Since my last posting regarding passions and fields of study worth pursuing, I did some more thinking. This brought up the question, “is it even worth it to study further?”
This bothered me quite a bit and so I decided to do some research.
I made a list of twenty people whom I know and who have finished some or other level of university training. Some have Bachelor Degrees and/or have Masters Degrees, and others have Doctorates. I decided to have a little chat with each one, and here is what I discovered:
1. All agreed that they regret the personal time they lost whilst studying. Such as missing out on family events, not being there for loved ones, not having any time for themselves, missing out on their children’s lives, et cetera et cetera. The list goes on and on. When I asked them if they think it was all worthwhile in the end, they all said they were not sure because they can never get that time back, even though they have their degrees now.
2. Most agreed that the modules/subjects they studied have not been of any value in their professions. Now this is something I have experienced as well with education studies. Most of the modules I completed were of no use to me during my relief teaching or practical teaching periods and had absolutely nothing to do with how a real school or classroom functions. Even the methods we were taught to use when doing lesson plans, assessments and curriculum planning were not in use in any of the schools I had been to.
3. Fourteen agreed that the salary they are currently receiving was/is not worth the amount their studies cost them in the end. It is interesting to note that eighteen of the twenty admitted that they are still paying off their studies.
Okay, so far it would seem like studying is not worthwhile, however when I asked all twenty people what they think the benefits of their studies are/were, I got the following answers:
1. All mentioned the joy they felt when they finally completed their studies and got to graduate. They likened this feeling to having a child or getting married.
2. All mentioned the sense of accomplishment they feel.
3. All mentioned how much better people treat them since they have graduated.
4. Most agreed that they have found it easier to get employment since graduating.
This little research exercise helped me a lot and I recommend it to anyone who is in doubt, but who is already leaning towards a “yes” or “no” answer. The only problem is that in my case I have no idea if it is worthwhile for me or not (since the yes/no equation is perfectly 50/50 with me).
So, the question still remains, “is it even worth it to study further?” Update: See answer here-below (in 2017 update).
Academics Can Kill Your Sanity 2016
Edit: I have finally found the answer to the question, “Is it worth it to study further?”. It is simple really; each person needs to decide this for him/herself. Yes, it is true that it does help to ask for the opinions of others (as per my exercise above), however, this should only be something you do in order to affirm a choice that YOU yourself have already made. You should never base your decisions on the viewpoints of others. There exists no tailor made ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. Take your time and think it through. Ask yourself questions such as:
1. Will a degree help me in my future career of choice?
2. What do I want to gain out of studying further?
3. Do the benefits of a degree outweigh the costs in my opinion?
4. Will I enjoy studying?
5. Will I be able to be dedicated and focused enough during my studies?
6. What are the chances I will want to quit at a later stage?
7. Can I pursue my chosen career without a degree?
Mull your final choice over in your head for a few weeks and then only, once you have reached a final verdict, ask the opinions of others (as I did in the posting/piece above).
Good luck in your choices.