Megan DaGata

SQS, Materials Management, Fluor Corporation

This conversation is closed.

What would you go back to school to finish if you were going back?

I asked the question in the Debate section: Why is it all about the college degree?

I got a resounding - Because people think you can finish something before they hire you.

So now I wonder for the undegreed 20/30/40 somethings...What would you go back to school to finish if you were going back?

Knowing everything that our adult experiences have taught us, what would you complete a degree in? Where? What do you think it would change about your life?

Personally I would like to complete a communications degree at the University of Texas at Austin and get admitted to the LBJ School of Public Affairs. I don't think I would use the education to run for a public office or anything, but I would like to think I would be able to find more ways to positively impact the world. More eyes and ears perk up when you add letters behind your name.

Life experience has taught me why, but the degrees give me the education to say how.

  • Mar 4 2012: Now that I know exactly how hard high school can be, I'd go back in time and take things A LOT more seriously. Get a head start in everything. That way, I'd be ahead of the game and in the safe zone. Definitely a plus.
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    Mar 8 2012: I'm currently in a session of going back to school. My first degree is in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education from Brevard College in NC. I'm now a post-baccalaureate student at the University of Oregon, pursuing a degree in Biology and my plan is to then go on to get a masters in teaching. Ultimately I want to be a high school biology teacher.

    What I find myself learning is not only the class material, but effective and ineffective teaching techniques. In a way, I actually feel like I'm learning the subject matter in greater detail because I'm also analyzing how it's presented. Either way, I love learning and I seek to learn something new every day. There's a lot to be learned in school that's not seen in classrooms.
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    Mar 7 2012: I can relate to this question. My story is that I'm an entrepreneur who has started several (completely different) businesses but never finished my undergrad degree. During a transition, I went back solely for the sake of finishing. My goal was to tell my girls to finish what they started, namely, to get an education. Not wanting a degree for job-sake, I went purely to learn as much as I could. After graduation (and a 4.0 at a private school) I can say it was a total waste of time, energy, and money. Sure, I can now tell my kids to finish things. But I will tell them to finish the "right" things. It seems that personally, I learn more from ferocious independent study and applied experience than formal education. Sure, the specific school, program of study, and level of degree all play a factor, I get that. But I gained zilch. Answer: I would go back (and did) to discover I didn't need to. A learning mind will always discover education, irregardless of a formal track.
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    Mar 6 2012: After a full career as a biologist, I retired and 3 years ago at age 69 decided to to back for graduate study. Not in science but in liberal arts, which I had partly neglected. It's been a blast, and I'll be getting my master's this year. There's something about the campus academic environment with fellowship of peers and professors that results in deeper study than can be accomplished alone, say through an internet course.

    And what you sometimes hear, about it being difficult for mature members of society to keep up at school, is hogwash. The greater understanding and experience of the older student is a great competitive advantage. In fact it's the younger students who are struggling to keep up.
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    Mar 5 2012: "Miseducation starts the moment you enter traditional schooling.."
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    Mar 4 2012: I'm reminded of a quote that goes something like this: Education starts the minute you leave college. Having left college over 20yrs ago, I think it'd be great to go back (if possible) and redo whatever you did before with hopefully more of a perspective of the why you're doing it.

    For me the course of study I embarked on was medicine,out of honor and respect for my father. Yet when I think of what was my first love Psychology I don't know that doing that line of study would have got me any closer to this point in my life. For now I still have that "first love" and use the skills I've learnt in ways I've not dreamt of before.

    A few years ago I did a diploma in counselling while working, then studied Life coaching and in the process met and married a wife who now is the second most important person in my life.

    None of my studies were about the number of letters behind the name ,because that speaks of ability and interest; it does necessarily speak of more important things love and passion in the areas of interest.
    • Mar 4 2012: Education starts at home, ideally when you come home and are raised and nurtured by a parent and not a 7a.m-6pm replacement that doesnt care about you. I really worry about the tipping point the US has reached over 50% new births to single moms, scary, single parents more than 70% more likely to end up in poverty.
      Everyone here talking about college, you dont have to go to college to be successful. Lots of Europeans attend trade schools and are happier and more successful, its class warfare to tell kids the only way to succeed is college and utterly ridiculous. We are all not meant to be the Same.
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    Mar 4 2012: I'd study and major in the exact same thing I studied 10 years ago - Management (Finance) and Psychology for Undergraduate school and Health for Grad school. I now work in a field that is completely outside of either major. Why would I do things exactly the same?

    10 years post grad, no one really cares what you studied. But for those first few jobs, your studies and grades matter. If I had majored in 'Fine Arts' or 'Sociology', I would not have been considered for my first few jobs. If I hadn't gotten those first few good-paying jobs, I would not have been able to leave the field (healthcare) completely after eight years and pursue my interests in writing, social media, and coaching.

    What you major in - in the long run - really does not matter. However, when you pick a major like business or engineering, it gives you a solid platform to start building a future (and pay back student loans). Once you are done with it (and gathered some professional experience) you can follow your passions and do whatever you please.

    People who majored in Philosophy. Journalism, Sociology are often complaining that they can't find work. They likely would have done better to major in business or engineering, build savings/pay off debt and then leave the field to pursue their career passions.
  • Mar 4 2012: there would be two places:

    1) i would go back to high school to finish a physics soup can project that i overworked and failed at
    2) college where i wanted to write a paper assignment outside of class, but didn't have the motivation, inspiration, or time to create it.
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    Mar 3 2012: Oh, the places that I would go...I received a Presidential Fellowship to attend Emerson in Boston but I could not go because it would not have covered all of my expenses as an out of state grad student.
    I have 4 areas of interest:
    1) MFA in Theatre for Social Change, Theatre for Youth, or Applied Theatre from Northwestern U (to work with Michael Rohd et al), Arizona State U Tempe, CUNY (to work with the Creative Arts Team)
    2) MA in Public History (to be an Education Director for a Museum).
    3) I'm interested in Multi-Cultural Affairs at the university level.
    4) I'm interested in advocacy and health care reform.
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    Mar 3 2012: I did finish my degree and continued on to a PhD but now I'd love to go back to study a different field. I studied high energy physics but now have broad interests in economics, CS, and biology. Universities provide a unique environment for exploration of knowledge and interaction with others who have shared and different interests. It is unfortunate that so many don't really discover their passion until after the usual age at which one attends university.
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      Mar 5 2012: Mr Bregman,

      You may want to consider Peter Diamandis's Singularity University.... Check it out....

      Best Regards,
      Alex Garcia
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    Mar 3 2012: I would seek a fine Liberal Arts institution, sign up for Writing and Communication classes.
    Because: I want to learn to write well. I feel like I have a message to share, but I really can't sing, and no one listens to me when I talk!
    Thank you for asking, though.
  • Mar 1 2012: only if you know what you want to do and what you're learning in school will fulfill that void. dont just go back to school to go back to school. You will just be piling up debt
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    Feb 29 2012: I graduate on May 12th, 2012.

    If I could go back, I would still major in Mathematics (probably double major in CS as well) and take it more seriously.

    Also, I would only go to college again if it was paid for by someone else.

    I have a problem with graduating with 75,000$ worth of debt, and companies don't even want to pay me 75,000/yr (which is a small amount of money) unless I have at least 5 years of experience.
  • Feb 28 2012: medicine or molecular biology. Thank you for your question
  • Feb 28 2012: If I had to go back to school, Id get my PHD in Educational Pscychology with and emphasis in mental health in the schools.
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    Feb 27 2012: Great Topic. I coasted through school and didnt leave with the quals that i really should of! I have always been passionate about business and managed to get access to a good MBA based on my life skills but i felt at a real disadvantage. I understood the topics intuitivley but when it came to the analytical or quantative topics i really struggled.

    I guess I would go back and focus on Maths, that is my weakness.

    I wonder though, if i changed that where would I be now???

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    Feb 27 2012: Im' in the degree a decade club so I've been going back for some time. As I said in a previous post. It's not because anyone is making me. It's because I like it and I want it. My own little selfish joy.

    Many in my discipline criticize me and think it should all be done in one giant sitting right out of high school. I had a life to live, kids to raise, life to experience. I did it the way it fits for me.

    What I have really noticed is that I used to point out many things that would make a difference in my discipline. What I have realized is that nobody really listened to me until lately. Maybe it is the education or maybe it is my maturity. But my message really has not changed. Just an observation.
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    Feb 24 2012: Once you return to school, I expect you will discover that the education you receive does more for you than add letters behind your name. Those who enter a school like the LBJ school seldom do so as a path to politics. Rather, that education is designed to give you the tools to understand domestic and international problems, to generate strategies for solving them that take into account the complexity of human systems and the organizations that operate within them, to evaluate options in terms of their effectiveness, equity, and viability, and to lay out for decision-makers the implications of different courses of action. And that is just the beginning.