Sticker Shock

As I continue to take my first steps outside of the grad school world, I have to pause to consider what brought me to this point.

I often imagine there are people who would think that the choices I have made up to this point are bad ones. The idea of having spent more than 80,000 dollars on what is often considered the lowest paying Master’s degree in the country strikes some people as a stupid move.

If I had known that from at the outset of my education, I probably would have agreed with them. Truth be told, the only reason I tried for a Counseling degree was because it was the fastest way to flip my Psychology degree into a paying job. At first.

But luckily for me and my clients, the program I went to challenged me in ways I could have never seen coming. It forced me to take a long hard view at myself, my choices, and the world around me which shaped the two.

We have a societal view, I think, to see a career as something you do during the day that earns you money. There’s no reason for personal growth beyond what you need to do to keep earning a paycheck. But, from this blog and from the struggles I have seen, I am finding firmer footing to challenge that view.

My logic is simple, a person will spend most of their life working in their chosen field. An existence spent in a cubicle waiting for the day to be over doesn’t leave a lot of room for existential fulfillment. Which is probably why it pays so well.

I’ll never be a rich man. This degree is the vow of poverty I’ve taken for the shot at living something real and unique. To me, that’s a bargain at any price.

Of course, this may all be me trying to cope with the shock of the price tag, so take it with a grain of salt.

My takeaway is this: a career should be something that gives us meaning, not just a bank account. At the end of the day, money just does not equal a life well lived.

Finding a deeper meaning to life, however, is the only way to live.

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