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lbwhite89's avatar

Did I really waste the last 3 years in school?

Asked by lbwhite89 (1208points) March 23rd, 2011

I graduated high school in 2008 with a 4.1 GPA and headed right into nursing school. I took a semester of general ed courses and then skipped a semester to save money while I was waiting for my nursing program start date. I completed two semesters of clinicals and started on my third before I decided nursing just isn’t for me. Once I made that decision, I had to take that semester off as well because it was too late in the semester to pick up new classes. This semester I am back to general education courses at the technical college I’ve been at since 2008 and I got accepted into a 4-year university starting in August to get my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration. My career goal is to work in Human Resources.

So, I spent three years at a technical school working toward a degree I no longer want. I’m happier now that I’m studying something I enjoy, but I can’t help but feel like a huge failure for wasting all of that time. I have over 30 transferable credits, but since I do not have any foreign languages (they weren’t required for nursing) and limited gen eds, there’s a good chance I’ll be in school for another 3½ to 4 years before I get my bachelors. That will make me 25 when I graduate and start my career.

I am engaged and don’t plan on having a child until after I graduate (and most likely at least a year after that). I know 25 is a fine age to have your first child, but as someone who should have graduated at 22, not 25, it bums me out that I won’t be really starting my life for that long. I am definitely going to do it, because I want that degree, but I feel like a bit of a failure seeing my former high school classmates getting ready for graduation and I feel like I’m just starting.

I keep telling myself that people go to college in their 40’s or older and succeed and I think that’s an amazing accomplishment, but I was always made out to be really going somewhere. My parents were disappointed when I switched my major and that doesn’t make things any better.

Another thing I’m really worried about is paying for school. I only have $4,000 in loans now and the rest was paid for with grants and other financial aid. Once I get past my 4 years, will they give me less money? Seven years in school to get a bachelor’s degree sounds ridiculous to me, so I’d imagine that the government may not want to pay for that much school. I don’t want to have an excessive amount of loans by the time I graduate.

Any words of wisdom would be great.

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9 Answers

KateTheGreat's avatar

It’s great that you quit before you got stuck in a career that you didn’t want! You’re not wasting this time at all. You’re bettering yourself. Sure, it’s not always desirable to graduate a little later than you wanted, but at least you are doing something for yourself. Also, you should check into any type of grants or scholarships that you can obtain. Loans can always be paid back if you have to resort to them, but you can still live comfortably while paying them off. Just don’t stress about everything and it will come to you!

WestRiverrat's avatar

Priorities change. Don’t beat yourself up about not keeping up with your classmates. Some people take longer to find their calling than others.

You are in a better postition than if you had the same circumstances 15 years ago. There are enough accredited online schools that you do not have to quit your schooling. You can find a course that allows you to study at a pace you can manage now. So you can continue your education without sacrificing your life. Or the other way around.

Seelix's avatar

I have to agree with @KatetheGreat that it’s a very good thing that you got out of the program before going too far with it. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll be 35 before I’m done with my PhD and getting started with my career. I spent 6 years on my BA and one on my MA… Better late than never.

deni's avatar

Would you rather have wasted the rest of your life doing something you didn’t want to do? Then of course you aren’t wasting your time. 25 is still really young, and you aren’t alone at all. I’m 21 and have done 2 years of gen ed’s but by the time I go back to school and graduate, if I ever do, I’ll be at least 25. I see no problem with it.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Education is never wasted. Life never turns out exactly like you plan it, and you just never know when your experience with health care and health sciences will be a valuable background for a position that has nothing to do with that.

Lightlyseared's avatar

No. Those three years helped you work out who you are and what you want to do in life. How’s that a waste?

glasseggplant's avatar

No…......what you did was decide before you wasted 15 years with school and work….So move on…......not wasted at all !!!

geeky_mama's avatar

Another way to look at the past 3 years is that you just gave yourself a competitive advantage when hiring into an HR position in the future.

If you target your (future) job search for Health Care agencies (e.g. Cardinal Health, Kaiser Permanente), large Insurance companies (United Health Care, Blue Cross) or Medical Device companies (Medtronic, St. Jude, Johnson & Johnson)—you’ll have the added bonus of already knowing a bit about a medical field (from your nursing studies) and knowing some medical terminology. This will differentiate you from other entry level HR candidates and perhaps be an asset to your job search.

Having some additional skills/knowledge is never a waste of time.
And..as the others pointed out, better to have figured out you didn’t want to be in nursing before completing your degree. Many folks change directions mid-life after having a family and large financial commitments.

longtresses's avatar

If this is any solace, my friend switched from pharmacy to business after 4 years into the 6-year pharmacy program. Life goes on…

30 more years in the work force is an incredibly long time. He’s decided he wasn’t going to carry this guilt and baggage with him.

You did what was best for you at that moment. Hindsight is always 20/20.

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