63: 3510 Hours

(I am currently mentally exhausted after a long day of writing, and physically exhausted after a Planetshakers concert held at my church after said long day of writing. More on the latter in tomorrow’s post, or maybe the day after’s. I created this blog to write, not to make promises. So there)

“You should at least finish your degree so you have something to fall back on.”

It’s a sentence I heard for the first time when I was 16 or 17, and at that time, it made perfect sense to me. Yeah, it’s good to have a backup plan – what if I suddenly find myself jobless and unable to pay the bills? It’s probably a good idea to get a business degree.

Today, at 22, I want to go back and slap myself twice in the face.

It’s a sentence that I have been hearing repeated with alarming frequency. Every other person is saying it, and earlier this evening, I heard these very words repeated to me. What does it even mean, anyway? To get a degree to “fall back on”? It implies that the degree forms the solid ground beneath my feet when I exit academia. It implies that without a degree, there is only an empty chasm greeting me when my castles in the air vaporize into steam.

Really? Is that what everyone believes in today?

This is my final semester in university. From the time I began this journey in May 2009, I have spent 12 hours of week in class, and probably another 3 hours or so on class-related activities, for 4 and a half years. That’s 234 weeks. 3510 hours. What have I got to show for it? If you ask today, I’d say that the 3510 hours could have been spent on more profitable ventures. 3510 hours could have made a much better writer than I am today. 3510 hours could have flown me halfway across the world to carve out a living for myself in an unknown land. 3510 hours could have made me a millionaire.

Yet I have spent most of that 3510 hours with my eyes glazed over and waiting for the next break, or for the class to end.

I don’t believe in getting a degree. I believe in getting knowledge. I believe in learning. I believe in coming alive so that I can become the best possible person that I can be. Say so, what is the use of getting a piece of paper that will only get you as far as the next entry-level position, where you will push paper all day long in a pigeonhole?

If all I wanted was a career, I wouldn’t want one that puts me in a sterile environment and makes me go through a mind-numbing routine day after day in exchange for money. If all I wanted was money, I wouldn’t be in university to begin with. I mean, have you seen the average pay for fresh graduates? No. What I want is to grow. To feel alive. To create. To make dreams come true. I would go and become a bar singer. A street-sweeper. A coffee brewer. A struggling writer.

But I will not be average.

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