College degrees aren’t what they were

Commentary

When I was six years old my mother asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I said, “I want to go to college.” Since I could remember, the one major goal in my life was to graduate from college with a degree, something no one else in my family had ever done.

Well… I’m here now, and although I am enjoying my college life, I can’t help but think there is something different. Something isn’t here that I was expecting, even at the young age of six. When I was growing up, a bachelor’s degree seemed almost unobtainable.

It was something you got only if you were smart, you worked hard and you had money. It was cherished and greatly honored.

I used to think that people who had degrees were geniuses. Thirteen years later a degree is common, expected and often heavily required for most jobs. Everyone is able to go to college now, which is great. Don’t get me wrong.

I’m glad that everyday people are able to further their education.

If they weren’t able to, I wouldn’t be here.

But unfortunately a degree just isn’t what it was when I was six.

I would say that a bachelor’s degree now is equivalent to a high school diploma 30, maybe 50 years ago. Then, a high school diploma was expected, although there were a large  number of people who didn’t receive one.

A bachelor’s degree was outstanding, and a postgraduate degree was unconceivable for most people. Now, some form of college education is expected, and there really isn’t anything that is unobtainable anymore.

If I wanted to, tomorrow I could change my major to pre-med and become a doctor someday.

Anything is possible in the world of education; you just have to work a lot harder and go a lot farther than you would have years ago. It used to be that if a person had a college degree, regardless of the major, he or she would be a shoo-in for any job. That definitely isn’t the case now. Most jobs require degrees but also want specific majors with specific classes and specific internships.

Even more so, experience has become more important than the degree itself.

For example, years ago, if a person wanted to go into law enforcement, all they had to do was drive to the station. Now there are some places that won’t even consider you if you don’t have a four-year degree. The substantial rise of nontraditional students is significant proof that a college degree is beyond imperative. When most of them graduated from high school a college degree wasn’t necessary.

Now it is, and many decided to go to college because they were sick of living life paycheck to paycheck. It is too hard to find a decent job without higher education. What is even more upsetting is that college degrees have become jokes. If I really wanted to, I could pick up the phone and receive my education through the mail. How sacred is that? I just think it is really important to remember why we are here. I came to college because education is my number one value.

Knowledge is power, and my degree… well my degree is the most cherished asset I have.

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