What Happens When You Regret Your College Degree?

What Happens When You Regret Your College Degree?

What Happens When You Regret Your College Degree_

If you’re a Millennial or Gen X-er, you most likely have had the idea of going to college shoved down your throat since you were old enough to start consider post-secondary education.

Going to college was just something my parents, teachers, and partly myself expected to happen once I graduated high school. Any other option wasn’t really talked about.

I personally don’t regret my college experience and getting a degree. I needed that to get out of the small town I grew up in, to grow and to change. But not everyone is as lucky as me. 

Some people regret going to college and regret getting that degree. All it’s done is cause problems in their life. 

So what do you do when regret your degree?

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What Happens When You Regret Your College Degree?


So you’ve finished your degree, of you’re about halfway to three quarters of the way finished and you realize you made a big expensive mistake.

You start to panic. Do you finish out a degree you don’t want and take the student loans you have to repay? Do you cut everything short and just accept what loan debt you have left? Do you just forget that you have the degree and move on?


Accept What’s Done Is Done

Whether you’re still working towards your degree or you’ve already finished it and you regret it, the first thing you have to do is accept it. You started something and you either finished it, or you have to decide if you’re finishing it.

There’s nothing you can do about that now. What’s done is done and you can’t turn back time.

If you spend all of your time moping around because you regret doing all this, you’re not going to get anywhere. You need to accept that this is what happened during a part of your life and learn to move on from that.

Maybe you regret your degree because your parents wouldn’t help you pay for college without majoring in what they wanted instead of what you wanted. Maybe you went for a degree you thought would be lucrative by the time you graduated but now the entire field is overwhelmed and jobs are scarce.

Whatever the reason it is, you did this and you can’t change it. You did your time at college or university, embrace it and find the good things that came from that even if you regret the degree.


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Figure Out What To Do Now

Now that you’ve accepted that you regret this decision, what are you going to do?

The best thing about having a degree, even if you don’t like the degree you have, can be a mandatory qualification for most jobs, even some that shouldn’t even require one. So you have this potential key to get you into jobs that you actually want to do.

You have a variety of options to go from here:

  • Finish your degree (if applicable)
  • Change your major and accept the extra loan debt
  • Drop out of school to pursue a job
  • Re-enroll for a different major/degree/certification/etc. (trade school is a great option!)
  • Start learning on your own (there are many online sites for learning nowadays)
  • If your degree is lucrative and you can handle it, get a job in that field until you’re comfortable enough to pursue your passion
  • Pursue your passion 

You have so many options on what to do, but it comes down to getting a job, or pursue other schooling for what you want to do.

If you don’t know what to do, then you’re going to have a harder time. My personal opinion is to find a job and go from there. 

I didn’t know what I wanted to do after I graduated either and just applied to any job I could. What I knew was my savings was drying up, my loans were going need to start being paid back soon, and I needed money.

If you can’t find a job with your passion, find any job that you can have while going after your passion in your free time. (This is what I’m currently doing with my blog!)


Find What You Want to Do

Now that you’ve figured out what you don’t want to do, since you regret either the degree, the college experience, the major, etc. you have to figure out what it is you do want to do.

If you don’t know what you want to do, I have a variety of posts to help you out with that. There’s the Finding Yourself series:

Finding yourself and finding what you want to do can be a hard thing to do. It took my until 30 to have just some sort of an idea of what I want to do with my life, and that’s not even definite yet!

It’s a confusing time, especially if you just finished with a degree and then realized that’s not what you want to do. Just remember that sometimes the thing you want to do is intangible, it’s a feeling. Don’t be afraid to admit what you want to do in your life is just be happy or live comfortably. 

If you do find that what you want isn’t something society deems “normal” or acceptable, that’s okay too. Blogging as a job is still considered one of those things people look skeptical about, but that’s okay. It’s what I want to do. I want to tell my stories, help people out, and what better way that with blogging and e-books?

Figure Out Loan Repayment Schedules

Unless you were lucky enough to have help paying for your schooling through parents, scholarships, or winning the lottery, you’re going to have student loans waiting for you to pay off.

I believe you have 6 months after you graduate to start paying them back. Get familiar with the websites, figure out what the best payment plan for you is, and start paying this back immediately!

Interest is the biggest problem with student loans. It accumulates throughout your time at school and will continue to accrue until you pay it off completely. That adds thousands of more dollars that you didn’t take out that have to be paid. So the sooner you start paying them back, the shorter time them debt has to gain interest.

There are two main ways of paying off debt: Paying off the highest interest rate first, or paying off the highest balance first.

Depending on your balance, interest rates, and how much you can afford to pay per month, either method could be best. 

I suggest using a debt calculator to figure out which way is best for you.

I didn’t find out about these things until years after I started paying off my debt. unfortunately by that time it didn’t matter which method I used, they would both take the same amount of time and money.

Don’t be me. Figure this out before you pay thousands into interest you don’t need to.


Do It

Whatever you decide to do, do it. If you’ve decided to go back to school for a different degree, a second degree, or even go off to trade school because you’ve realized you want to be a plumber.

If this means you have to move back home with your parents, then that’s the price to pay for following what you want to do. There’s no point in putting yourself in more debt just to live on your own while going to school. If that’s really what you want to do, then go right ahead. It won’t be easy, though.

If you want to go the route of finding any job and following your passion in your free time, then make sure you schedule out.

Don’t let the words of others dissuade you from what you’ve decided to do. Don’t let the negative Nancy’s try to talk you out of what you want to do because “you have X degree and could be making so much more money!”


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  • Accept that what’s done is done. You can’t change the time spent towards the degree, it’s already happened.
  • Figure out which direction you’re going in now. Are you going to go back to school? Start a new job? Try entrepreneurship?
  • Find what you want to do. Don’t know where you’re going? Give it time and experiment with new things!
  • Figure out the best loan repayment plan for you. Student loan debt is real. Figure out the best way to pay it back with a debt calculator.
  • Do it. Whatever it is you’ve decided to do, just do it. Don’t let anyone else tell you it’s a stupid idea. 


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