Why You Don’t Need A Degree To Become Successful

Dayana Sabatin


I grew up with the vision of going to college one day.

I couldn’t wait if I’m honest.

I was going to go to college, I was going to get fantastic grades, I would get my degree, and my mother would rave about how successful her daughter is and how cool it is that I got a degree in x, y, and z.

It was a fantastic plan.

I didn’t have any degree in mind; I knew that I wanted to be a writer; in fact, I was encouraged to become one. I had an imagination that ran miles long, I was a nonstop reader, and I was an introvert. If those aren’t the qualities of a writer, I don’t know what are.

We’re often told that we NEED to go to college.

I don’t remember the exact month or week or day that I decided to pursue other degrees, but I can tell you right now if you’re struggling between choosing the career of your dreams or choosing a job that will pay the bills, pick the career of your dreams.

It’ll save you time, it’ll save you money, and it’ll save you heartache.

I was raised by a single mom who gave me and my sisters the world. There was always good food on the table, clothes on our back, shoes on our feet and there were always Christmas presents under the tree; we were blessed and had enough. However, I always wanted more.

Doesn’t everyone?

I wanted to become somebody. I wanted to become somebody my mom would be proud of. Everybody in my family was either becoming a nurse, or going to dental school, or becoming a fancy engineer; however, when it came to writing, that was viewed as more of a hobby than a career.

When I was in high school, I switched over to online school. As I said, I was an introvert. However, to get a particular credit that I needed, I had to take one class on their campus. I did, and I remember sitting in class next to a blonde boy. I remember asking him what he was going to do after graduation, and he told me very matter-of-factly:

“I’m going to be a businessman.”

To which I responded:

“Oh, so what college will you be attending?”

And he said:

“Why would I go to college? I can become a businessman without going to college.”

In all honesty, I was shocked. I had never heard someone say that before. I have no idea what this kid does now, several years later, but I do know that he moved to San Diego with his girlfriend, and he travels frequently and has a helicopter. I think it’s safe to assume he’s doing well.

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, dropped out of college at 19

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard after two years.

Evan Williams, the founder of Twitter, attended college for three semesters before dropping out.

Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard and said it took him 5 minutes to make that decision.

I’m not saying that you should drop out of college. I think college is fantastic. I just don’t think it’s always necessary.

A college degree does not guarantee a high-paying job.

There are many degrees out there that can create a path for you to earn a 6 figure income. However, getting that degree does not guarantee that you will make it all.

There are many people out there that have degrees that cost them over 100,000+ dollars worth, yet they remain unemployed or underpaid.

I’m not saying college degrees are useless or that you shouldn’t attend a four-year university — just that they aren’t required to achieve success.

If you want to go to one, by all means, go! However, it’s essential to look at the facts. It’s crucial to analyze what you truly want out of life and whether or not college is going to get you there.

Take a school teacher, for instance.

To get a bachelor’s in education, it’ll roughly cost them 50k or maybe 60k.

That’s not putting into consideration food, living expenses, etc.

The average salary of a school teacher is around 30–40k.

How much time will be spent paying off school loans?

How much will additional money be spent on interest?

The problem with the equation ‘college = success’ is that formal, academic education is not for everyone, and it’s now always necessary for what you genuinely want to do.

Formal education is required for certain degrees — YES.

However, other skills can make you successful.

Talent can create a path of success if you learn to utilize it correctly.

Discipline, hard work, marketable skills. All of these things can create a successful path for you to live the life you want to live and make the money that you want to make.

The time you spend in a classroom — could have been time spent gaining real-life experience.

In today’s day and age, experience overpowers education.

People don’t want to hire someone who went to college for four years; they want to hire someone who was out on the field working that same role for four years and doing it well.

Education might land you that interview, but the experience is ultimately what lands you the job.

When I first started attending college, I chose computer science as my major.

Reminder: I wanted to be a writer, but it was considered “a hobby,” and so every single day, I went to college, and I sat through the most dull classes I could imagine.

I ended up doing an accelerated tech-program that would teach me marketable and technical skills for six months, then you get placed at an internship for another six months, and then, you got a job.

I worked at Yahoo as an intern for six months, learning everything, and working hard.

I ended up getting two job offers at the end of my internship. One was for an aerospace tech company; the other was a start-up.

For the next two years, I worked hard; I got more roles within the tech field, I moved to California where I landed another role at Yahoo, and let me tell you, education had nothing to do with it.

It was all based on my experience. I had been in the field; I had done the work, I had proven my potential.

Was I happy? Sure, I was making money, and I could tell people I worked at Yahoo. There are lots of perks to working in a tech company. And I was extremely grateful for the opportunity.

Was I fulfilled? No. Because I was choosing a career that was only paying the bills.

If you are interested in tech, I want to note that real-life experience is precious to employers. If you can learn to code on your own, you’re going to look 10x better than the dude who went to college for four years and “learned the basics of python.”

You don’t need a degree to become successful.

I’m not trying to talk you out of college; I hope you know that. I wanted to write this to share my story and share my thoughts on the matter.

You can be successful without the degree.

You can create a business without a piece of paper that says you understand business administration.

You can start a company without a college degree.

You can be a writer without a degree.

You can achieve your goals without a degree.

I wish someone had told me that.

I wish someone had told me to pick the career I was passionate about. I wish someone had told me not to waste time and money on a job I thought would be helpful to my bank account while slowly sucking the life out of me.

I want to be that someone to you.

Pick the career that sets your soul on fire.

Pick the career that makes you excited to wake up every morning.

The amount of satisfaction and bliss I get from doing what I love is incomparable to any role I’ve ever been in.

So do it. Pick the career of your dreams. And remember, you might not need a degree for it.

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Freelance writer sharing thoughts on self-improvement, productivity, and success.

Santa Monica, CA

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