An Expensive Lesson
It pains me to say this, but I’m still paying on student loans… for a college degree I have never really used.
I went back to school at a “late” age after deciding to end my first two careers.
The first career was 10 years in corporate insurance. It just happened to be where I landed after finishing school the first time with an Associate’s degree. It was a soul-sucking job, and I stayed with it 10 years too long.
The second was less of a career… I’d been catering and cooking, which turned into waiting tables because cooking didn’t pay the bills. But waitressing was starting to take a toll on my overall well-being.
It wasn’t what I wanted for the rest of my life. And there was no way I was going back to insurance.
Plus, I was bored.
So I did some research… the old-fashioned way, with phone calls and brochures. I picked a school and a major based on what I wanted to study and learn.
Then I borrowed what seemed like a boat-load of money from the government to pay for it.
Looking back, there were some important things I failed to consider.
Not that there was anything wrong with the major or the university… I’m quite proud to be a University of Pittsburgh alumnus… but I went about it backwards. (Now that I think about it, I didn’t plan very well the first time either.)
You see, as I got closer to graduation and started looking for a “real job,” I realized that I wasn’t going to find a job in my major (Ecology & Evolution) without at least a Master’s degree. More likely, I would need a PhD.
Not only that, but there were only a handful of jobs at any level, and most of them were with the federal government. They weren’t the type of job I was going to just walk into and get hired like I had done with jobs in the past. They hired people who were willing and able to work for them as low-wage interns or volunteers. I just couldn’t do it.
I also was also limited by location. Even if I did land one of the few non-PhD level jobs that came with a living wage, it wasn’t going to be in an area I wanted to live.
Bottom line: I was never going to find a job in the field of ecology that I was willing to take.
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