Ladies and gentlemen, as my Insta-fam knows, I just submitted my thesis for my master’s program. I. AM. DONE. Just call me Master of strategic communications for social change and advocacy. 👩🏻🎓NBD. (I took these self-portraits to celebrate my last day of class for Instagram lol!) I went to American University in Washington, D.C. and highly recommend to students considering the school and program.
The biggest thing I feel is gratitude. I am grateful for the privilege of a higher education. I acknowledge that’s what this is: a huge privilege.
Now, that I’m sitting in the sweet stillness of a completed degree: one gratitude, in particular, is washing over me.
In hindsight, more than anything, I’m grateful I got my master’s degree even though it wasn’t required for my career.
I have seen a lot of people say things along the lines of, “I get going to college if you’re going to be a doctor or a scientist, but I don’t believe in college if it’s not required for your career.” While they are totally entitled to that opinion, it kind of breaks my heart. Why? Because they’re missing some of the biggest benefits of going to college. These benefits have very little to do with tests or books or papers.
Of course, tons of people want to know if it’s worth the investment. YES. Absolutely, yes. Because one gets so much more than book-smart through college.
The following are all of the reasons I’m glad I got my masters even though it wasn’t required for my career.
Because I was a student:
- I got to work in the State Department at the U.S. Embassy in London — this opportunity is extremely difficult to get when you aren’t a student. They want the short-term opportunity to shape careers and education. If I wasn’t a masters student, I probably wouldn’t have had such an opportunity.
- Oh right, I LIVED IN LONDON FOR THREE MONTHS. Again, I wouldn’t have been brought to London for work if I wasn’t a master’s student.
- I have made friends (shout of out Elise!) in my program who have walked with me through breakups, my first clothing line launching, birthday celebrations — and have become the dearest of D.C. friends. Getting my masters got my life-changing friendships.
- All of my professors in my program are currently working in their fields and have used their connection to advance my career and open opportunities for me. (In D.C. — that means you have professors who know Presidential staff — OKAY.)
- There are unique life experiences open to only students. Because I was a student, one day I marched into a senate building + asked to speak with someone on Elizabeth Warren’s team. Oh yeah, I had no appointment. Being a student gave me the reason to be there + they gave me the time of day.
- Can I list all the things I learned off the top of my head? It would take me a moment to remember all the theories and whatnot. But I have been in conversations that have expanded my mind as a woman, a professional, and a human. It makes me more agile in my field and more critical in my everyday thinking and problem-solving. That’s more valuable than knowing every theory I ever read about. (Honestly, I don’t care about those that much.
- I love my career field now more than when I started because of all I learned!
- There is an energy that comes with growing yourself and working towards that degree. I wore heels to class more often than not. *I just took a DNA test. Turns out I’m 100% a badass woman getting that degree*
- I believe in people who are self-taught. Starting a company at 15 made me a pro at teaching myself everything. However, anyone with a phone can put whatever they want in they’re IG bio or on their website. There’s a different kind of credibility that comes with a degree. I’m an expert in my field + no one can take that away.
This article isn’t trying to convince anyone who does not want or cannot afford to go to college to do so. It’s for people who feel the significance of their decisions weighing in the balance. For the woman wanting a little nudge in one direction or another — maybe this is your sign. 😘
I’ll say it again: I’m grateful I got my master’s degree even though it wasn’t required for my career. It grew me into the woman I am today! Did I need the books or tuition costs? Hell no. However, it transformed me into an even more confident human, both in my personal life and in my work life. As a result, you know I’m wearing those heels with a little more sass these days. Xx