Breaking Up with My Four Year Degree

There's no disputing the concept that “university isn't for everyone.” But if we look at the current dynamic of society, we see one consistent trend: increasing automation. Technology today provides conveniences that generations living in the 1800s couldn't even dream of – but it comes at the price of cutting out extraneous jobs that are considered costly. Low-skill job availability is decreasing in number to make way for automation, while high-skill jobs are increasing in demand. This creates pressure for high-school students to get that post-secondary education to make up for the new demand in complex knowledge. Unfortunately, this creates pressure on students to pay extraordinary amounts of money for a degree that may or may not be useful to them in the future.

This pressure is coupled with our newly established perception of “instant gratification.” Individuals nowadays want to have things immediately – be it information, purchasable products, money – the list could continue. Technological advances allow the concept of instant gratification to effectively become a reality. But this concept spills into other parts of our lives in unhealthy ways that potentially cause us a great deal of emotional grief. For a student, that concept would simply be “finish my degree as quickly as possible and get a job.” No, a career.

And when it takes longer than four years to complete that “four-year degree”, it frustrates them. Depresses them. “Why aren't I already done this degree?” This pressure to complete a degree “on time” and to finish with their friends ends up creating the perception that he/she is not good enough, and potentially causes him or her to drop out of university.

I've been in University for an absurdly long time. Long enough to shy away from the “what year are you in? How old are you?” conversation; until recently that is. Maybe I'm slow on the realization, but what I know now is that my life has been a series of comparisons between myself and the world. Most of these comparisons tend towards degrading myself in some way. But the message I want to leave with you is that it's okay to take your time, even if everyone else around you aren’t. Enjoy your time in University – it could be the last time you ever enjoy this lifestyle. I'm being a hypocrite about it, I know, but it's time we stop and enjoy the experience, for what it's worth.

Don't let your negativity stop you from being the best you can be.