How do you know if college will actually help you?

It has recently come to my attention that there’s a lot of debate about whether someone actually needs that piece of paper saying they’re qualified to do what they say they’re qualified to do.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news… but a lot of times, that piece of paper isn’t necessary.

Not to say that college isn’t important or doesn’t have value – quite the contrary. College can be a major building block in life and your career – no matter what you’re studying.

I recently decided to go back to college to get a degree in creative writing – my passion, my life, my most developed skill. Unfortunately, I am also a business owner whose business is growing this year, and a mother who has 3 children. Small ones. Under 10… and a 2-year-old, which is scary enough in and of itself.

Now, I’m the type of person who believes that I can do anything and everything no matter what. I am “supermom” and I can do whatever it takes to get everything done no matter what. That is so not true…

Everyone needs some down time, and when you don’t get down time, you’re kind of screwed. That’s what it’s felt like for me over the past couple of weeks… I’m overwhelmed, overworked, underpaid, and generally stressed out… it stinks!

Even my fiancé was noticing how overwhelmed I was, if that tells you anything.

SO… here we are. The reason for this post.

I love college… especially online college, and being able to major in creative writing with a focus on fiction is a dream come true for me.

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The fact remains that I am an independent publisher. I own a company. I freelance for a living, and support a household with what I make by freelancing. Do I really need a creative writing degree in order to be successful? No. It would just help me to hone my skills and get some feedback.

But is feedback worth the cost of tuition every month?

I found out that I can no longer take out student loans. I would have to use private loans to cover the cost of my education… not okay with me. So I would have to make several thousand dollars extra every year in order to maintain my lifestyle, my kids’ lifestyle, and a good, stress-free relationship with my fiancé.

So there were decisions to be aware of here: what’s more important? My business? My education? My kids? My education? My fiancé? My education? My relationships in general?

Because I love college so much and enjoy learning, I really don’t want to drop out. Unfortunately, I have become super resourceful in the past 5 years, can find anything online that I need to know, and don’t like wasting time that I could be spending with my fiancé and children… I have authors and poets under me now, too, which is a whole new ballgame. They depend on me just like my family does, and I can’t ignore that… at all.

If you don’t own a business and have a spouse helping with the bills, you have no excuse. Let’s face it, though… in my situation, the only way I could realistically keep going is if I got some easy scholarships and had the money to pay people to do some of the work.

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My goal in sharing this with you is simple: I want to be honest. College is amazing, and I would love to keep going… instead, I have to make sure that my family and my business are taken care of, no matter how badly I want that degree. I can go again later if I really feel it necessary, right? I’ll still have my credits.

I know this sounded like a sort of selfish post… but maybe it’ll help someone make the right decision, you know? I wanted to go back to college so bad once I figured out I could go for creative writing, but I had already started my business and began building it and it seems to have chosen 2012 to flourish…. So the choice has to be made.

I choose my business, and keep college on the back burner – just in case =).