Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I'm Considering College, What Say You? YOUR Thoughts on College and Creative Life

I really love when you share your honest feedback, it's my favorite part of blogging and it really helps us learn and grow. I would love to start a discussion that can divide many indie business owners: is college worth it? When many of us are making a living doing what we love anyway, is going to school worth the huge investment of time and money?


My College Story: My mom drilled the importance of college in my head practically since birth; I was taught that attending college was the ultimate life choice; riches and independence would be mine! BUT she didn't attend college, no one in my family did. I had zero guidance on the process. I just knew I should go, but not HOW to go, WHY to go, and what to DO when finished.

I was a confused 17-year-old when I started college. I first pursued an Associates in Arts, switched to an Associates in Science for Graphic Design and eventually dropped out, no degree completed. (A lot of people still think I finished with a photography or writing degree, nope.) I was bored with the classes, having self-taught myself how to use image editing software and make websites through middle and high school; skills that directly helped me land marketing/copywriting for three years before working for myself on Thrift Core another three once the blog had grown enough to sustain me.

The Urge to Return: Now I feel an urge to return to college. I suffer from drop-out guilt and I crave the challenge. I feel very complacent with life going on the way I am. I want the knowledge and connections college can give. I know attending writing/photography meet-ups can give the networking/knowledge I crave, but if it's possible, why not get college degrees while I'm at it? I was very confused before but now I know I'd like to go to school for journalism, photojournalism, or both.

A Common Story. College and No Job: I have more friends with college degrees jobs that are NOT in the field they went to school for than friends with college degrees working exactly where they expected. Many friends changed their minds or couldn't find work. College can be a huge investment of time, money, and energy and may not guarantee work in this uncertain job market.

Some of Your Thoughts on Twitter and Facebook Thus Far on Returning to College:



A General Direction... At least I finally have a general direction for what I want to do in life. It will always involve photography, design, writing, whole living, and environmentalism to one degree or another. I finally feel ready to settle and actually focus on classes again.

What do you think? What was your college (and post-college) experience like? Do you recommend going back to school or is it crazy? Any tips for me to attend college for free? Any suggestions for what I should ask my counselor tomorrow?
Daily thrifting updates, information, & Inspiration: Follow Thrift Core on Twitter and Facebook.

53 comments:

  1. Have you seen this? https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/138c5efd45e9

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    1. Oh this is wonderful, thanks for sharing! I went back and forth on art school for years. I am grateful for the skills I did learn with hand-drawn graphic design before I dropped out. Don't regret any of the classes I took...but I didn't pay for them. May have been a different story otherwise.

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    2. And just read the whole link, totally agree with that and love that. Hate how art school especially is so insidiously expensive when artist don't earn much! The ones that do are in the obscenely small minority.

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  2. I enjoyed college when I went. I feel very done with it. No desire to go back. I felt I learned more in life by traveling and talking to people and having life experiences than I ever learned in school. If I had random cash to spend on school or travel. Id travel! Explore museums.
    Try some private lessons with someone you feel you could gain something from. Get some hands on experience in whatever is your goal.....Just my opinion:-)

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    1. I love your opinion, thanks for sharing. I was thinking the same, you definitely learn so much more from hands-on experience, like my example of teaching myself web-stuff before going to school taking basic step-by-step classes on the same thing. Yet I DID truly enjoy a lot of my classes, I learned from them and apply some of that to life. Definitely have lots of classes from local indie providers I want to take this year. I will talk to a counselor tomorrow to see if there's any way I can get to school for free, you never know. I don't earn much, I may be able to qualify for a pell grant miraculously.

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  3. I was drilled by my mother to get a degree but I dropped out. I bounced from one job to another but in the last few years, I noticed the rise of "college degree required" even if it's a reception job posting. I have friends and family that have degrees and do not work in their field at all. One had to get a second master's because she ended up in a field she enjoyed but couldn't get a promotion!

    I ended up getting passed on twice for a promotion because I had no degree so I made the choice to go back but truthfully, it's still for the wrong reasons. AND I AM IN SO MUCH DEBT!! Bah!!

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    1. I have a friend with an engineering degree that decided he enjoys being a ballroom dance instructor more! I will never forget my astrophysicist friend that was a door greeter at Walmart one year. Really?! Smartest man I know; door greeter. Good luck figuring it out, I'm sure more opportunities will open once you're done with school.

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  4. Good discussion Van! As a holder of multiple degrees, I have very mixed feelings about this. I got my undergrad in anthropology/archaeology and at the time really wanted to work in a related field. I found out that would be better pursued with a grad degree, so I set off into grad school right out of undergrad. I went into historic preservation and then racked up a huge student loan debt before graduating with a masters of science. By the time I had finished there were very few jobs in the field as a result of government funding cuts to historic preservation programs. I worked in my field for a few years making an embarrassing low amount for someone with a graduate degree. It was during that time I found my love for graphic design, and I went back to school to get an associates in design. I ended up making way more money using that degree than I did from my masters. :/ Then I helped my husband start a business in his field and ultimately I only do design a tiny bit anymore, and all the money I make is in a field I have no education in. LOL. My husband only went to trade school and I can tell you this right now, he has ALWAYS made very good money- way better than me with 3 degrees. BUT I don't really regret the other degrees (minus the huge debt part) and I'm still glad that I did it. It's about the journey not the destination. So I say to follow your heart on this one! Like you said, school can be a great way to build skills while meeting like minded individuals and networking. Just be careful about the loans! :)

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    1. I don't hear too many people saying they regret the experience of school, the people they met, and what they learned even if they didn't use what they learned. The one exception being my boyfriend who nearly finished a hard math-related major and now helps manage a multi-million earning local Florist. I'll keep feeling it out. It's kind of a dream (the dream of many) to earn a living writing/taking photos of amazing exotic places/food/events/people and get paid to do it. With a degree or not that job is in the small minority. You should be proud of your degrees/experience regardless, it's all a huge accomplishment.

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  5. It's about what you value most. I didn't think of higher education as a means to an end financially but as a life experience. I've always enjoyed school and when I had the opportunity to attend for free with the GI Bill, I took what challenged me with little thought of employment afterward. I like the way assignments and deadlines push me to think and produce. But I'll tell you. No one cares about classical education, deep thinkers, experience seekers, or your awesome GPA as far as hiring goes...I don't think most people know how to assess those things. I'm the only one who seems satisfied with my choices. :)

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    1. I think the same about my desire to attend school now, for the experience/networking/learning. Connections, personality, resume, and what you DO can get you a job more than a degree. I beat out people with marketing/writing degrees to get my previous job with no degree and being just 21 because I had the skills and was willing to dig in, learn, be flexible and do the job. That and employers like young'ins that don't know they're value that they can pay less, ones they can mold into what they want them to be ;)

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  6. I didn't read all of the other comments, so this is my opinion without commentary on anyone else's:

    I have a BA and an MA. I have $60,000 in student loan debt, and am currently unable to pay anything on it. My MA does not give me the money-making ability to pay off my debt in a timely manner. It will take a while. I've accepted that. I needed to go to school to do what I do, and I love what I do, and I wouldn't change a thing. That being said, I was completely unprepared to support myself as a college graduate, and I see more and more college students getting degrees that will put them in similar positions. I don't think college is worth it unless you have a concrete plan for the degree and there are no other options. I think we, as a society, are moving into a time and place where education is going to look very different, where people want to find more meaning in their work, and where trades will (and are already) becoming very important. People need skills, and they don't have to go to a standard "university" to get those skills.

    I try to dissuade people from going to college right out of high school unless they really know themselves. The knowing-oneself can come from other sources. It doesn't have to cripple you financially for life.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your honest story. Agree on not going right out of high school unless you really now yourself and your plan. I was lost and confused and blew the free credits that I had. We're all taught to go gun-ho right out of high school but you're still so young, sometimes it's better to get out and live and find your way first.

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  7. I think for art-related its sort of a waste of time and money... especially money. I mean I love that I went to Animation school but the best year was my first year...that is where i learned the most, my other years were just about practicing what i had learned in my first year... still in debt, and my parents are always reminding me...ugh

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    1. I LOVE this link Jamie shared about art school being a waste of money, the artist shared a $10K (much more reasonable than $250K+) "DIY" art school plan: https://medium.com/i-m-h-o/138c5efd45e9

      So evil that art school can be more expensive than a Harvard degree when you won't graduate earning what you should to pay it off. We creatives DO NOT earn much. We're usually not even earnings-motivated.

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  8. I really like when you bring topics to discuss in the blog. I think each case is a case. I always wanted to be a journalist but when finally was time to go to college I figured out that being a journalist means you don't have a personal life, gotta work 12 hours per day and no time to build a family. So I decided to stay another year in High School and decide what to do with my life.
    One Day My friend showed me about this Social Work Course and when I read about the subjects I felt in love. Four years studying Social Work and I had the time of my life, even though I knew would be hard to find a job I learned so much about me and the others! Mostly of the subjects were practical, not boring at all.

    I was lucky enough to understand what I wanted to do in my life when I was 19, but I know many other people who studied something and firured out that's not for them... I think is not a waste of time, you still meet tons of people and learn different things. I have friends who never attend college and are earning way more money then friends who are teachers or enginners.

    In the end what matters is to work on something you are passionate about. It will take hours hours and hours of your life so you better go to work smiling. If you went to college but in the middle you realize it's not for you, give up! If you realize when you are gratuated already then find something else, just because you studied for that subject doesn't mean you have to do it your entire life.

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    1. Thanks for the story and tips. Agreed, you have to go where you passion, school's not always necessary for that.

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  9. I think you are spot-on when you mention the networking you can gain while in school. I've attended 2 colleges and have 2 degrees. During the first year or so of the B.S. I didn't realize what networking was. Finally in my last couple of semesters of undergrad and especially in my MBA courses, I started to enjoy connecting with classmates. Some of my professors really pushed me and for those classes I am very grateful. Once I was on the MBA path, I had a "real" job and I could compare notes from the working world against the classroom topics and vice versa.

    It's like anything - if it is important to YOU, then you can make it worth it. :-)

    I've been reading for a couple of months but this is my first comment. Blindly going (or sending kids) to college is one of my pet peeves! Come visit me at http://getloh.blogspot.com/ & http://www.theoakleyoffice.com/!
    -Lana

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    1. Thanks for finally commenting, love your honest feedback on the subject!

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  10. I'm currently in college right now-- I think it's worth it if A- you are willing to work to succeed to begin with-- textbooks won't give you that, and B- if you can get out with little debt (under 10k is manageable), and C- you work. A degree won't give you a job, but having the fantastic internship experience, which often requires your enrollment in college, will give you a GREAT start. It's the opportunities really, that make the difference. The exposure to new ideas and works is also great!

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    1. Agreed on all points, memorizing facts and regurgitating them for an A, then promptly forgetting it earn a degree is no substitute for ambition. I'm excited to try new things like internships.

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  11. I listened to your interview on Ebay Scavengers. You seem like an introspective person who might like the part of college that focuses on your major. Some people don't really like all the other courses required to get a degree. Have you thought about an art or photography institute? Often times a college degree can open doors that might otherwise be shut. A degree is often for the future, not right now. If someday you want to be a museum curator, you most likely will need a degree. The time to go is now before financial burdens of a house, family, etc. Make it too difficult.

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    1. Hm, I haven't thought of an art or photography institute, might have to look into that. I had the same thoughts, now while I'm younger, have the desire again. I'm excited to at least investigate the options out there and have something that would help me get jobs I'd like into the future. Thanks for listening to the eBay Scavengers interview, I'm introspective to the point of self-paralysis ;D

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  12. Here is the thing, only 32% of Americans have degrees, and that number is not growing. When it comes to Masters or PhD's, the number drops to single digits in percentage of Americans with such. This idea that you need a degree to do much of anything is entirely a myth that is perpetuated by sensationlism. Americans become obsessed with an idea and then spread it around like it's truth when it isn't. ESPECIALLY for the arts, you don't need a degree at all.

    The truth about debt is that it is crushing and debilitating and there is NO WAY OUT. Student loans cannot disappear. You can default on them and they will sit somewhere, gaining interest, FOREVER. This means that if you graduate with even something like $10,000 worth of student loans, but cannot pay on them, the interest will accrue indefinitely and you could end up paying triple that in the end. There are very few options for paying for college without loans (though it's possible) and generally the option is to take even longer to graduate. The problem with spending a lot of time in school without working hard toward a major is that things can change. It's a big problem (and you can google all kinda articles on the debt crisis). It takes a very smart and savvy person to work it out without loans (and I believe that you can).

    College is also a waste of time. Before the end of the 70s, college was more like trade school. If you wanted to be an artist, you went for that. But at the end of the 70s, there began a shift in college curriculum. There was a shift to this Liberal Arts education, meaning that you spend an extra two years learning about shit that has no practical application. The accreditation associations began requiring liberal arts for any college program to receive accreditation, and that ended up fucking over everyone. Beyond that, colleges are just as boring and structured and impractical as high schools. It's still all about memorizing for tests...and art classes are not much different. Colleges employ a variety of hoops to jump through and cater to the lowest common denominator. A smart, interesting person such as yourself might find herself unfulfilled.

    The truth about college is that it really is a waste of time and money. Your experiences make you more qualified than any college graduate. There is no job that you couldn't comfortably apply for just because you lack a degree. Even the requirements for governmental jobs have experience qualifications as a substitute for a college degree. People keep saying that you "need" a degree for a career, and you do, for about 1% of the careers out there. You're not going for those careers, though.

    If you want to go back to college because you need to do something to change your life, and you're interested in challenging yourself, then do it. Do it slowly and smartly and don't put yourself in debt and don't think it's a magic solution to getting a job, because it's not. But if you're really just interested in pursuing art stuff and educating yourself, then you can do all of that without college.

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    1. I loved reading your super honest feedback, thanks Fenn. That mirrors most of my thoughts on college, the loophole jumping, memorization, overpriced debilitating mess that it is. I find myself wanting to challenge myself and learn so I'm going to look into ways to get into community college for free, if not, there's always meet-ups, indie non-college courses and non-college networking to look into.

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  13. I went into debt to go back to college. If I could afford it, I'd get my Masters. My degree is in English Literature. Not journalism, not creative writing, not editing... I just like to intensely analyse literature & it's place & meaning in art, humanity, philosophy, LIFE! I don't care what anyone says. It is very hard to find the engaging and challenging intellectual stimulation that comes from studying with amazing professors that are knowledgeable in their fields. So, I went to expand my mind. Not to make money from what I learned. I crave it still. I don't think business degrees and stuff like that are worth it. I know lots of business people out there with no degrees. True University and higher education is to expand your mind. What were you thinking of studying?

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    1. Journalism and photojournalism, I passionate about English literature too, but I think I've ALWAYS been a journalist. If I was blogging I was making amateur videos as a kid with info or making "articles" in notebooks by writing a cutting/pasting in photos.

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  14. started college when i was 18. pregnant first semester and again last semester. 2 deadbeat dads (thats my backstory LOL) a completely worthless degree in medical billing and coding (well it seemed like it would pay the bills). Graduated May 2008. Hubby insisted I should go back and get a real degree. 3 small kids and a college professor (history) who knocks my grades till the point im almost failing because I have a different political view than her (unethical and once the semester is done her emails are going to the dean of students) working on a business degree. Seriously I am only going because the financial aid covers it 100% and then some. Hubby is super smart with a crazy science degree and is still stuck in the same job. Same with my brother computer degree...going on year 14 at Burger King. Waste of money waste of time. Im getting a business degree for my own personal enrichment bc it *may* help *my* business not because i expect to have a job elsewhere when its over :/ DONT take out student loans (we are paying off hubbys loans thankfully they are low) even experts arent advising college anymore. The average college student when they graduate if they make minimum monthly payments will be paying off college until retirement. Its rising way faster than inflation.

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    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Definitely will never take out loans, I'm a very anti-debt person.

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  15. My two cents, if you really want to go to college go - but consider part-time so you can pay as you go and still work. The loans are just not worth it in the current economy. You are a smart cookie, I am sure you will find a way if you want to go. Just be aware - journalism students get very low pay after paying a lot for an education. Photography, well, might pay ok if you work for yourself. You are very talented,I am sure you will be successful no matter what you do. Don't ever feel like a college dropout however as you are completely a star for being self-employed and are helping the economy for doing so. You went to the school of hard knocks - and won. Keep that in mind!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words :) Definitely sacrificed for years to learn and get where I am now. Also aware that journalists/photographers have low pay but it's just something I love. Quite used to doing tons of work for low pay now being self-employed, you definitely do more work than you're paid for. I will continue to feel it out and see what happens.

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  16. Whether or not to attend college? Having attended a few universities and worked in the field of education myself, I would ask you the simple question, why? What is your reason to go?

    One point I always emphasized to people, and you've probably heard, is that the days of guaranteed employment ["security"] with a college degree are long gone. The successful marketing done by higher ed. institutions on the value of college degrees has, in my opinion, worked counter to that marketed message. It has created 'degree inflation' in which the street value of a BA or BS has decreased. Many applicants in higher-earning positions have a Bachelor's, so employers begin to ask for Master's while many people are seeing a Master's as a way of keeping up with degree inflation. Statistically on average, colleges point out, the long-term earning potential of college graduates exceed high school grads. However, that depends upon what one is learning to later to be earning.

    Institutions of higher learning are now beginning to realize that what they have been peddling doesn't always work with the new economy we are entering. Content (knowledge) is still important, but as things change rapidly, skills and adaptability applied to problem solving are the new commodities. We have more content at our fingertips than at any point in human history . . . . and who's going to - or willing to - pay thousands of dollars every time they need to upgrade their resume, content knowledge, or skills?

    Knowledge is power, no doubt. So, go back to the original question of why? Why do you want to learn what you want to learn? Sometimes college/university is the best route. Other times its entrepreneurial bootstrapping. And still others it is the old-fashioned mentorship/apprenticeship.

    Consider yourself an investment. Invest wisely by considering your desired dividends (what you want out of it), and then invest in what will bring about those dividends.

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    1. All good points to ponder. I'm desiring personal enrichment, the challenge, networking and knowledge more-so that job-earning potential, I may be self-employed for life for all I know. I'm passionate about the subjects and wonder if I should go back to school while I have the desire to study again. I'd also have the degrees in case I want to get another job in the future. Thanks for the detailed information!

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  17. Van, you should look into open course content. If you want to poke around without a commitment, I highly suggest Kahn Academy. Totally free and constantly adding topics.

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    1. Thanks for the suggestion, will look into it!

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  18. Hi Van, here are my thoughts. I have a degree in business management and have found that I probably could have done without it. Fortunately most of my education was paid for through my tribe's scholarship fund and without such funding, I probably would have just worked instead of going to college.

    If I were to do it again, I would not take out any loans whatsoever or take our very little as possible, and try to work part time at the same time. I'm satisfied with my career path as of now but there is a part of me that thinks about going back to school. However, if I were to do it again I would go the vocational/community college route and try to learn a tangible skill. Plumbing, carpentry, barbering, really anything that you can actually tangibly do and whose skill can't be shipped off to China.

    I look at my barber who is in his early 20's, has his own business and is doing well. He didn't go to some fancy liberal arts school, didn't go into student loan debt, and already is doing quite well with a small but growing business.

    I wouldn't go into school to "discover" what you like. If you're not sure, read up on what you're interested, try to get involved with local clubs or organizations with those things you tend to like and get a feel for what it is you really want to do before returning to school.

    Just my two cents, hope it helps!

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    1. Definitely helps, thanks! I really should get into more clubs, meet-ups, organizations and internships first or while I'm at it.

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  19. So worth it! Everything about the experience made me a more well-rounded person. I think everyone should go. Seriously! Even if they know they want to do something that doesn't require a degree. :)

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    1. Thanks for the tip. I don't regret my floundering early college experience at all and did learn while I was there.

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  20. This is something i go over and over and over again myself. I'm 31, and i went to college for about 1 and 1/2 years. In my opinion college is completely wasted on 18 year olds! I'm an artsy fartsy person too. My major was Music, and then switched to Photography. I paid my own way and worked full time too and it just got to be too stressful, and i was much more interested in moving out of my parent's house and just living life. I'm not really a school person, so i hated spending tons of money on classes that i was not interested in (econimics, math classes, computer basics classes that they didn't allow you to test out of!!!) i considered going back for a trade (Nurse, Mortician, Beautician) but when it came down to it, none of these things were REALLY what i want to do. And spending money on them seemed pointless. Unfortunatly for me i am not a money minded person. I have no interest in big money careers at all and would crash and burn going to school for them! So i'm back to working a "job" not a "career". I love my day job. I'm valued and work with great people. And i have plenty of time to do the things i truly love (play in a band, crafting, thrifting, makeup artistry , etc) So i never really feel deprived. I've never taken that step from making my passions my job like you have, and I'm not sure i ever will. In any case, taking a long hard look at finances, and time (since in your business time is money!). ANd i agree with all the folks who posted prior, DEBT IS THE DEVIL. I would go the workshop/single classes, not necessarily a degere type route. All of the successful people i know who graduated college with an Arts degree are now working the office grind in a not-so-artsy way. When it comes down to the arts, all people care about is , how good you are at what you do.

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    1. Definitely agree with a lot of this- I could never go to school in the medical field or for anything guaranteed to make money, I'd be too bored in the classes and then with life. I have too much in my mind brewing always ready to be made. I'd love to make more money but can do a lot with even $30K a year, my expenses are so low.

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  22. I haven't read all of the comments yet so I don't know if someone already posted this. I heard about this on a story on NPR. Check out MOOCs. Massive Open Online Courses. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massive_open_online_course They are courses, many of which are free, offered by top universities. I have an interest in trying it out but haven't fully researched it yet.

    I went to college straight out of high school. Dropped out after a year and then went back several years later and finished. My degree did get me a job but it wasn't a passion and I no longer work in that field. The thing I don't like about college is the hours spent fulfilling course requirements that have nothing to do with your interests in order to have a well rounded education. I'm not sure what the requirements of a journalism degree are but you would probably have to take some classes that you had no interest in. As someone said previously it feels very high schoolish having to slog through it, memorize and make the grade because it's a required course. I think it's great that you're thoughtfully considering your options. The article about Art school was interesting. Maybe you should research some people who are doing something similar to what you want to do in journalism and find out how they achieved that goal.

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  23. Thanks for that link and info, will have to look into that. I loathe how you have to take so many classes you'll never need to get a degree!

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  24. hey Van, speaking of jobs that will refund your investment, I went to college for MUSICAL THEATRE. Bananas. Luckily, I landed a gig and left early. The thing I struggle with most when contemplating my return to school (which I do, about every 6 months) is that college has such an unbending schedule. There isn't the same freedom with scheduling nights, and certain days off as there is in University. Until I feel like I've found something i HAVE to do, (instead of contemplating) I'm not going to commit money that I don't have and I'm not sure i'll ever make back!

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    1. So awesome that you landed a gig, I'd have left, too! I may never make it back either, especially if I can't get in for free or close to it! Thanks for your comment and sharing your story, love that you went for musical theatre and followed your dreams.

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  25. hmmm Im not sure. Im a special education teacher and I have a BA and MA and a second MA. For my career it was a must, however, for those in the creative field Im nbot sure Id pay the big bucks to get the degree. Im turning 36 and I still owe buckets for my degree, of course I had to have it. I do feel though I learned just as much on my own as in college

    retro rover

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    1. Thanks for being honest and sharing your story. I'm inspired to take up indie studies and practicing for sure after reading the comments, many ways to get enrichment outside of conventional colleges.

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  26. Oh and I even went to an excellent school for my masters. Columbia and Im not sure it was worth it

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  27. Interesting reading everyone's story. Lots of similarities. I went to college out of HS because it was the thing to do. I did my duty and graduated. I found that college was a lot of dull requirements I had to fulfill. It felt that people who graduated were just good at organizing schedules and signing up early. I will say that I enjoyed having the time to read the stuff I wanted to read. I got an English BA--an expensive way to read books.

    Then I went out into the world and found I had no leverage or special skills. I think I felt more well-rounded because I had four years to read a bunch of books I enjoyed. That's it. I worked, traveled, and did a bunch of cool things. Always flat broke. Never worked any particular promising job. Never paid more than $9 an hour.

    I went back to school at 26 thinking I needed to get a serious degree so I could make some real money. I realized that school hadn't changed. I took about 18 months of classes that were extremely dull. Everyday felt like I was wasting my time/money, but wasn't school important and serious? I saw an internship posted on the school's bullet board, called the number, and began interning in the field I was interested in (TV Production). After a couple months, I quit school and just worked at that TV station. That was the best education. Maybe that school was worth it because I got that internship? Maybe, but it feels a dumb way to do it. An expensive way to get an internship and work for free.

    I spent the next ten years working in TV. Moved to different cities, and landed in Manhattan working at a cool station. Great times. But I also realized I hate working for other people. I hated the grind, personal politics, and bureaucracy of any job. I started doing personal online projects that landed me outside work. I realized I didn't need these jobs and could go independent. Thank you internet.

    So I don't know maybe fancy schools are better? I went to big faceless state schools. Maybe if I studied medicine or engineering, I'd feel different? I always took liberal arts. But in the end, I always felt that everyone in my classes were there because they didn't know how to do anything. When I look at your blog and what you're doing, you have it going on already. You're miles ahead of anyone I went to school with. Maybe just be more adventurous, travel more, and start some new projects. Shake it up some.

    I always feel college is good for people who want 9-5 jobs because those places are run by people with college degrees and they like hiring they're own. But out here in the Wide World, we Independents know it's all about what you actually DO. No safety net. No rules. It's whatever you make it. Totally freedom is totally scary and totally fun.

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    1. Agreed on so many points here, many of us just go because we're told it's the road to success and riches and there's no other way to reach it. A lot of us indie-biz owners are problem solvers that have marched to our own drummer life-long, I know I am. I self-taught a lot of things and just like you, hate the grind/bureaucracy of a typical job and liberation that comes with working for myself. I do want to take classes, participate in critiques and grow my mind so I may look into related indie non-college classes, networking, and projects first. I'd only go back to college in earnest if I can find a way in for free or close to it ;) Especially since I'm likely addicted to the freedom of self-employment for life.

      Thanks for sharing your story, it's the story of many in our boat!

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  28. Van, my suggestion to you is to do some informational interviews with people who are doing what you would like to do with a college degree to see if it is worth it. That will serve as a reality check for you. Like you, I grew up in a home where education was stressed. I was surrounded by friends who grew up similarly. When I went to work in corporate America, a lot of people I worked with went to school part time to get another degree. I don't recall any of these people doing anything with their degrees; they just continued working where they were at. I would caution you to not get into too much debt should you decide to go back to college, especially for something that may not work out for where you want to go. Certainly take classes in things you are passionate about, but really look into whether or not a degree is what you need to achieve your goals. Are there alternative, less expensive ways to get there? Am I going back to school for the right reasons? Ask yourself some hard questions before you make the plunge. I am not knocking higher education, but when you graduate and go out into the work force, it is a reality check when you can't find work related to your degree, or the work you think you want to do ends up not being all it's cracked up to be. Take it from someone who's been there, done that.

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    1. I would never go into to debt at all for school, definitely researching and looking into it all carefully. I would like the experience/knowledge of school and wouldn't necessarily pursue a career in it. Thanks for the helpful tips!

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