Thursday, February 17, 2011

Are You Using Your Degree?

By: Editing Working Girl


I am one of the lucky few to actually be using my college degree. But it wasn't always this way. I majored in Communications and minored in Literature/Writing and my first job out of college was as...a Medical Transcriptionist.

There were so many times that I was frustrated because I got that position not because I knew medical terminology, but because I could type fast (thanks Mavis Beacon!). Every month while I was paying off my ridiculously high University of California system student loans, I would find myself angry that my degree wasn't being utilized, that I wasn't prepared for the 'real world' and that my four years in college were a waste.

It looks like many women feel that way. In the U.K., Dailymail.com is reporting that many women are seeing university as a waste of time, because the time spent working toward a degree outweighs the actual benefits. "Tuition fees and little chance of landing a good job make higher education an unattractive prospect for them, a study shows."

Luckily, the time spent at the job I hated motivated me to really try to find something that I loved. Not only have I put my experience as an Editorial Intern to use in my freelance writing, but I now do marketing for a software company, utilizing many things I studied in college such as skills I learned in my Writing for Digital Media course.

At the same time, I am actually thinking of enrolling into my alma mater's Extension Program to earn a certificate in copy editing since we didn't have Journalism classes and I feel I can use it to help further my freelance career. So though I am using my degree, I always feel continuing education is a viable option to not only brush up on my skills, but help learn specific skills that may not have been included in my degree program.

What about you Working Girls? Was your degree worth it? Would you ever go back to school?

14 comments:

Melanie's Randomness said...

I currently just lost my job so I am definitely going to look for a job that uses my bachelor's in mathematics. I hate that all my education does for me is letting me understand episodes of "Big Bang Theory". I want more out of it & I'm looking forward to wear it will lead me.

Kim said...

My degree is in psychology, and I really wouldn't say I use it at all. I work as a dispatcher for a transportation company, so what I do is logistics, which psychology is really unnecessary for.

LaNeshe said...

My degree is in communications, and I work in marketing, as I always wanted to, so I would say I am very lucky that I am working in the field my degree was in.

nophee said...

I feel lucky that my degree in IT helped me to get my first job. I feel I still have a lot things to learn though. Continuing study has become my main consideration so I can upgrade my skills and knowledge

Laura said...

That's a toughy... I don't know if I would go back to school or not.. I have a degree in Nutrition and dietetics and right out of school got a pharmaceutical sales job.. luckily- my drugs were diabetes drugs, which helped me get more involved in teaching patients/doctor- made me a better rep- and i got to use my degree.. :)

hantu malang said...

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Deidre said...

I got a degree in Physics and film studies (hardly useful together)...and then a masters in environmental science.

I am trying to find a job in the environment sector so then I'll be using my degree a bit.

But at the moment, I am just unemployed.
I knew straight away I wouldn't be employed studying physics or film...so while very educational, in a lot of ways my BA was kind of a waste of time.

Maura said...

This is something I've been thinking about. I'm lucky that I'm using my degree in my job but I know a lot of people who aren't. I think it's tough to be asked when your 18 to choose what you want to be doing for the rest of your life. A lot of my friends are thinking about going back to school because they're realizing now in their late 20s what they really want to be doing.

Angeline said...

Yes and no. My undergrad degree is in environmental analysis and design, and my master's is in journalism. I am a communications professional and magazine editor, so I do use the skills I learned in graduate school often. However, this is in no way what I think I'll be doing for the rest of my life--I'm looking at a major transition later this year and am really open to anything, degree-related or not.

I'm probably in the minority, but I really don't think that your degree has to be related to what you want to do at all (with some exceptions--I mean, you want your doctor to have a medical degree, etc.). I mean, who really knows at 22 what they want to do? I think the value of college is in learning how to be adult, self-sufficient, learning how to research, learn, and think critically, and see things through. The content of your degree is sort of a moot point for most.

I'm a little surprised that the article only points to women--I know many men who don't use their degrees either (maybe they're just more satisfied with it nonetheless?).

Amy said...

My degree is in journalism, and I'm working in marketing now, so they're kind of related. The journalism degree *sounds* good and looks good on paper and people/employers seem to appreciate it. I started my career in journalism, moved into PR and then marketing, so it's nice to be able to shift gears based on what jobs are available and have that experience to fall back on.

Cassie said...

I am not using my degree, but I am working in the same dept that I worked in as a student worker (albeit, now I have a pretty good career position). So it kind of works out!

P said...

I work in book publishing (editorial) and *am* back in school, for I am also a PhD student in literature and sociology. My interdisciplinary work in academic publishing helps me think out of the box for my thesis, and the rigour of the course is making me, I think, in many ways, a better person. It's tough doing two things but will be worth it when I get my degree.

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