Is a Degree in a Competitive Field Worth the Effort? – Ask a Therapist!

Dear Daniel,

As someone who never went to school when I was younger, I am now perusing a degree. I’m about halfway through, and I feel like the economy is so bad and my field is so competitive, it’s all just not worth it. I fear I may be bar tending until I’m 60. Any advice on how to not kill myself or become an alcoholic?

Dear “Halfway,”

This is a great question and one that I am asked often by prospective students or anyone seeking an advanced degree. Often, I ask people to pause and ask themselves, is the juice worth the squeeze? Will the amount of money and time you put into your education pay off over time (both financially and in terms of your happiness?). If the answer is yes, than the pursuit is simple.

Since you are already halfway through, I would encourage you to finish what you started. Despite the financial windfall at the end of the degree rainbow, I hope that you will feel proud of finishing something and see that you have opened doors to new possibilities. Certainly there must have been a catalyst and dream associated with pursuing this advanced degree.

Since I am not aware of the degree you are pursuing, I will provide the following, albeit somewhat generic suggestions:

1. Take a good look at why you wanted to enter this field. Despite it being competitive, does the prospect still feel exciting? Try to connect to these feelings and allow them to inspire you.

2. Begin to connect with those in your field do gather the information to gain a competitive advantage. Seek out a small but manageable internship to get your foot in the door and experience a day-in-the-life of sorts.

3. Ask yourself if you’d rather be bar tending for the indefinite future.

Life is a journey and you already have a foot on this path. See the bright side and reconnect to what brought you there originally. Work on eliminating some of the obstacles, both mental and actual, which are preventing you from finishing sooner, and engage more with peers that already have your degree; they can provide much needed advice and support.

The mere fact that your field is competitive is positive. It means that the degree and skill set is sought after and has the potential to bring success. Set yourself apart from the crowd now by being proactive and you won’t have to worry as much about job prospects when you ultimately graduate.

Do you have a question for Daniel of Williamsburg Therapy Group? Ask him anything anonymously here and we will post his personalized answers every Tuesday.

1 Comment

  1. Jen G says:

    Beverly from Florida emailed in this comment:
    “I hope that the person who wrote to “Daniel” about their new education keeps up with it ! I had a great education, but it was not geared for anything specific. Well at 42 years old, while evaluating my life and where I was going I decided to call a local school in Fort Lauderdale and find out what I needed to do to get into Nursing School. It was a rough two year course and getting back into the swing of things such as studying and retaining the material and test taking, then taking State Boards went much easier than I anticipated. In fact, I graduated in 94 at the top of my class. Who could have asked for anything more?

    I hope the person who wrote in, stays in school and reaches their goal. I can speak from experience when I say it was the absolute best thing I ever did and I ended up making almost 3 times more the salary than before I started school again. I can’t begin to tell you the pride I felt inside of finally doing something I had originally wanted to do after graduating high school. The graduation class was small, but when I saw all my family and friends sitting out there in the audience attending my Graduation————–well, I truly was floating in mid air

    That person who wrote in must not give up! I know it can be difficult at times, but hang in there as the rewards are so much more.!!!”

    Reply

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