I Don’t Have a College Degree

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time.

Most of you who know me in person, know that I didn’t finish college.

And I will (probably) never finish it.

I went to Nursing school at NIACC. Dropped out.

I went to the University of Nebraska – Lincoln for one year, it was too expensive, so I chose to take classes at the nearest community college.

I went to Southeast Community College for one year. Finished general education classes, so I could transfer them and save some $$.

And then… I never went back. And you know what? This was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.

You might be reading this thinking, “WHAT?! How do you not care about getting your degree? Why didn’t you finish? That is not a smart idea.” OR you’re reading this thinking, “You know what? Good for you! That is perfectly fine.”

I have talked to people with both reactions.

And one of the other things about having a degree is this; Just because you graduated college with a degree doesn’t automatically guarantee you a job, or that you’ll be successful. You still have to work to find a job or something you love.

 

I CHOSE not to finish college. No one else chose for me and it was a hard decision to come to. But I chose it for 2 reasons.

1. I did not have enough motivation, drive, or money to finish a degree. And I sure as heck didn’t want to “just finish and get it over with” just to get myself into $40,000 of debt.

2. I was eventually going to marry Brendan, who might I remind you is in the Military and we have already moved 3 times in 3 years, and it made no sense with the timeline we had.

But before you think whatever you think let’s read the rest of the story first.

I could go into so many details of the feelings and emotions it took to make the decision to stop. However, you’d probably be reading until tomorrow if I did that. So, I will just tell you a few details and how it is affecting me today.

When I was going to school I was working on getting a degree in Hospitality, Restaurant, and Event Management. I had just finished a fundraiser and packing event for FMSC (Feed My Starving Children) and was feeling on top of the world. So when I decided to move to Nebraska and pursue this area of work I was ecstatic.

But things changed once I was $15k in the hole and realized I needed to have as little debt coming out of school as possible. That’s when I chose to try and finish what I could at SCC.

But then a year later, before I was even engaged, I chose to stop. I knew I was going to get married (sometime soon) and be moving away and couldn’t finish school in time.

It’s funny because even though I decided to stop, my brother was the one who pushed me to dig deep and think about what I really wanted. One night he flat out said, “Erin, what are you doing? You are not going to finish school in time. You don’t even like it. You aren’t motivated. It makes no sense, you need to figure out what you’re doing.” Hard conversation to have, but that’s what older brothers are for right?

Well I needed to hear it. Immediately, and I mean immediately, I sat down for 3 hours and went through my degree audit with as much detail as a crime scene investigator. I tried to figure out all of the options, how to pay for it, what internships I could do, what other credits I could transfer from SCC… and after figuring out what it was going to take I had to ask myself the big question.

“Do you even WANT to finish, Erin?”

…..No. I don’t.

It was 12:30 in the morning when I figured that out. I cried for a long time.

And then I called Brendan, at one o’clock in the morning, crying.

He felt and thought the same thing my brother did. On the phone, he knew exactly why I was calling. He listened to me cry for five minutes straight and finally just goes, “Erin, you just need to say it, just get it out.”

“Okay. I’m going to be done with school. I’m not going to finish.”

And then he goes, “Good. I’m going to bed. Talk to you tomorrow.”

Haha! I think about that conversation every once in a while and laugh.

But I remember the feeling after I said it so vividly. The biggest weight had just been taken off my shoulders and I felt so good.

Completely at peace with it and I never looked back.

Now, as far as today goes, well, its a little bit of a different story.

Since we just moved to California 6 weeks ago, I currently don’t have a job. The last 2 times we moved it took me a couple months to figure out what to do. Three years ago I was still adjusting to married life, military life, and probably a little depressed, so it took me a little bit to get off my feet. But once I started applying and looking for jobs, both times, I found employment within about a week.

Right now, that is unfortunately not the case. I am definitely feeling a little more discouraged than I have in a long time trying to find work. And from what a lot of military spouses have told me, it is very difficult to find a job in this area, whether you are qualified for it or not.

And the even harder part is, I don’t know WHAT I want to do. I have had many people ask me, but I don’t have an answer. The only thing I can tell you is it has to fit our lifestyle and I can’t work on the weekends. Oh, and I can only work for you for maybe 10 months…

Ugh. I will have to say that, besides getting started in a new area after you move, trying to find another job in a new area is the hardest thing to do after you move. It is a hot topic for military spouses because we do it ALL THE TIME.

And frankly, I feel a little underachieved at this moment in time. I thought to myself the other day, “Should I try and just get an Associates degree? Just to have something for my resume?”

…Right now I don’t think its the worst idea I have ever had. But I feel like I am just thinking that because I can’t find a job.

One thing I am VERY grateful for is a super, extra supportive husband. He is always reminding me that “Erin, you don’t need a degree to be successful.” He is right, but currently, it is hard to have the motivation to find some sort of work I will really enjoy.

Brendan, I know you’re reading this so let me just tell you now how appreciative I am of you and the way you support me. You are a wonderful husband. 🙂

Oh man, guys, I feel like I could spew out 7,000 more words on this. I am realizing now that not every season will be great. And this is a good, but slow learning season I am in. I think it will be harder in ways that will be good for me.

If you have a degree and are living your dream job out, good for you!

If you don’t have a degree and are still living your life, good for you!

Right now, I am more than happy to support my husband in any and every way he needs. I am more than willing to do all the cooking, cleaning, dog walking, church finding, mowing, making sure the bills are paid-ing, and all the other things to do to keep our lives going.

I am learning that I still have a purpose no matter what “title” I have.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please let me know.

Thanks for reading,

~Erin

2 thoughts on “I Don’t Have a College Degree

  1. Erin, I really enjoyed your post. You are completely right. No one, well I’m relating this to myself, I feel ever has their life figured out. There’s anyways something more to learn it than give yourself. I have a degree that I needed up not using. My husband works on call, so I can’t. It’s that basic. Our son and this house is what I do, and I love it. I just started to discover what it is I want to be as the new, mom me. On a side note, can you dog walk or dog sit? Totally a great idea! And you don’t need a degree!

    Like

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