The Best Education is Self-Education

Chapter 9 of The Go-Getter Girl’s Guide is called “The Best Education is Self-Education.” Rather than review this chapter in detail, I’m going to explain why I strongly agree with the general concept that the best education is self-education.

If you want to be a doctor, a psychologist, an attorney, a high-level consultant, or you need to get your masters in education as a job requirement, then my theory about not going back to school doesn’t apply to you.

Before you consider stopping your life, adding to your pile of debt, and taking on extra degrees, please answer the following questions for yourself:

  • Are you using an additional degree to delay working in the real world for a few more years?
  • If getting a masters is crucial to your career situation, could you save money pursuing an online masters degree┬árather than a traditional program?
  • Have you calculated what your monthly student loan payments will be once you graduate? Can you really afford them on that starting salary that will inevitably be lower than you had hoped?
  • Are you using the recession as an excuse and telling yourself “well, there are no jobs out there so I might as well go back to school”?
  • Are you waiting for Corporate America to save you?

If some of these questions left you scratching your head, then it’s time to get real about self-education. Here are some crucial steps:

Step 1: Assess what you want. Do you even know? If not, start searching. It may take 4 years. Accept it and push yourself to keep searching every day.

Step 2: Read a LOT of books and blogs about things that interest you. A few of my entrepreneurial MUST READS are Gary Vaynerchuk‘s “Crush It” and “The Millionaire Mind.” Study how these people think and experiment with their suggestions.

Step 3: Talk to people all the time, find career idols and watch them. What do they like about their career, what do they dislike? What would they have done differently if they were 25 again? Think of yourself as a news reporter, always trying to gather information to build your story.

Step 4: “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable.” This is my personal motto for 2010. If you keep doing the same things you’re going to get the same results, right? Well then you might as well try something different.

School is a funny place. Contrary to common belief, school was not designed to make decisions for you. It was not designed to solve your career uncertainty issues. School is meant to give you tools so you can go out and find the information you need on your own.

  • What do YOU think? Is going back to school for graduate degrees crucial to career survival today?
  • Do you think entrepreneurs should go out and get their MBA’s before trying their hand at owning a business?
  • Do you feel that Gen Y uses advanced degrees as a career crutch?
  • Do you know successful entrepreneurs who have made it without advanced schooling?

Please share your thoughts.

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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