Keri Savoca wishes she hadn’t gone to college — and then to graduate school, she writes on The Ascent.

Keri Savoca wishes she hadn’t gone to college — and then to graduate school, and then to graduate school again, she writes on The Ascent.

Parents: don’t let your kids go into debt for college to earn a degree that is worthless. If you must go into debt, do so only for a STEM degree. Even then, you are better off taking 6 years and working your way through college. 

An excellent student in high school, she was pushed to go to college, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music production and arts management in three years. While friends were establishing businesses, she was taking on debt.

Unprepared for a full-time job or to market herself as a freelancer, she went to graduate school to study theater sound design, deferring payments on her student loans for another three years. But when she graduated, she discovered she couldn’t earn enough to cover living expenses and pay off her student loans.

So she earned an education degree. After five years of teaching, some of her loans were forgiven, but “after paying rent, car insurance, and Sallie Mae, I had literally nothing left at the end of each month,” Savoca writes.

Finally, 11 years after finishing high school, she started earning more money by writing, freelancing and teaching online. She “re-learned how to code.”

Here in her own words: 

I started coding at a part-time job back in high school. Imagine if I had opted out of college and stayed there, learning from my experiences instead of walking away to take a 9-year journey to “find myself.”

I started a t-shirt business at age 16 with nothing but an old laptop and a crappy internet connection. Imagine if I had invested all my time in marketing that business instead of letting it fizzle out while I was in college.

I took out approximately $40,000 in student loans, and like many others, I’ll be paying them back for most of my adulthood. Imagine if I had taken a $40,000 personal loan and worked with a mentor to start a business instead.

. . . Studying something that doesn’t lead directly to a career in that field is more than an expensive bet on your future. It’s an expensive bet on the value of your time.

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