Editorial: Your Degree is Worthless

It’s been four years. You’ve taken all the classes, met all the requirements and even landed on the Dean’s List a few times. You graduated.

But if you didn’t bother getting experience through work or an internship, you’re less likely to find a job in your field of study.

According to data from the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 44 percent of college graduates were working in a job after graduation that didn’t require a college degree. Out of that number, only 36 percent of them were employed in what could be considered as a “good non-college job”, meaning they were paid around $45,000 a year.

These statistics don’t mean that education is worthless; that’s far from the truth. Education is still an extremely valuable asset when searching for a career. It’s just not the only thing employers look for.

Getting that degree is so important, but so are the experiences you gain while going to college.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, employers value a recent graduate’s work experience and internships over their actual degree or GPA.

Let’s say a newspaper is hiring a reporter and two people apply. One has a degree in journalism while the other one has a degree and multiple written pieces from an internship to prove that they can write. Who is getting hired? Person number two.

This isn’t saying that the grades you earn or the degree you walk away with might be considered garbage. Those things are what qualify you for good internships or work study jobs, which in turn qualify you for good jobs.

There are thousands of people out there with the same level of education as anyone else, but what makes one stand out? What you do outside of the classroom. Put that education to work by doing an internship, volunteering or getting involved with the community.

Going to class and going home doesn’t cut it anymore. Work has to happen during free time and when you’re not getting paid if you want the degree in your hand to pay off in the long run.

Go above and beyond, make yourself tired, try and try until you don’t think you can try anymore. Put in that effort and make yourself hirable. It is rough to juggle being a full time student, working a part time job, doing an internship and still finding enough time to sleep and eat.

People have different tips and tricks for making this time in life easier, but what they don’t tell you is that it is supposed to be hard.

All those sleepless nights, coffee-fueled mornings and drowsy in-betweens where you’re juggling work, school and extracurriculars is what’s going to get you that job … Just remember to practice self-care as well.

The editorial board that writes editorials consists of the editor-in-chief, the managing editor, the copy editor, and the news editor. These opinion pieces are written separately from news articles. They draw on the opinions of the entire writing staff and do not reflect the opinions of any individual staff member. The Jambar’s business manager and non-writing staff do not contribute to editorials, and the advisor does not have final approval.

One thought on “Editorial: Your Degree is Worthless

  1. If you are fresh out of college and want to work in the media market in Youngstown, expect a salary of about 22K and if you have a benefits package you are at the gold standard. Students who think a degree with an internship is worth more than that, need to look at a bigger city, but remember with a major metropolitan city comes a higher cost of living. When I started my first corporate job in 1993 at a natural gas utility company – my starting salary was 34K with a complete benefits package and matching 401K. Tuition reimbursement lauded me a Master’s Degree with that company. I stayed for 10 years and fell victim to downsizing with an ending salary of 49K. Re-entering the job market in 2004 as a Community Relations Manager at Barnes & Noble started me at 38K (with a masters degree) and a full benefits package worth about 5K. Now I am a Community Relations/EEO Director and part time faculty at YSU and I make $800 per credit hour that I teach and I have a comfortable living wage I say all of this to let newly degreed folks know that you have to have education, experience and enthusiasm. Roughly expect to make whatever your age is times 1000. If you are 24 then 24K and so on and that is with a bonafide company AND benefits. Education is important, but know that real life is too.

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