Even Without Student Loans, I Regret My Degree

Allison Fleck
2 min readSep 8, 2021

I’m just not sure what I got out of it.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I graduated from college in the early 00’s with only a small amount of student loan debt. The $10,000 I did have was paid off within a year with the modest salary I earned at my first job without living like a frugal hermit.

So it’s not about the money.

I’m just not sure what I got out of the whole experience.

Though there are some highly technical fields that do require advanced training and years of study, most jobs are not in those fields. Engineers, doctors, and lawyers all needs very specific skillsets and knowledge that are honed through rigorous coursework.

But most jobs are not that.

For myself and the majority of people that I know (who are an overly educated bunch), the skills we use on a daily basis were learned on the job. Internships provided valuable learning opportunities and the rest of college was mostly fluff that we had to get through to get our degrees.

I have a degree in pure mathematics; I took several classes which taught me the correct way to prove mathematical theories.

In my job now, I add and subtract. Occasionally I multiply or divide.

I have never once been asked to prove the theories behind my daily addition and subtraction.

I ended up in a well-respected, highly technical field. I add and subtract specific numbers, and I needed a lot of training to get where I am now. But none of it happened in school.

At my first job I learned the importance of showing up, being focused, and getting the tasks done. At my second job, I learned how to navigate office politics (by getting a lot of things wrong). At my third job, I learned how to be meticulous and accurate. At my fourth job, I learned how to work hard under pressure and stick to strict deadlines. At my fifth job, I learned how to write better business communications.

None of the skills I learned on the job could have been taught in a college course. The needed to be learned by doing.

I understand that college is a gatekeeper and a degree is a way of proving some level of intelligence and perseverance. But is it really worth four years?

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Allison Fleck

Data analyst and life analyst. Proud maker of mistakes. A big fan of learning lessons the hard way.