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Is Obtaining A Degree Ever Worth It Financially?

So, I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the costs of obtaining a degree. Unfortunately for us in the UK, the average debt for students graduating today is £50,800. That is an awful lot of money! In that time, the individual could have instead worked full time – both gaining valuable work experience and, of course, money. Obtaining money rather than loaning (and in effect, losing) money is always a good thing!

A student can work alongside their degree however, and loan repayments are wiped 30 years after having obtained said degree. The loan repayments are also a relatively low sum per month, and only need to be begun to be repaid once the individual hits an income of £21,000 +.

With interest applied to the loan amount however, loan repayments can ultimately add up to be a rather large sum altogether.

So, I’ve been wondering. Is obtaining a degree ever worth it financially?

There are many other ways a degree may or may not be “worth it,” but I’m just thinking about the financial aspects of one for now.

I imagine myself, one day in the future when I am repaying back my student loan monthly, and am in a job that required me to have the degree which I had obtained. Now, what if I compare that future me to another person the same age as me, without a degree but with more years of work experience, and by now already in a very stable, well paying job.

I’ve always heard that degrees should be thought of as an investment, but is this really true? Does one always end up better off financially in the long run after having obtaining a degree?

Programmers, for example, do not require that individuals have obtained a degree. Employers will rarely fixate on an applicant’s education history at all in this field, and are much more interested in their actual practical ability in the field at the given time, and will more often hire someone based on their demonstration of said ability. Programmers can make a very decent salary, rising quickly. Programming is also a relatively easy skill to self-teach, and doesn’t really require tuition at all.

My partner has no official prior education in programming whatsoever, and simply self-taught himself as a teenager and young adult for fun. We are both 23 years old, and he is now in a very well paying programming job, whereas I am still struggling through obtaining a degree – with no official work experience to speak of to date! On top of that, I have also already incurred a student debt of over £20k.

So, financially, will my degree ever be worth it? I’m just talking about Bachelor degrees here. Surely it would have been more worth asking my partner to teach me programming instead, right? Honestly, I don’t even know anymore. If I’m honest, I don’t think they are. Some of the highest earners in the UK are Brokers for example, which is a job that doesn’t often require any formal qualifications – only usually a year of work in the relevant field – such as sales.

I suppose money isn’t everything, right? It has made me wonder though. I still have 3 years of my degree, and have begun thinking that perhaps the debt is just not even worth the effort! Especially now that so many people are obtaining degrees – I feel they are almost becoming obsolete over actual real life experience in the industry… I think my answer for this one, in all honesty, will have to be a no! I absolutely do not think a degree is worth it financially. Not in the UK at least!

I certainly don’t think money is everything, but I do know that financially I am currently quite unhappy, so perhaps sometimes money does bring you more happiness. Maybe it is time for a change in direction for me. I think I may start thinking of work and other parts of my life as the center, and my education as a side thing I’m working on, if that makes sense? I do still want to work on m degree, but I think it’s time for me earning a salary to take the center stage! I think I’d definitely feel happier financially that way 🙂 I think it would also be a good idea to get my partner to teach be a bit of programming over the course of my degree, so that once I’m finished, I could work in programming if I want to!

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them!

– Storm

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137 Days Of Summer…

It’s over.

My initial year to get onto an Astrophysics ended yesterday.

If I did well enough in my exams that I took earlier this week, my Astrophysics degree starts on 29th September, according to the University site. The 29th September is a Friday – so I can only imagine that this being the starting date of the course means that this is an induction day of some sort – or that the course ACTUALLY begins on the 2nd October, but they want to make sure all the students are at the University and are ready in time. I’m guessing the former.

That’s 137 days of Summer.

Counting today as the first day, and Thursday 28th September as the last day, I literally have 137 full days of Summer.

I haven’t arranged or scheduled to do anything this Summer – a job or a holiday booked. Not saying I won’t do those things. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.

Anyone who has ever been a student knows that it can be difficult to prioritise anything else in their lives while their course is running. I moved into my new flat last September, and haven’t even had the time to redecorate, or to go through our packing boxes and unpack our things. I haven’t even signed up with the local dentist or doctors yet!

Because of this, I wanted to leave my Summer open. For it to be a period of time where upon asking myself the question “Do I have the time to do X activity…?,” The answer will ALWAYS be YES, rather than the other way around! Finally, I have the time to invest in all the activities I have neglected over the past 8 months. That includes important things  like getting a job too! I intended to get myself  job in September last year, but haven’t been able to find the time to even write a damn CV!

Finally, I’m free.

Free to do whatever the hell I want.

I’ve never had a Summer this long in 5 years…

Booooooooooyah!

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My quest to a career in Astrobiology!

So some time ago I decided it was about time to sit down and make a decision on what it is that I want to do as a career. Me being somewhat of a perfectionist meant that I couldn’t bring myself to find a job/find employment in a field without having done this first. After a lot of thinking and searching, I came to a decision – Astrobiology.

This field is ideal for me. You see, unlike a lot of people, I never found an intense interest/hobby/passion when I was younger and instead found most subjects somewhat interesting. Astrobiology is a subject that involves all my academic interests – geology, ecology, biology, astronomy… For a career in Astrobiology, experts in the fields involved are preferred to individuals who are experts in Astrobiology itself, so I’ve chosen Astronomy to be my focus.

It’s taken me two years since I made that decision to get to where I am today. It hasn’t been easy – it meant having to toughen up and mature quite suddenly and I know that it’s only going to get more difficult, but… Making a life choice and following that choice independently is so freeing. 🙂

I’m currently on a foundation year of a degree in Physics & Astronomy at the University of Sussex.

I guess this post was a little introduction to my educational pursuits. 🙂

– Storm