Between the ages of six and 10, I wanted to be a veterinarian. My best friend and I adored animals - stuffed and strays, domestic and wild. We dreamed of owning our own clinic and being roommates, living amongst a sea of cats and dogs.
When I was in the fifth grade, my class was given a project. We were to job shadow someone who did what we wanted to do and write about it. I quickly learned that being a vet wasn't about playing with animals all day long. It was about math and science and sticking thermometers in butts and performing surgery. I don't remember much about my essay, but I'm sure it read more along the lines of, "Why I no longer want to be a veterinarian."
I began dreaming of being a rockstar. There was nothing else "practical" I could think of.
I've changed my mind about having a degree.
I went to college at the University of Alaska, Anchorage for two semesters. I'm not sure what my grades were, I took mostly writing classes, and I hated every minute of it. It felt like a slightly more grown up version of high school. I was already working for a company I knew I could advance in, and I preferred having a job and making money than paying to do homework.
So I listened to my intuition and quit.
"If you're working on your craft every day on your own, with steady discipline and love, then you are already for real as a creator, and you don't need to pay anybody to affirm that."
Elizabeth Gilbert, BIG MAGIC
Every boss I've ever had, save one, told me to go back to school because I'd make more money with a degree. And then, every boss would give me a raise or a promotion because I was good at my job. I wondered why they continued drilling the message of Degree = More Money.
I didn't want to get a business degree, or major in anything I didn't already have a natural inclination for. And I didn't want to go to school. Being young and newly independent, I tended to do the opposite of what I was told was "good for me" anyway.
I don't need a degree to do work I enjoy.
"If you're considering some sort of advanced schooling in the arts and you're not rolling in cash, I'm telling you - you can live without it. You can certainly live without the debt, because debt will always be the abattoir of creative dreams."
I've always been okay with my choice not to go to college; I don't feel like I missed out on anything. I certainly don't "miss" having debt. And there is nothing I wanted to do in my life that required a degree. Even still, I've allowed myself to believe I could never apply myself to anything above a certain level of work because of my lack of schooling.
Now, I'm choosing to believe I can apply to any job I know I can do because of the experience I've gained from simply being alive. My resume is a creative distraction, expressing who I am on a piece of paper in such a way that no one even realizes there is no Education section. They just see me.
"You are already creatively legitimate, by nature of your mere existence here among us."
In three weeks, I start a new job - a job I have wanted since July and pursued without a doubt I would be hired - and my absence of a college degree never came up. I suppose you can say I manifested it.