At 25 and 8 months pregnant, I decided to finally go back to school at my husband’s “You always say ‘next semester’, you’re not this time” insistence. But it all was moving so quickly, I just took universally necessary courses until I could figure out what I wanted to do. I found out about Instructional Design, a fantastic career that seemed to play into my strengths, pay extremely well, and be in demand everywhere. I decided to go for a Liberal Arts degree to transfer in to the University with.
There was an unforeseen problem – I was used to working from home. I decided when my son was 6 months old that I’d go back to work, and after 2 days, I was miserable. I loved being able to get out of the house, get the work done, and go home to relax, but my son hurt himself while I was gone and couldn’t be there to comfort him, and things kept happening that I don’t want to give up control of. Not to mention having a boss tell me what to do.
You’re preaching to the choir, Jennifer. I’ve been working for myself for nearly 15 years now, and can’t imagine having to go back and work for a boss.
I’ve realized in the couple of months since that I don’t want Instructional Design. I want to be in business for myself, and want to finally start a business I’ve been working out in my head and know I could afford to start. If I kept going on my track, I would have a Liberal Arts degree 2 semesters from now. I could move forward after that and get a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Or, I could quit the Liberal Arts degree and start taking classes for an Associate’s in Business Administration.
I need the education on how to run a business as soon as possible. I plan to go to local entrepreneurial classes and such that the city and state do, but I don’t know anything about, well, the topics taught in these business classes.
I’m weighing the resume vs. the business of my own. If I am running my own business, what does it matter what degrees I have? Isn’t the education what’s important? Should I get a degree just because I’m close to it? – Jennifer
Everyone goes to college for their own reasons. Personally, I leaned more toward the “need a degree to get a job” side than the “I want the education” side. Not to mention that NOT going to college was never really an option when I was growing up. It wasn’t like my parents said, “You can either go to college, or you can do X.” College was just always what was going to happen with me.
There are plenty of reasons to finish school now. Despite having been in business for myself for so long, my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees sure are a nice security blanket to have, should I ever need them. I’m also a public speaker, so they both add legitimacy to my “pitch” – even though, in all honesty, the things I speak about are largely things I learned post-college and grad school. So yes, I’m glad that I finished school while I was in the thick of things.
Another reason to go ahead and finish school is this – I come from a military family, where my father and many of my friends’ fathers went into the military straight out of high school (thanks a lot, Vietnam War!). 20 years later, upon retiring from the military, lots of them went back to school to get that degree so they could start their second career (sadly, 20 years of serving your country doesn’t always hold as much weight with employers as 4 years of partying and sitting in a classroom – go figure). That, my friends, is not an easy thing to do. Imagine being out of school for twenty years and then one day realizing that you must go back and sit in that classroom again. Pile on top of that the fact that you have 2 or 3 kids, a mortgage, car payments, etc. It’s not a fun path to take. Admirable, sure…but not easy.
On the flip side, if you have a great business plan, a way to learn the basics of business and time is of the essence, you can always go back to school later if you need to (with the caveat of how hard it may be, as presented above). As you said, at this point in time, IF your business does well, it does not matter what degree you have.
So there you have it, Jennifer. I’m not gonna make that hard decision for you, but those are the angles I can lay out for you so that you can make a more informed decision. And I’m betting that some other readers here have some more insight as well.
What do you think – anyone out there been in Jennifer’s position? Should she just get it over with now, or dive into her business and save the time and money of finishing school?