abroad opportunities, and hotty intelligent students for all it's worth! you go girl! and will i see you at my party this friday? i fucking hope so!

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  3. Thanks Penny, that was actually really helpful. You pointed out some things that I forgot about since leaving school. <3

    And Aims, the verdict is not yet in. But you'll be the first to know!

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  4. Dear Jason,

    I got a Journalism degree and am currently taking peoples money and giving them sandwiches (at Panera Bread.) I am still trying to decide if this is because of a lack of ambition on my part, but something about the pitying look people give me when I mention journalism was my major lets me know it probably wasn't.

    (To be fair, I'm also interning at Duke, and hopefully I'll get a decent job out of it in May, and ACTUALLY there's a really awesome nonprofit in Brooklyn I want to work for so if I end up in the city I'll def let you know.)

    --Whitney Baker

    (also P.S. I totally stumbled on your blog while poking around on facebook.)

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  5. Oh -- but to echo the first comment -- the greatest thing I got out of college was the networking. I got to meet and work with some AMAZING people and they are still emailing me with opportunities and to see how things are going.

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  6. So I stumbled upon your blog, I can't remember how or why, but I'm happy I did. Anyway--back to the subject at hand. I went to college and earned a degree in broadcast journalism with a concentration in sociology--it was really the best thing I could do because, as Penny said, all of my professors had previously worked in TV. Some were anchors, others were news directors, all were experienced...so the amount of information that I could learn from them was nothing short of everything I needed to know because it gave me a better vision of what my life had in store (you know, a full salary of $20,000 in a small town with no hope to have a real love life--but I mean, I'm totally fine with that) that being said, the best thing that I did there was a study abroad trip that only lasted a month to Ireland and England which was perfect because I landed an internship so I could come back to the states and get straight to work.

    The networking you get at school is crucial, I don't have the reporting career that I want, but I am working in television and I have friends, former classmates and people I'm competing with, looking out for me should anything in their parts open up.

    ALSO--man this comment is long--the creative writing could be incredibly helpful especially since you want to write a book. Nothing is better than having your own work torn apart by people who love writing as much as you do--and I only say that because I have an associate who is in a MFA program for Creative Writing.

    Good luck with everrrrrything you do, can't wait to stalk your blog some more. :)

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