Why Finish College Now?

As an older (I refuse to accept the term “old”) returning student I am passionate about school and learning. One of my great desires is to awaken in younger people a recognition of the importance of finishing their degree while they’re still young. Almost 40 years ago I was in my first year of college and deciding whether to continue.  I had no clear idea of what I wanted to do, I didn’t have money to continue, and frankly, I was sick of school.

Like David Letterman, I offer the top 5 reasons to finish your degree now:

  1. People will think you’re more intelligent. I have experienced this in conversations when someone learns that I don’t have a degree—they suddenly seem to think I’m less intelligent. Weird, but true.
  2. Your earning power is much greater: According to 2012 data on the National Center for Education Statistics website, $30,000 w/o college degree; $46,900 with. $59,600 with a Master’s Degree. Multiply that times the number of years in your work life and that’s a significant difference (especially if you’re not starting later in life).
  3. When you do figure out what you want to do, the route to getting there is much shorter if you start with a 2 year degree.
  4. Cost of college is likely to increase. Average annual tuition and fees cost when I first attended college was an average of $984. It’s a lot more expensive now I know, but it’s probably going to cost even more 10, 20 or 40 years from now.
  5. College is stimulating/hectic/thought-provoking/challenging; and every person you meet has a unique story to tell.

The Earl of Beaconsfield, former Prime Minister of England, said:
“The secret of success in life is for a [person] to be ready for his [her] opportunity when it comes.”

Please, finish your degree now. Don’t let any obstacles get in your way, and you’ll be prepared to seize those opportunities when they arrive.

Janet Quinn
PR/Marketing Intern
Cascadia College

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