My College Degrees Were Worth It, Even Though I’m Not Using Them


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.

14 thoughts on “My College Degrees Were Worth It, Even Though I’m Not Using Them

  1. Stephenie -Blended Life Happy Wife says:

    This is a great positive spin on what some people see as a bad thing. So many people aren’t doing what they went to school for.

  2. Alex says:

    Oh I love this! Thank you for writing it! I finished my bachelor’s degree the week after my daughter was born. I had already been working as an Associate degree RN in a hospital but have yet to work a day with my new degree. I too have no idea when I would return to nursing because we are also discussing homeschooling our kids. Sometimes it bothers me that I am slowly forgetting my skills, but I am so thankful to be home with my children. There is nothing I would like more!

    • betterwithbabies_mgqdg8 says:

      I also feel like some days I’m not keeping up with current education practices etc. but then I look around and I’m so thankful to be home!

  3. Tricia says:

    I’m not using my degrees right now either, as I’m a stay-at-home mom. I used my law degree for awhile, but never used my undergrad degree since I went straight to law school after undergrad. There’s nothing wrong with taking a different path!

    • betterwithbabies_mgqdg8 says:

      I completely agree! I know I’ll use mine again someday and I feel that the most important job I have now is being a mom.

  4. Ayana says:

    This is great! I always wonder how people feel who went to school for so long and don’t or can’t end up using their degrees. Thank you for the perspective!

  5. Emily says:

    I am currently in grad school in a field unrelated to my current job. I hope to use the degree in the future but as of now I am enjoying learning!

  6. Jasmine Hewitt says:

    This is so true-many end up never using the degrees they spent so much time and money on. If you’re taking a pause to focus on family, it’s a wonderful thing, and your education will never go away

  7. katie says:

    “I’m grateful for my education and degrees, even though I’m not using them at the moment.”

    Best line ever! As someone who is currently staying home with my babies, I have spent many hours pondering the point of my education.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • betterwithbabies says:

      Thank you! It’s a tough choice, but ultimately I believe staying home is the best for us right now 🙂

  8. Elizabeth Brico says:

    You’re not alone: I too occasionally consider going for my PhD. I love the academic environment. And wouldn’t it be great to be paid to study what you love?? (I’d be paid to WRITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Sometimes I do sort of regret my MFA though; a lot of debt, and I’m on food stamps. BUT if I hadn’t moved to Boulder to go to school, I wouldn’t have met my husband, and now my chicas lindas wouldn’t exist. So, maybe the degree itself is up for debate, but going for the degree isn’t 🙂

    Great article. Nice clean read! Thanks for posting.

    • betterwithbabies_mgqdg8 says:

      I know how you feel about the debt! I wish I could just erase it. I love learning too, I guess that’s why I became a teacher 😉

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