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I Never Used My College Degree

Sarah has graduated from university in 2016 with a degree in Business Information Systems

Background

I never really knew what I wanted to choose as my major while in university but my parents pressured me to choose something practical. I knew that I didn't want to be something like a lawyer or a doctor so I didn't feel like I had a lot of options. I always loved writing and reading but I thought to myself, what kind of job could I get with something like that? In my freshman year, I was dating a guy and he chose to be an Accounting major. Like any girlfriend, I wanted to spend more time with him so I wanted us to have the same classes and be together. Therefore, I decided to give Business a try. My parents were happy with that answer because it meant I was going to do something practical and I'd get a nice job after college.

The classes weren't too bad but I had no interest in Business especially not Accounting. I knew that I didn't want to do this the rest of my life but I felt stuck. I actually never declared my major until the end of Junior year. By that time, I had already taken most of general ed classes and some entry level Business classes. I knew that I didn't like math so Finance or Decision Sciences was out of the question, I didn't want to work in retail so Marketing or Management wasn't for me either. I wasn't doing well with my upper division Accounting class so Accounting wasn't gonna work either. I finally ended up with Information Systems as my major after doing this process of elimination. Now that I think about it, I could've just been a general Business major instead of choosing but I felt pressured to choose something at this time.

What is Information Systems is what everyone is wondering now. I'll give you a short definition now and no, Information Systems is not the same as IT. Information Systems is learning how to process and store data in different ways. I did have to learn some coding while doing my upper division classes but not as much as Data Science or IT majors.

Expectation

I knew that it wasn't realistic to believe that I would get a job in my field straight out of college. I believed that it would take maybe a few months of applying to companies then I would get a job. With my degree in Business Information Systems, I believed that after graduation, I would've eventually found a job in my field. Everyone says that with my degree, I should be making 60,000-80,000 a year and I'd be rich. However, this hasn't been the case.

Reality

The sad reality is that it's really difficult to get a job with my degree. There's a lot of competition and even when I apply for a job, I never even hear back. I found out that to get a job in a nice company, you need to know someone so it's not just your skills they are looking for. Also, as an Information Systems major, you not only need the degree but extra certifications. These certifications aren't free either so after paying for 4 years of studying in college to get that Bachelor's degree, you need to take additional courses and additional exams which cost a lot of money to be able to get most jobs in this field. Many people have asked me about why I didn't just do an internship in college to get my foot into the door and get to know people? A very short and simple answer to this question is in America, most internships aren't paid and even though my family was paying tuition for me, I had to get a job to have some money for my own stuff. I was living at home so I wasn't paying rent but like all university students, I liked going out with my friends after class or on the weekends. Going out to eat or going to see a movie isn't free and my parents weren't giving me $100 a week for example to have fun so I had to work to earn money.

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In the end, it's been almost 6 years since I've graduated, and still have yet to use my degree even once. I've worked as a cashier, front desk receptionist, office person, main entrance greeter at Disney, and now I'm a teacher. None of these jobs required my Information Systems degree to do the work. I did however need a Bachelor's degree to teach English online. Although, a Bachelor's degree in any subject would do because they didn't specify which major so I still haven't used my degree. Many people get to use their degree after graduation but many end up like me and never do which makes me wonder why do a practical degree at all? I should've just been a writing or literature major like I wanted.

© 2022 Sarah Wong

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