Welcome to the fight for degree equality. See, the majority of students will attend regular universities with classrooms and hallways and fire drills, and they will never have to prove or justify their degree. The majority of students will attend a university familiar to them and the people around them, earn a degree, put it on their resume, get a job, and happily begin life in the workforce. But if you choose to think outside the box, be a little uncommon, and have an adventure while in school, you may find yourself having to explain your degree to everyone you meet.
“So where did you go to school?”
(inwardly cringing and wishing I felt like lying) “Um, Thomas Edison State University.”
“Oh, I don’t think I have heard of that one.”
“Haha, probably not! It is up in Trenton, New Jersey.”
“Oh, you’re from New Jersey?”
“Um, no… I just graduated from Thomas Edison. I’m an online, distance student.”
Cringe, sigh. Over and over again. Wishing I could lie – just once! And claim I went somewhere that people knew and respected.
But here’s the deal. No I don’t. Sure for a moment it might be uncomfortable and awkward to explain why you chose the path you did, and it might take a little more explaining than normal, but the truth of the matter is – I wouldn’t trade my education for any other option.
The experience of putting myself through school, working full-time while I earned my degree, having to do the research myself, and having to be my own academic advisor has given me so many practical life skills that I never would have gotten on a traditional four year “college campus experience.”
I’ve learned how to manage my time, study effectively, and how to be purposeful in my work. Working full-time as a substitute teacher and office manager gave me practical skills that future employers are looking for. And believe me, nothing teaches you how to conduct research like trying to figure out which credits will transfer correctly.
My distance degree is not worth “just as much” as a traditional campus degree – it is worth more. It is worth years of work, life experience, and personal growth. Let’s go above degree equality, let’s go above and beyond the status-quo. If you are going to be different, stand out. Go big or go home!
So I encourage you and challenge you to own your degree this year. Use 2018 as the year you pursue doing more than just getting by, just passing the test, just getting the credit. How do you do that? I’m glad you asked! Look for Part Two this week! 🙂