Does hard work always pay off?

During our readings, one certain sentence hit home. Charles Murray stated, “a bachelor’s degree in a field such as sociology, psychology, economics, history or literature certifies nothing,” and I’m starting to believe he may be right. One year from now, I will possess a diploma certifying my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Lately, I’ve been thinking of what I would do during a potential gap year before continuing my education, and I have come to the realization that my specific degree probably won’t get me too far in the work force. I will be “over-qualified” for a substantial amount of jobs available, including the one I currently hold, which is definitely nice to say and is accompanied with an accomplished feeling. However, I will also be under-qualified to begin a career that will specifically utilize and reflect four years packed with intensive pre-health science courses and various psychology credits.

Many employers who use a college degree simply as a “screening device” should reconsider hiring requirements and the pressure to obtain a college degree in order to be successful should not be imposed on every young adult. Sufficient training and a strong interest in a certain line of work can compensate for a college diploma as a hiring requirement, especially in the technology field. If our society took a different approach on college degrees, it would save many people a lot of time and money and like my case – feeling stuck with a non-applicable degree.

I have always known that college is not for everyone and have seen many individuals build successful lives without obtaining a degree. However, the idea of having a degree “certify nothing” is a newer, more puzzling concept I’m still trying to grasp. Maybe fewer people than we thought actually need to go to college.



26 thoughts on “Does hard work always pay off?

  1. Hi! First of all i like that you started with a quote and based your college major and the success it should bring you to the quote. The importance of going to college and the strain it puts on the youth today. Specially if it is uncertain that it will pay of. A question that i think dawns on everyone here. Is it really worth it? And the fear it may bring your never actually utilize your degree at the level you once hoped. But i do have a few concerns… what do you mean by, “If our society took a different approach on college degrees” What kind of approach do you wish it would take? Also i liked that your ending gave a view of people who can become successful without a degree, i just wished you would have given an example thats relative your your argument. Great Job, your post seemed sincere and had a great view of your dilemma 🙂

    • I meant that society might not have to emphasize having a college degree as a requirement for certain jobs; instead, specialized training and a strong interest could be valid requirements.

      Thank you for your comment!

  2. Umza,
    I have to agree with you that a college degree is not a requirment for a successful, fruitful life.
    However, I would not equate a degree to nothing. Degrees provide information, opportunities, showcase hard work and ethicks within an individual.
    I see a degree as a diving board, not a final destination

  3. It’s true that certain degrees will eventually add up to nothing. However, that doens’t mean you shouldn’t go to college. A lot of my friends are also studying psychology because to them it’s one of the more easy degrees, but such a degree only takes you so far. College isn’t for everyone, but if you’re determined to work hard and take those harder classes then the hardwork really does pay off in the end.

    • Steven, I definitely agree that some degrees can lead to more financially successful futures straight out of undergrad. However, I would not say a psychology degree is “easy,” but it definitely doesn’t impose challenges similar to a chemistry or biology one. For me, I see a bachelor’s in psychology as a stepping stone to prepare me for higher level degrees.

  4. I absolutely agree with you. What is the point of going to school if it does not guaranty a job or a good future? I changed my major multiple times because I was told that it would not make me any money. So I know what it feels like wondering what’s next. I think to myself all the time, what if I just stayed home and worked and try to start my own business and used the money I was going to use for college to help fund My very own Promotion company. There is not a day goes by when I don’t think of that dream, but I spend my time going to class hoping that my degree will get me a good job so I will be able to live comfortable the rest of my life. I thought this was a great post and I really understand where you are coming from.

  5. The idea and statements made are agreeable, especially when you brought up the pre-health courses. Many people go into the natural science and other fields, in order to go into the medical field, or in other fields. There were no examples to justify that the bachelor’s degree in psychology helped you become over-qualified for the job. Although, when working in the technology field, some companies would like people that are experienced and have a higher degree than others. Plus, the outcome is greater if you receive a much higher degree, such as a master’s or a PhD, than merely earning a bachelor’s degree. Since the job market is very competitive, every person is under pressure to find jobs and to make a living. Pressure should be imposed on people, in order to make people grow and become aware of the competitive world.

    • You’re right. I should have included examples. By being “over-qualified” with a bachelor’s degree, I was referring to jobs that just require a high school diploma to obtain…for example, my current job as a pharmacy technician.
      Thank you for your response!

  6. I agree with you with the fact that college is not meant for everyone. If we look at people like Mark Zuckerburg or Bill Gates, both who dropped out of college, we can see that going to college and obtaining a degree is not the only way to achieve success. Both men had set goals that college couldn’t help fulfill. Bill Gates went on later to co-find Microsoft and Mark Zuckerburg created the biggest social media site of our time. Gates and Zuckerburg are now both self-made billionaires, all without the help of a college degree. It’s true when you say that if our society viewed college degrees more differently, that it would a lot of people time and money, but honestly society’s perspective on college degrees is not going to change in our life time. The job market has gotten so competitive that having a college degree just does not make you stand out to potential employers. It seems as if the only way to get a job nowadays with your degree is with ambition and a little luck.

  7. I liked how the blog was centered on the fact that you went to college and this made you come to the conclusion that it’s not for everyone. I would think most people that would argue against most people going to college would know people who hadn’t gone and become successful or talk about the different benefits of not attending. This focuses more on the fact that college was a good experience, but because of the way your degree is seen it might not have been totally worth it. The different problems you are facing being either “over-qualified” for one position and “under-qualified” for another give good evidence into your argument. The two opposing problems both give the feeling that you are capable because of college; however employers won’t see you as this capable college graduate. This feeling can be felt through the post and it definitely helps your position because I, as a reader, can feel your dilemma and understand why you would say college is not for everyone.

  8. Hey! You bring up a very good point. As all my friends got their college acceptance letters, I was curious as to what they were going to major in. Some people wanted to go into liberal arts, some the medical field. Others wanted to get into engineering. I always wondered the same thing. Throughout high school, those students did so well to get into college, but to see them major in something that doesn’t have a bright outlook. This really made me wonder whether or not ‘we could be anything we wanted to be in the future as long as we enjoyed it.’ Questions such as, ‘Could we really do anything we wanted? Would pursuing those degrees help me financially?’ All these things were buzzing in my mind when I was deciding what I was going to major in. I didn’t want to be ‘useless’ right after I got out of college.

  9. I’d have to agree with your reasoning, this is an issue, and a struggle I’m sure some people are just now realizing after haven received a degree in any one of the subjects described by Murray in your paragraph. it seems as though what you just described is a general belief of most people who are pursuing a college degree as well as those who are currently trying to join the workforce. my mother received a degree in chemistry, and psychology, as amazing as that was for my siblings and I knowing that if she could do it we could too; it didn’t translate into an immediate job, in fact, most of the jobs she applied for she was told that her qualifications were either greater than what was required, so in reviewing only her degree they neglected to factor in that she was well educated, and had ample experience in the workforce. that being said I think employers should base their screening on the individuals traits, and not the institution he/she came from, or the qualifications of the person, but rather the ambitions, ability to learn useful information pertaining to the job in question, and ability to think on their feet, and be innovative in thought.

    • I agree, sometimes we are faced with difficult situations despite how well we prepare ourselves for the future. Thank you for your response.

  10. Not everyone is meant for college, and it is really unfortunate that employers use a college degree just as a screening device. If it is not required to have a college degree for some professions, then why get the degree at all? Unfortunately, more and more college students like us will start to have your point of view. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but it is just very sad that college has become unimportant. But I agree that not everyone is meant for college, I have personally known people who have not gone to college and done fairly well for themselves. The field of interest that I want to go into, which is culinary arts, does not require a college degree at all; it only requires the six month program, and then the externship. But I wanted to get my Associates degree because, I wanted to feel accomplished, like you said. But if more and more professions do not need degrees, what is really going to become of college as we know it? Who knows, it might become obsolete all together.

  11. I agree completely with the idea that only a college degree should be the entry pass into our future, hopefully stable lives. Most of us are told from a young age about the importance of schooling and education, but we’re seldom told about what we should be. Some do just the minimum and get a degree, but others do take the alternative, going on to achieve double majors, masters degrees, and doctorates. You have to think tactically leaving high school and trucking into the age of technology and information, some people know that they’ll never need college or need that diploma because they may have something you don’t. The individual either has a personal mastery of the skill or a superior interest in the subject matter with past experiences.

    For example we can take a look at the mechanics, some guys I know have been into engines since grade school, constantly wanting to learn more and understand how it works. Now if that individual goes through life learning everyday through experiences and personal interest towards being a mechanic, when it comes time for an employer to review my friend and a college degree holding mechanic, personally if I was the employer I would look and see that one individual only started mastering engines senior year and then went to a degree program from an accredited school. On the other hand my friend who has been building engines since he was 10 might have in my mind a little more mojo about his work.

    This is just a loose example of what some individuals can experience when it comes to facing the dreaded employment board (interview). Some fields of study though, I understand the necessity for a degree, but if someone without a degree can get the same results (if not better) why not continue to allow them to hold that position. Schooling and street smarts I guess, that’s what it comes down to in the end.

  12. Umza, I completely agree with the ideas you present in your post. The cost of college is exceeding at an astronomical rate, placing a financial burden of those obtaining a degree. There are a variety of degrees available to students that do not provide adequate preparation to occupations in the job market. However, there are a variety of academic employment options to individuals with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Outside of the academia world though, there are few professional opportunities, which is unfortunately the case for numerous degrees offered by colleges and universities. The prospect of economic prosperity should be taken into consideration when selecting an appropriate field of study. The accomplishment of a degree does prove to potential employers that candidate of a job offering does have determination and work ethic, but there is too much importance on the notion of higher education. People can acquire skills and knowledge required for an occupation without ever stepping foot into an institution of higher education.

  13. I completely agree with your conclusion in that maybe fewer people need to go to college than we usually think because like you said, the pressure on young adults by society to get a college degree is immense. So would it be entirely out of the question to think that some of these individuals truly aren’t meant for college and are simply going because of those “many employers who use a college degree simply as a ‘screening device’?” In my personal opinion, those individuals should be free to look into the post-secondary schooling that they believe will fit them the best such as technical school, some type of certification, or truly any type of post-secondary schooling. That way they don’t feel obligated to get a degree in something that truly won’t help them and have to put in all that time in money for a degree that “certifies nothing.” So, in conclusion, if I am correct in my understanding or your stand point, we are looking more at a social dilemma in the pressure these young adults are feeling to get a degree in something when that’s not truly where they will excel.

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