I Paid For the "Wrong" Degree, Now What?
Updated: Mar 9
I'm lost in the woods.
I just paid for an entire degree I probably won't use. Now I know that I do not enjoy designing classes and probably will never be an instructional designer. I learned through the Learning Design and Technology Master's degree at CU that I really kind of dislike designing online courseware and to be honest, I'm not good at it. This might be because this degree program has taught me very little by the way of substantial, relevant industry knowledge and what employers are looking for.
If there were, for example, classes on every learning management system (LMS), that would have been quite helpful. And what about all the software graphic designers use, do you think they teach about those in graphic design school? Why should instructional design be different? I need to know how to actually work with these (sometimes expensive) instructional design programs, not how to build a social media presence or learn how to go viral.
I am just now realizing that although I've paid all this money and have a terrific GPA, I have learned so very little. I do, fortunately, know about all the free tools available to educators online! I can make a great video using these free tools, which I've done in exactly every class now! CU does not pay for you to have any real substantive subscriptions to any relevant development software needed in the e-learning industry. And the few tools they do offer us key codes for, well, you must beg the IT department for a good year to obtain those dear key codes. I finally received my Techsmith Camtasia key code a year later (thanks, guys!).
So now what? I am unhappy with the degree I paid for, I am uninterested in the degree topic (they changed the actual degree title during my two years, it used to be Information and Learning Technologies which sounds more meaty). Now that I know what it entails, strictly teaching, I have no job prospects and really no idea what I'm doing with my life. Why did I do this? Why did I pay thousands of dollars to become an A+ student in infographic making? Is this how every middle-class person feels after completing a degree?
All I can hope for now is that the federal government restructures loan forgiveness programs because I'm roughly $150,000 in debt from my undergraduate plus graduate careers (again, I have little to no income and no job prospects in the e-learning industry). The cost of education in this country is mind blowing. And I'm sure I'm probably not the only student to have stumbled into a semi-irrelevant degree coming out the other side totally bewildered and unprepared.
I should have known when I felt totally isolated in all my classes because everyone was already a teacher with a "great" career. I should have known that this isn't my place. But should I be punished and carry the burden of debt for what's looking like the rest of my life? Should someone 20 to 30 years old really have $150,000 in student loan debt for getting two degrees in the state they were born in? I'll go ahead and let you decide. Meanwhile I'm going to go eat some avocado toast, the only thing millennials have left.