As of this writing, I’ve already had three attempts in separate occasions to complete a college degree.
At 37 years old, I’m now on my fourth one, and hopefully, this would be my last. So help me God.
I have finished a two-year course in 1998 with an Associate Degree in Computer Science. I took this course, which I was not really passionate about, because of three reasons:
a.) I was impressed by that college’s spokesperson who visited our high school campus for our career orientation seminar. I also thought that a classmate and high school friend would actually enroll in that same school. But he didn’t and he took a completely different course and enrolled in another school. #ColumbiaZoned (reference: Miss Universe 2015 announcement)
b.) Computer Science was in demand at the time (and even until now) and I bought in to their “marketing deception” that I can already work overseas even with just a two-year course in this field. Later on, I found out that it could only be a dream come true for the lucky few. #FalseAdvertisements (Side note: I have always wanted to take up Mass Communications when I was high school.)
c.) My late father and my aunt had an agreement that I, being the firstborn, would finish this two year course as quick as I can so I can help my four other siblings finish their college degrees. #TheStoryOfMyLife
All my three attempts to get a degree in the past more than two decades have failed because I had to stop studying and work to help provide for my family’s hand-to-mouth existence, or for an ailing family member.
Now, here I am again, pursuing a degree in Business Administration, Major in Marketing Management…
- After 17 long years have passed since I finished my first course
- After traveling in about 10 countries while working in a cruise ship
- After all of my four siblings now have their own families
- After both of my parents have passed on
Here I am, providing for my own college education through a full time work at night, while studying in the morning and doing events hosting mostly on weekends.
You might ask: why would I still go to college when I already have a full time job?
Here are some practical reasons why I am doing what I am doing now. (I am also writing this to inspire myself when I’m tempted to give up.)
1. Create more options
In the Philippines, if you don’t have a college degree you have limited options for decent employment. (But of course if you have capital, you can always start your own business.) Later on in life, when I’m about to retire (lord-willing), I also hope to teach at a university when I get (much) older.
2. Competitive edge
I have worked for some reputable companies and my experience tells me that employers often prefer to promote a person with a good college (or Master’s) degree education.
3. Career flexibility
When you don’t have a college degree, there would be times when you feel like you’re stuck in your job for fear that other employers might not hire you. Most job ads clearly state the need for this qualification.
4. Confidence and Competence
Not having a college degree may even cause insecurity for some. And when you have low self-esteem, it might even affect your competence at work, even your relationships.
5. Commitment and Concentration
Having to juggle work and studies at the same time, is of course stressful; but it strengthens my commitment and concentration to be laser-focused in achieving my life goals.
I don’t see my current life’s station as problematic. But I rather see every hurdle as a challenge I need to overcome to get to my desired destination options: a Master’s degree abroad or another work overseas.
7. Closer to my life’s calling
Two of my life goals include becoming a book author and a motivational speaker. In order to succeed in both arenas, I believe it requires some form of having quality education and field expertise.
These reasons may be contestable to some or irrational to others. But you have not walked in my shoes to experience the difficulties that I had to surpass in order to get to where I am today, while still being a work in progress.
What I have chosen is indeed a difficult path, it’s a road less traveled in a sense. But I’m not only doing this for my sake, but for the welfare of my own future family.
I don’t want my future children to go through the same sufferings as I have had, so I’m doing my part right now, no matter how difficult it is and no matter what the cost.
In my pursuit for lifelong learning and personal growth, I’m doing my fair share to be able to live a good legacy.
So help me God.