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What’s the value of education?

I am not a University graduate. I have 2 1/2 yrs. completed towards a BA. I was on a full athletic scholarship, but I left after my 2nd year. I guess I was homesick and burnt out from training so intensely for so many years. Looking back, it wasn’t anything I couldn’t suck up for another 2 years … but back then, quitting and going home seemed like a matter of life or death. I was such an idiot!

And I can’t go back there and finish up my degree because I refuse to play elite level sports again. I still play 3 or 4 times a week, and I still go to the gym almost every day, but I don’t obsessively train for 5-6 hrs a day like I used to (in the summer it was 8 hrs/day!!!). I think that might kill me! Anyway, to go back without a scholarship, as an international student, it would cost me $36,000 for tuition and board alone.

Of course, it’s easy to reflect on how stupid I was, now that I’ve taken myself far away from that situation. And it’s not like I fully regret quitting, because I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had stayed … but I’m upset that I had a FULL SCHOLARSHIP (i.e. free money), and passed it up because I believed I was too tired to train, and too homesick to continue.

I have a college diploma hanging up on the wall behind me from a 2-year program I graduated from last year. At least that’s something. And it’s transferable, so I only have to take 2 more years to earn my B.A. in Communication Studies. That was the plan. I have an acceptance letter from Athabasca University’s distance education program sitting in a folder at home, and I had every intention of taking classes as soon as I gained full-time employment after college. So a year later, why haven’t I taken a single class?

The big barrier is money. Isn’t that always the case? :) Other priorities came up for me, namely paying off my student loans. And now, saving up for a down payment on a condo. It’s approximately $650 for each class through Athabasca, all distance-ed, so I could still continue to work full-time. I need 20 classes. $650 x 20 = $13,000.

I really really REALLY don’t want to take out student loans again if I don’t have to. So is it worth it? Is it worth $13,000 for a university degree? Is it really going to help me out in the job force?

The job I have now required a university degree and 3 years of experience – I have neither and got the job. So can experience outweigh education? Or was it just a fluke that I got hired here? In the future, are my resumes going to be tossed out as soon as they’re received because I don’t fit the educational mold they’re after?

If an employer is looking for someone with a degree, and all I have is a diploma and a bunch of experience, is that employer going to pick the person with the degree and little to no experience? Because if that’s the case, I don’t want to get screwed over, and I’ll go get that degree. But if it’s just a matter of digging a little more and applying to more places before an employer decides to considers me, then maybe it’s not worth it. What do you think?

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