Are you in high school wondering what your next move should be after graduation? Maybe you’re currently applying for university or trying to snag your dream internship? Perhaps you’ve been out of school for a little while but now you’re trying to decide whether to go back? If any of that sounds like you, keep reading.
Today we’re talking to Eunice, a New Jersey native who’s done a little bit of everything education wise. Now, she’s finishing up her Human Resources degree while she works full time as an executive assistant. Keep reading to get Gary’s take on her journey and his advice for anyone in a similar position.
All Of The Above
Eunice has done a little bit of everything on this list. She attended Rutgers at age 18, dropped out to go to community college, left to focus on herself, then entered the workforce. However, after years of hustling and learning various skill sets, she made the decision to return to college at age 25.
Why did you choose to go to college at 18?
“I went to college purely because I had to. My parents are immigrants and education is a really big deal. My mom didn’t care what I went to school for as long as I was in school.
I went to college and realized I was not prepared for it. I went to Rutgers to do accounting and I realized that was not for me. I dropped out of Rutgers to go to community college, for three semesters until I was like, you know what? This is still not what I want to do with my life.
My grades were good at community college; I just wasn’t into it. So, I dropped out to go to cosmetology school.”
Were you passionate about cosmetology school?
I was at that time, and for the next several years. Then I got burnt out. Part of the reason I stopped doing hair was because it’s hard as a freelancer. Salons don’t provide insurance and most salons don’t give you a 401k. So, I left to go back to college. Now I study finance at Baruch. I wanted to end up in an industry that gave me more money and more security.
Do you feel college prepares you for the workforce?
I believe college does not help you with networking whatsoever. I’m one of the older people in my class because I went back to school at the age of 25, and it’s amazing how little social skills these young adults have. They’ve never had a job. I’ve been in so many industries: waitress, hostess, hairstylist–the place that taught me how to talk to people was the salon.
I learned more about accounting practices at my job than I did during my first time around, studying accounting at Rutgers. College is not necessary for life. It’s not necessary to have a successful career. There are a lot of people who work in finance who don’t have degrees, especially in the United States.
What are people paying for when they pay for school?
It opens doors, because some people don’t look at your resume if you don’t have a college degree. The only thing more expensive tuition implies is that the name is better. I don’t think a college degree is necessary for many things. It depends on the industry that you’re in. If you want to open a salon, no. If you want to build an app, yes. One of my professors was prominent in journalism, if I wanted to be a writer that would have been useful.
Do you think people should go to college only to improve their job prospects?
No. I was a finance major when I entered Baruch, then I switched to computer science purely because I thought my chances to get a job would be better. I hated the major, sucked at my classes, and realized I was doing it for the wrong reasons. Now, I’m back in finance.
Why do you think immigrant parents push education?
“In the Philippines, where my mom is from, you’re not climbing out of poverty cutting hair. My mom became a pharmacist because getting a formal education was the only way out. Which is why she put the emphasis on me to get a formal education.
You can be an entrepreneur in a foregin country (or build an app), but it’s a lot harder. That’s true for a lot of things in the US.”
Has Covid changed your views on education?
For me, it’s the same. A college education isn’t necessary for everyone but it is helpful for some people.
If you want a job, and you’re thinking about going to school just to get a job…
“Network digitally and then virtually. Virtual networking is probably the number 1 move on earth, if you want to be an executive in the airline industry. Going to LinkedIn and replying to every airline executive’s posts with thoughtful, meaningful ideas–consistently– for four to seven to 13 months where you brought value to 87 different people. It’s not like you have to be an expert to give perspective. It gives you the chance to be discovered.
A member on my team is an example of that. He was unbelievably active in my LinkedIn community, I met him in person, and a moment happened. Be active to people’s content then either physically or virtually, get in front of them.
You can go to college and meet someone who could give you an interview, or you could do what I mentioned. They both work. “