University degrees worth time, money

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Is getting a college degree worth it? Yes, it is.

I could stop there, but a short answer requires a short explanation. So hear me out.

Nearly three months ago to the day, I drove to St. George from Logan, ready to restart my college education after a two-year hiatus. Just a week before that, I was living and working in New York City.

My expectations of the city life did not fulfill any of the dreams or plans I’d made for my future. The plan was to earn money in New York by working in a Times Square restaurant and being a part-time nanny for a family in Brooklyn. I would build a solid financial base for myself as I intended to apply to a nursing school. Sounds pretty achievable, right?

The odds were not in my favor. I quickly became depressed living alone in Harlem. And that’s another issue by itself; I felt very unsafe in my living situation. I missed my family, and my motivation to keep up the “city girl” image began to dissolve. There was nothing left in the city for me but this one reason to leave: I wanted to get a concrete education under my belt.

Out of all places, Dixie State University had the answers I needed to make my one simple goal a reality. I found a passion for writing, an unexpected event as I had never considered myself a writer. I can confidently say this is the happiest I’ve ever been as a college student living paycheck-to-paycheck and making the most out of what the college experience can offer.

Students often question the value of the degree they are pursuing. There is no data set in stone that will tell us how our future will look based on a piece of paper with our name and university on it. Then there’s the mountain of debt waiting at the end of the tunnel when we graduate. As daunting as these thoughts seem, I have to force myself to take a different angle.

It’s true that I am just at the starting line in my race for a college degree. So who’s to say I won’t change my mind about college in the future? It comes down to a matter of attitude — how I keep my head in the game. I went to New York with soaring expectations on how my college education would play out. My problem was my vision was too narrowed-in on becoming a nurse.

So, the disappointment I felt leaving the city propelled a new motivation in me to be open to the possibilities within college education itself. The opportunities to meet challenges head-on are there if people really want it. Because of that, I see myself sticking around for a while to dip my toes in as many different aspects of college as I can.

We must view the payout of a college degree as something more than the prospect of glorified salaries over the life of a career. The payoff isn’t just a money safety net. It’s life experiences.

Does this mean you can’t obtain personal growth and life experiences without a college degree? Of course not. But the four years you are in college are an intense time of learning and growth that prepares you for your career and your life as well.

I’m grateful my New York experience was so bad. It made me reconsider my capabilities to change the course of my life and find the degree that will eventually fuel the start of a career.

College is absolutely worth the passion you can put in to it.