My Short-Lived College Education Journey
The need for a college education to determine success in today’s marketplace is likely one of the most debated topics out there. Let me start by confessing that I DID go to college with the hopes of becoming a special education teacher. This pursuit of my long-time career goal lasted all of three weeks. Yes, you read that right, three WEEKS! While I missed my family immensely, the final determination may have been based a bit on the fact that I met my hubby a month before heading off to college. Enough said. Three weeks of crying phone calls begging for release from this institution of higher learning 6 hours away, finally softened my dad’s heart, and he came to the rescue!
After only three weeks, my college education ended and my career goals were dashed to the ground–or were they? With little to no job experience, I had to recalculate. On a whim, I decided to attend a local technical school to become a medical assistant. This meant attending night classes in downtown St. Louis to learn medical terminology, transcription, etc. A bit scary, yes! I completed the program and added my resume to the pile at a local employment agency along with mailing out resumes on my own in response to ads in the local newspaper.
As destiny would have it, I received a call for an interview, but not from a medical establishment. The call came from the Director of Public Relations for a newly established leg of Southwestern Bell created by the divestiture process. Long story short, she offered me the job and, at 19, I began my work as Administrative Assistant, working out of a “makeshift” office as the company literally grew up around us. As the company expanded, so did my boss’s responsibilities. After only a few years, I found myself working in the Executive Office for the now Vice President of Public Relations and Advertising. This was hands-down my favorite job ever! This amazing lady took a chance on me, an inexperienced college “dropout,” and I blossomed and grew under her direction and coaching.
In the years since, I have held several other positions including (but not limited to), preschool teacher, church secretary, editor, proofreader, typesetter, independent designer, entrepreneur, etc. and have done everything from wipe noses to prepare business plans for large companies. Were most of these jobs made available to me because of my amazing three weeks of college training? No! In all honestly, most of these jobs were made available to me simply because of my high school typing teacher, the encouragement of my parents to work hard and serve with integrity, and my own drive to succeed. Yes, you read that right! I took two years of typing in high school with an amazing teacher who taught us everything from keystrokes to office management. I graduated high school with a typing speed of 95+ wpm and a love for administrative tasks. Never would I have guessed, that the high school level training I received then would provide the skills I would need to support my family even to this day.
Is College for Everyone?
So is college for every one? Not necessarily. Neither of my siblings have a college education and both have thrived, with my brother officially “retiring” at 50, although he continues to use his skills and passions in both the business world as well as the music world.
Is a college education a great idea? Absolutely! My hubby and all three of my children have attended colleges, with my youngest currently finishing up her culinary degree this year. They are doing amazing things in the world of business and ministry as they live out their gifts and passions!
Should a college degree or lack thereof define your story? Pardon me while I shout out a resounding “No!” here! Allowing your education status to determine your self-worth is a real and dangerous matter. A simple piece of paper does not have the power to determine your value or ability to succeed or fail. The only thing that determines that is you!
What passion drives you?
So what passion drives you as you seek to write your “perfect” story? What gets you up in the morning, excited to start the day? What passions do others see in you? Does your passion require a college degree, an on-line course or two, or simply hands-on experience? Is there someone that you know with a similar passion that you could take out for a cup of coffee and discuss your dreams with? Once you hone in on what your passion is, you simply have to map out the plan to get there and get buckled in and ready for the ride! Is it going to be easy? Probably not. Are there going to be setbacks and roadblocks ahead? Absolutely! However, in the long run your passion, perseverance, and desire to succeed are going to drive you to the finish line, and at the end of the journey, my friend, your perfect story is going to be worth every mile!