Not For or Against College…

A few days ago, I wrote a post entitled “To attend college or not? That is the question…” (found here). Later that day, a few friends e-mailed me accusing me of college-bashing and encouraging high school students to skip college and go straight for the money. They misunderstood my post…

I think college is a wonderful institution…for some. It wasn’t for me — an honor student from private school who went straight to college full-time right out of high school. In that one semester of college, I realized that then was not the time to pursue that goal. I only went to class on the days when I had an assignment to turn in or a test to take (yay for syllabi!) and I got all A’s and B’s in that semester. I even got an A on a 5-page research paper that I didn’t research or write until the day before it was due… Nothing was challenging me there and I need a challenge else I get bored and walk away. Just like I walked away from school…

For my 26 year old son, that wasn’t the route for him either. Geez — we weren’t even sure if we were going to get him out of high school! Not due to grades, due to laziness and not getting up to get to school before 11 a.m.!! We planned for college for him, saved and all. College just wasn’t his path either. He too is gainfully employed, working his way up the corporate ladder — he’s already a manager, and supporting his baby girl. And now, he’s in college taking classes online. Now is his time for college…

My post on the 18th is neither for or against college in general. It is against college for me and anyone else who college is not suited for. It is encouragement from a different point of view that you really don’t need a college degree to land a good, and good paying job. I love my job. I have a great employer. I have an excellent salary. I don’t have a college degree… I can also say that my employment experience throughout my life has been wonderful — all good jobs that paid decent salaries and afforded me the opportunity to climb the corporate ladder without a degree.

There are so many who have jumped on the bandwagon that shuttles people straight to the doors of higher education. They all tell you the same thing — without a college degree you will be relegated to sub-par employment, low salaries, and have no chance at management. I am one of the few who jumped off that bandwagon with proof that what they were preaching just wasn’t true. My take — college isn’t for everyone. Those that can, do. Those that can’t, do better. I am living proof and you will meet other real life people in Six Figures, No College Degree who too have done very well for themselves without a college degree, through traditional employment channels. No get rich quick schemes or illegal activities. Strictly by employing the strategies to be learned in the book.

Empowerment.

That is my goal. Not bashing. Not demonizing. No negativity. To empower those that look down the path of four long years of college and shudder. Those are the folks that most likely will either drop out of college anyway — discouraged, party all through college and take 6 years of their parents’ money to graduate rather than the requisite 4 years, or wander aimlessly through 4 years of school only to realize that the piece of paper they hold in their hands at graduation has nothing to do with their true passion. Then they proceed to pursue their passion, leaving behind all of the education they received pursuing that particular major.

Empower yourself with the knowledge of all of the choices you have before you. Don’t just listen to those that drone on like robots preaching the wonders of college degrees and the ills of not having one. Look at both sides of the scale and see which one tips in your favor. Then, take it by the reigns and run with it — no matter whether you choose the traditional college path or the non-traditional path to financial success.

To attend college or not? That is the question…

I am the mother of three wonderful boys ages 26, 9, and 7. Ah! So you noticed the teenie tiny gap between #1 and #2, huh? LOL! The joys of having a “built in babysitter”! The gap is there for a reason. It is when I changed my focus from being a wife and mother to building the career I desired. That’s also the same time I figured out hubby #1 was a deadbeat and we (my son and I) were better off without him…

My life wasn’t in such great shape. I had a husband I abhorred, a small child, and a $19,000 a year salary. I needed to leave my husband for many more reasons than him being a deadbeat, but those are stories for a different day. How was a soon-to-be single mother on a $19k salary going to make ends meet? Even back then it was an impossibility. And I would never be able to get far up the corporate ladder. I had no college degree and everybody says you need a degree to get a good paying salary. I couldn’t fathom staying with that man for the 3.5 additional years it was going to take for me to get my degree. He was physically and verbally abusive and strung out on drugs among other things. College was not the answer…

I had two choices — throw my hands up in the air and give up in despair, suffering through the miserable marriage I was in, or stand up and empower myself and do something about my situation. I chose door #2…

Armed with no college degree and a bucketful of determination, I climbed the corporate ladder from a $19,000 a year job as a clerk-typist to enjoy the six figure salary I earn today as working in information technology for a prestigious law firm and my entrepreneurial endeavors. Make no mistake — 98% of my income is solely from my 9 to 5 job at the law firm. I earn very little of my six figure salary outside of my day job. I have a rewarding career doing what I love for a company that respects its employees and treats us well. I have the proverbial “3 strikes” against me — black, female, and no college degree — yet I earn a salary from an employer that is less than $10k under $100,000. I am confident that within the next couple of years that my salary from my employer alone will exceed the $100,000 mark.

Not many months to a six figure salary from one sole source. Not bad for someone with no degree… And I still have 20 years before retirement. Still in the prime of my life and able to fully enjoy the benefits of making a great salary — travel, nice cars, entertainment, electronics — all the baubles that people purchase to make them happy and to enjoy “the good life”…

So why then do the powers that be exclaim that in order to enjoy such a salary a college degree is required? There are many self-made millionaires who didn’t have college degrees when they made their millions. Look at Madame CJ Walker. She made her millions by pure hard work and determination. Door to door. Without a college degree… It can be done and it can be done in a reasonable amount of time, while you are still able to enjoy it.

For me, the answer to the question of whether or not to get my college degree is answered. The answer? Not for the purposes of obtaining a great living financially through working. I am enjoying that success without my degree. Will I ever get a college degree? Maybe. It is one of my goals and maybe I will be able to add that to my list of accomplishments — after then entry for obtaining the “unobtainable” high dollar salary without a college degree…