Is A Degree the Only Key to Success?

"You need a university degree to pay the bills." Does that age-old bit of advice sound familiar to you? Society (and our parents) have conditioned us to believe that formal education is the only viable route to success. Is it really though? With more people showing that you can be successful, degree or not, we're beginning to question the notion. This is not to bash down the truth in formal education being a vital part of many careers. You can't simply wake up and decide to be a neurosurgeon without a formal education, but have careers such as these been assigned as the only routes to success? Other careers like film and media are often very largely dependent on your personal film reel or journalistic portfolio, with your experience in the field often being as important (if not more in some cases) as your university papers. Some of the biggest Richie Riches of the world didn't set foot in a tertiary institution and they've been laughing all the way to the bank for years. Here are non-university conforming ballers:

1. Ellen DeGeneres: Whoever hasn't heard of Ellen DeGeneres has clearly been living under a rock (no offense intended...she's just that HUGE). "She enrolled in the University of New Orleans but dropped out after only one semester. She worked odd jobs from a house painter to a vacuum salesperson to an oyster shucker." After doing stand-up comedy for a while, Ellen finally entered the world of TV where she worked on the Tonight Show and eventually went on to start her now much-loved talk show Ellen.

2. Anna Wintour: Editor in chief of Vogue (USA) never attended a tertiary institution after graduating from North London Collegiate School. She climbed her way to the top of the fashion magazine ladder, eventually landing her in the top seat of Vogue USA, where she's been since 1988.

3. Steve Jobs: the creator of Apple (...need we say more) only spent one semester in college after dropping out and later starting one of the largest grossing businesses in the world.

4. John Rockefeller: They don´t describe a wealthy person as a Rockefeller for no reason... John Rockefeller was one of the wealthiest Americans of his time. "The Standard Oil Company founder, magnate, and philanthropist only got a high school education and brief bookkeeping studies before he went to work at the age of 16."

5. Kim Kardashian: The famous Keeping up with the Kardashians reality show star never graduated from a tertiary level institution, but sure knows how to build a family empire and brand herself.

If you're not keen on the idea of going to university then why not volunteer, invest in your God-given talents or simply work part time before you figure out what it is you really want to do with your life. You never know where your journey may take you. (Take a peek at these tips from The Guardian).

So whether you're pursuing a tertiary education or not, you can still be a success. Remember what Steve Jobs once said:

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."