“Success is no accident,” the soccer star Pele once said. “It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
These words apply just as much to students as soccer players. When you’re feeling overwhelmed with your studies, push yourself to keep going. Remember that your effort can pay off, creating a pathway to greater career success, personal fulfillment, and an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Sadly, some people give up on their education dreams. The National Center for Education Statistics, part of the Department of Education, reports that just 82% of students at private non-profit universities, like Florida Tech, complete their education. That means 18 percent of students don’t earn their degrees.
These numbers show that the vast majority of students persevere, even when times get tough. Here are some good reasons to follow through on your commitment to get a diploma.
Education Can Be Good for Your Paycheck
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says educational attainment is related to the size of someone’s paycheck. The median annual earnings for a high school degree holder in 2020 was $40,612 In comparison:
|Degree||Median annual earnings (dollars)||Increase over high school|
While these numbers are helpful, remember that there are many variables affecting earnings, and no degree program can guarantee career or salary outcomes.
Education Is Related to Lower Unemployment
BLS data also shows that unemployment rates are lower for people with higher levels of educational attainment:
Education Helps You Stand Out to Employers
Earning your degree shows employers that you’re committed to your professional success and capable of achieving goals. In addition, those employers might think that you’re more prepared to take on challenges in the workplace if you’ve earned a degree. The Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) polled employers a few years ago and found:
- 88% of executives and 85% of hiring managers believe that college degrees are worth the investment of time and effort needed to earn them.
- 85% of executives and 75% of hiring managers believe that a college education is very important or essential.
- 71% of executives and 74% of hiring managers “are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the ability of their recent graduates to apply skills and knowledge they learned in college to complex problems in the workplace.”
The AAC&U quotes one executive who said, “No matter what an individual’s degree is in, the college experience produces a well-rounded individual who is prepared to interact with high-level employees.”
Education Develops Soft Skills
A college education doesn’t just help students gain technical knowledge. The assignments and group work may help develop the soft skills that employers crave, such as critical thinking, leadership, collaboration, and communication.
“As an executive coach, I’ve found that a growing number of organizations prefer leaders who possess sharp emotional intelligence, personal awareness and a sense of service,” writes Mari Carmen Pizarro, a Forbes Councils member. “Sure, you can be the best accountant in your firm, but that will no longer guarantee you a leadership role if you struggle to collaborate with others.”
Education Can Lead to Higher Job Satisfaction
The connection between higher education and higher job satisfaction is well known. In fact, the research into this topic goes back more than a decade. In 2016, a groundbreaking study of American jobs by Pew Research found that “highly educated workers are among the most satisfied with their jobs.” (Household income and job characteristics were also factors in job satisfaction.)
According to the report: “There is also a difference by education. Though 71% of Americans overall describe themselves as very satisfied with their family lives, that figure is lower among those with less than a high school education (64%) than those with at least a bachelor’s degree (75%).”
How to Stay Engaged in Your Education
Now that you’ve heard five good reasons to push toward your degree, you might be wondering how to keep going even when times get tough. Here are some tips:
- Remember what motivated you to earn your degree, and keep your eyes on the prize.
- Set reasonable goals, and reward your successes.
- Realize that setbacks are temporary.
- Build a support network — these can include friends, family members, and coworkers.
- Talk to professors and student support resources if you’re overwhelmed.