It seems like degrees, especially non-professional degrees are on a “lay-away plan” these days: you don’t really get to use it until you’re about 3-5 years into your career, and looking to break into a more responsible role where you’re the one in charge.

More than half the people I know who got degrees right after high school (now, ages 35-45) started their successful careers as a temp, admin, assistant, or some other kind of lackey making peanuts and drowning in loan debt.

Graduating these days is a dismal event when you consider what’s out there waiting for you after putting in so much time and money to blow up your mind. I’m still trying to figure out how to get college students to stay in school, accrue debt, be okay with not knowing their career path, AND embrace the low-level job that’s waiting for them.

Having gone through this right of passage myself, I can say It’s worth it….DEFINITELY worth it….but I can only say that *with confidence* now, a whole 15 years later, long after throwing off my mortar board hat in the air with sweaty palms and a feigned smile.

This post was inspired by this interview with an NYU professor who shares his research on a longitudinal college study:>

Career Transition, Job Market