Are you wondering if you need a college degree to succeed? Define success. Without a mutual agreement for what it means to succeed, no debate is debatable. However –
Let’s peek down an imaginary corridor of success. Step outside of life for a moment and consider Madeline’s story.
Madeline dreamed of motherhood as a little girl. As she matured into a young woman, Madeline held tight to her chosen destiny. She envisioned her life surrounded by three wonderful children. At the age of twenty, she met and fell in love with David. Marrying a man who was indecisive about having children narrowed Madeline’s chance to succeed. She pleaded to her inner god, “please make David want children as much as I do.” Madeline had yet to learn; no one can change another person.
Her fervent pleas echoed in her mind each night before she surrendered to sleep. Time passed with no children. The young couple upgraded their life style. Motivated by a greed driven society, the couple bought new cars, a bigger home and a swanky time-share. Maddy’s job compensated the employees fairly. Promotions came from within.
As much as Maddy loved her job; she wanted children more. David warded off his wife’s questions of “When?”, with the elusive answer of “Later.”
The couple’s escalated life style soon exceeded their combined salaries. David looked to Maddy; a college degree guaranteed her a higher paid position within the company. Maddy, clinging to her hope of motherhood, had never considered a higher education. Backed into a corner; Maddy worked her way through college with funding sponsored by her employer.
The increase in pay from Maddy’s promotion secured the couple’s financial success. The acquisition of the college degree enabled Maddy’s upward climb into the firm’s higher echelons. Maddy worked more hours and spent less time at home. David never considered Maddy’s sacrifice. He saw the monetary gain reflected in their bank account. David’s success drove Maddy’s hope for babies far into a dark corner.
If success is defined by monetary worth; David and Madeline achieved their goal.
Madeline’s career continued to push her dream of raising children far into the future. A future so far away, Madeline lost sight of her chosen destiny. Her mood deflated and she fell into a deep depression. The severity of the depression robbed Maddy of the mental acuity required to maintain her position at the firm she worked for. Madeline lost her job.
The anti-depressants Madeline needed had alarming side effects. The warnings included birth defects and possible miscarriage. David soon tired of Madeline’s depressive air and filed for a divorce. Did David’s desire for financial success rob Madeline of her success as a mother?
A few years after the divorce, Madeline’s depression lifted. Her doctor weaned Maddy from the anti-depressants provided she continued therapy with her psychologist.
Had David helped Maddy by divorcing her?
Reading to pass the time as Maddy waited for her appointment with her psychologist; a young man walked in the door. An air of quiet certitude surrounded him and Madeline slid her eyes towards the reception desk, chancing an unobserved peek. Madeline listened closely as the young man signed in. His name was Chris Baker.
Maddy’s eyes informed her brain Chris Baker was beyond handsome. Chris’s muscled body, blond hair, blue eyes and empty ring finger, all registered in Maddy’s mental inventory. Chris settled himself in a chair opposite of Maddy’s, facing her. Avoiding the obvious stare; Maddy innocently let her gaze roam from her book to the left shoulder of this Chris Baker. Close to his eyes, but not meeting them.
Chris’s eyes lowered to his shoulder. A slight glance up struck Maddy’s upward gaze and their eyes met. They exchanged a tentative smile. Maddy’s psychologist popped out from her office, inviting Madeline in. Without looking back, Madeline turned and walked away. Concealing her excitement for this Chris Baker; Madeline struggled to keep her focus on the discussion. Only one thought paraded in circles, threading through Maddy’s mind. Chris Baker is hot and unmarried. Chris Baker is hot and unmarried. Maddy heard little of her session and remembered nothing.
Chancing Chris kept a consistent time for his counseling session; Maddy scheduled her appointment as usual. As Wednesday evening crept through the long week; Maddy anticipated her next session with new thoughts. Madeline anticipated a second meeting with Chris.
Madeline and Chris’s sessions coincided for three weeks before Chris asked Madeline out for coffee. They learned of each other. David had divorced three years ago and never dated since. Coffee dates matured to dinner dates, and dinner dates birthed shared weekends.
A love beyond expectations filled their lives. Madeline waited for the big question. Months later, as they shared a bagel and coffee in Madeline’s apartment, Chris debated; was Madeline in love with him? Shocked by his musings, Chris blurted out, “I have butterflies in my stomach every time I think of you.” He lowered his eyes, flushed with embarrassment at his confession. “I do too.” Maddy’s whisper caressed Chris’s ear. Chris proposed marriage without hesitation. Thoughts of children filled Madeline’s eyes. Without a word spoken, Madeline knew she’d found her man. Her dreams of children were mirrored in Chris’s eyes.
One year after marrying, Madeline and Chris marveled over their first baby girl. Joy filled their home from roof to basement. Chris and Maddy loved the baby and success surrounded them. Madeline asked Chris about having three children. Chris’s enchanting smile warmed Madeline’s heart. More babies waited to be part of the couple’s lives.
Within five years, Madeline and Chris fulfilled Maddy’s desire for success.
Three children graced their lives and every day blossomed with more intensity than the day before.
Madeline achieved financial success with no joy as a direct result from her college degree.
Madeline achieved her goal of motherhood successfully despite a college degree.
Define success. The circumstances surrounding the acquisition of the degree, almost robbed Maddy of successful motherhood. Is a college degree necessary for success? Choose wisely.