Do you ever have moments where you sit and think… you could’ve and should’ve graduated already, have married someone by now, bought a home and started a family? That was me.
I remember days where I’d be scrolling through my Facebook or Instagram feed, and I’d feel this pang of envy (aka FOMO) every time I saw a friend or family member’s big announcement. I’d always think to myself, “I should’ve been engaged by now too, right?” or “shouldn’t I have already moved out two years ago?” Of course these aren’t exactly positive thoughts but as a 20-something year old, they came and went rather frequently (especially at family gatherings or events).
This idea of what success is and isn’t is and was no stranger to me. I am the oldest daughter, the oldest grandchild, the “second” mom to everyone younger than me – so it wasn’t hard to comprehend what others wanted for me. Of course, their intentions were good – “I just want the best for you.” “I want you to be successful, that’s all.” And I get that. But, no one should feel like they are bound to someone else’s definition of success.
Forbes published an article in 2016, titled “My Biggest Regret in Life: Going to College.” It highlighted the author’s POV on why you just might regret continuing higher-ed. Many, in fact, do believe that, “College isn’t a shortcut to success. In fact, it may be a roadblock to your success.” And respectively, I understand that too. Everyone’s experiences are different. Someone could’ve had a crappy experience during their first semester while another believes that it’s just a waste of time. In the last few years, the perception behind not going to college is changing – and many are searching for creative ways to obtain real-world experiences without having to spend huge weeps of money for a piece of paper or to “read a book.”
In contrast, Abound: Finish College, a college guidance system for degree-seeking adults, wrote a blog post breaking down the advantages of earning your degree: 1) a changing job market 2) an ill-prepared labor force 3) the impact of a college degree for your family, friends, children and community.
In fact, experts expect that by the year 2020, two out of every three jobs will require a bachelor’s degree.
These are all valid reasons and perspectives – but again, it’s what works for other people. It’s how others define success but it’s not how you define it. So hopefully during this pandemic, you’re able to slow down and truly think about how others have influenced or pressured you into thinking the way they do, how your experiences contribute to who you are today, and what true success looks like [for you] in the next 3-5 years. Maybe even 10 years.