Your Degree Is Worthless

by Dennis Klemenz   School  | College  | Learning  | Work tips  | Education  | Student  | Parents  | 

That degree that you will spend (or spent) the past 2, 4 or 6 years on? It is completely worthless. That is what I tell my college students...and I get the same look of bewilderment and the same comments from each of them. "But friends, my high school, my mentors and other adults all say I need a degree!" They are wrong. A degree is worthless.

At the beginning of a class, I ask my students why they are in that class.

  • "I really want to learn about iOS programming"
  • "Databases seem to be important so I want to learn more about them"
  • "I use an operating system every day so I'd like to learn more"
  • "I only had Tuesday night free and this was the only class on a Tuesday, but distributed systems seem interesting!"

Those are actual responses that I have received from students. Most answers appear to express interest in learning about a particular topic.

But when I ask the BIGGER question of "Why are you at this University?"

  • "I need a degree"
  • "I'm here to get a degree"
  • "I need a degree to get a job"
  • "Jobs require everybody to have a degree"

Those answers are disappointing because these students are being misguided. Those students desperately think they need that degree...and that degree is worthless. But I'll tell you what is not education. An education is PRICELESS. Yet I have only heard two or three students (out of approximately 500) ever tell me they want an EDUCATION.

An education is what will help you in your career. An education will give you the tools to create solutions for problems that you've never seen before. An education will help you understand the people, the society and problems around you.

My degrees are in a box in my attic, or in my basement, or are tucked away in the back of some closet. Truthfully, I have no idea where my degrees are today. But my education walks with me, talks to me, thinks with me, goes everywhere that I have gone and everywhere that I will go. That education has translated into experience and (thankfully) opportunities. I use that education every day of my life.

I work at a credit union that is LOADED with talent. I have no idea how many degrees our CEO, VPs, AVPs, or Directors have - or if they even have degrees! But I know that they are all extremely bright and I know that I can rely on them. I rely on their experience and education to help improve the credit union. They rely on my education and experience to solve problems and present solutions.

When you go to school or training, the focus should be on LEARNING. Not on getting an "A" or getting a degree. LEARN and EARN!!! Focus on obtaining an education. An education is and will always be priceless. Your degree? Without an education, it is worthless.

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