This article was originally published in The Odyssey Online. You can find it by clicking here!
You may find yourself down a path that you didn’t plan on years ago, and that’s totally fine!
One day while I was cleaning spit-up off the floor while simultaneously fixing one of my son’s broken toy trucks and holding the baby, I thought to myself, how did I end up here?! I was a career-driven teacher who worked hard to get my Bachelors in Education and Masters in Literacy, while planning a wedding and buying a house by age 24. Although I always wanted a big family and my husband and I had been together since high school, I had a deep passion for teaching and I was very devoted to my career. I never really thought about not working.
When my son was born almost 2 years ago I had a difficult decision to make. I tried returning to work part-time, but my son had a few health concerns and I found myself dreading work each day. I decided to take a leave from my position as a Reading Teacher to stay home with my baby. A few months after that, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter! Whether or not I was going to return to work the next year was a no-brainer for my husband and I. My paycheck would have gone directly toward paying for childcare, and although giving up my career for the time being was one of the hardest decisions I ever made, I have no regrets today.
When I think about my future and when I’ll go back to work, I honestly don’t know what the plan will be. People have asked me if I think my education was a waste, or if I regret getting my Masters and certifications because of all the student loans I have. The truth is, no I don’t.
I’m grateful for my education and degrees, even though I’m not using them at the moment.
In today’s ever-changing world, most of my friends are working in an industry that they don’t have a degree in. Three out of the five years I was in college, I was taking classes that had nothing to do with education; and this wasn’t a mistake. College is more than just a gateway to a career. The experiences that I had in most of my college classes have taught me life lessons that I will never forget. They’ve made me a better reader, writer, and speaker, and have given me confidence, life-long friends, and real-world knowledge that I use today, even though I’m not working.
You may hear people say that a college degree isn’t necessary, and that may be true for some people, but I would strongly recommend it. I even think about continuing on to get my PhD some days, despite the crazy looks I get when I tell people! When you graduate from high school and think about your future, you see endless possibilities ahead of you. College not only gives you a safe place to “find yourself,” but it also gives you exposure to some of the best classes you will ever take. All of the things that we do shape us into who we become, and I owe a lot of the person that I am to the things that I learned in my college classes.
So, if you decide to pursue a career in an unrelated field to your degree, or if you find yourself on a path that you didn’t plan on, don’t let other people influence you and don’t worry about “wasting” your degree. Do what makes you happy and what fulfills you, and if that means staying home and wiping baby butts for a few years to better yourself and your family, then by all means, own it.