How do you calculate the worth of a degree?

5 May 2016 marks the end of 1/4 of my Journey here in NUS.

Like the usual me, I would always feel at a loss after my exams and while I fret over the release of results, I would also think a lot about my future after every major exams. I’m quite sure this rings well with many of the other students who are studying out there. One of the things that I think about most of the time is the worth of my degree.

With many of my friends from secondary school headings to Polytechnics after their Olevels, many of them eventually did not end up in university and instead, went out to work and do the things that they love. While I scroll through my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, looking at how they are able to buy expensive watches, eat at high-end restaurant and go travel to beautiful places using their current pay, it makes me filled with envy and jealousy. I can’t help but start comparing. Being of the same age, my friends are already out there earning their pay while here I am, memorising Freudian’s theory, learning about the different parts of the brain and many other more theories that I am not sure if its even useful. Worst of all, I still had to stretch my hands out to get allowance from my parents (Given that I AM ALREADY 20) and get them to pay  my school fees.

Should I just quit school? I ask myself sometimes.

More often than not, I would question the worth of my degree. How much will I get paid for that degree in Psychology that so many people has? Which company would actually want to hire me with thousands and thousands of Psychology graduate graduating each year? Furthermore, my dream of becoming a clinical psychologist requires a Master degree, and does this renders my Honours Degree worthless?

I thought to myself, “maybe if I started working earlier and gain more experience, I could perhaps earn a decent or even higher pay compare to the me who will graduate in about 2-3 years time”. This then leads me to a thought of “how does my degree actually values add to what I want to do in future”.

And so, I started coming up with reasons to convince myself on why I should continue studying. Given the competitive nature of Singapore and the kiasu mindset of our people, more and more people are now getting a degree to value add to their current academic achievement, it is so common that it is no longer a value add, but rather, a way that most people choose to maximise their chances of being selected for their dream job. Without a degree, its kind of equate to me “losing out” from the start.

Next, I thought about the nature of the job I wanted, a clinical Psychologist. How is it even possible to get to become a psychologist without a decent degree? It makes sense that I have to go through the necessary education because prior to coming to university, being a JC student, I have ZERO knowledge of the brain, not to mention any field of psychology. As I am in the process of convincing myself to stay, I took another look at my friends that are already working. The nature of their job leans towards entreupreneur and media, and I am assuming that these types of jobs don’t actually requires them to go all the way to get a degree?

Lastly, I look at what the university has got to offer me in these 4 years aside from the knowledge required for psychology. There are many internships and exchange programmes that I am actually really looking forwards to. Not to mention, the huge variety of activities lined up for the students and my favourite overseas community service. The type of interaction and friendships that I forge here is probably something that is going to make this journey  so uniquely special for me.

While I can never truly be convinced given the skeptical and insecure characteristic of mine, I will always keep in mind what Steve Jobs has once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Taking a lept of faith and putting in my best in all the I do is the best way to prepare myself, for now. I don’t exactly believe in luck or letting fate decide everything, but rather I believe in hard work and having the  right attitude, right value, that will determine the future me.

All the best to myself and while this post ends here, I am pretty sure that I will continue doubting myself and as I do so, I will seize all the opportunity here in the University to prove to myself that my experience and my degree will be worth it.