Now that I’ve passed into the career stage of my life, I’ve done a fair bit of thinking as to what I would have done differently. Here are my lessons learned.
For reference, I went to a state university with majors in Finance and Economics, and a minor in Psychology. I’ll start with the big picture: is university worth it?
I would say yes, to an extent. University, like many things, rounds out to getting a bargain — a high value for a low price. If a university costs too much for you, don’t do it. It’s that simple. University is nice (mostly for the benefit of being able to meet a lot of people who relate to your interests), but it isn’t worth any debt. As a rule of thumb, I would only go to a university if you can afford to pay the yearly cost out of your own bank account and still have enough left for you to live comfortably. If you can’t do that, then you’ll more than likely be better off just going straight to work.
Quality of university is also something that gets brought up a lot. I used to also believe quality is important, until I studied at an Ivy League for a semester and realized that it’s pretty much the same thing. Now I think that it’s much more related to your personal skill and ambition than your university title. If you’re docile, then sure — people will use your college to judge you. But if you’re out doing cool things regardless, people won’t give your university a second look.
Then there’s the question of graduate school. Those who noticed I said I was at the end of my schooling after receiving my bachelor’s, already know what my opinion is on this. Really I think that the only graduate programs that are worth it are a) medical school, since the additional knowledge holds a genuine importance (for both you and society), and b) PhD programs that hold no cost. Law school is good only if you have a genuine passion to practice law (not just because your parents told you to), and an MBA is pretty much all around a joke. For 99% of people, you can stop after university just fine.
Finally, I’ll bring up my majors. I started with the Finance degree, and added Economics and Psychology later on. Overall I think this was a pretty good combination, but I’d give it some minor adjustments. If I were to do it again, I would have Computer Science and Psychology majors, and an Economics minor. I think Psychology is a vital science to learn for life and thus bring it up to a major. I reduce Economics to a minor but bring in Computer Science, not because I’m a programmy type but moreso because I think it’s an essential skill for the next industrial era. Economics I’d keep just because I still have fun with business and investing, but most of that stuff you can teach yourself. But I choose these because they’re my interests — I’d recommend you follow your own interests, all the same.