Why I decided to start a degree at age 25

Why I am doing a degree

When I was in 9th grade, I begged my mother to let me leave school and go do a trade. I hated school. When I got to my final year of high school, I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. If I could go back in time, I’d give twelfth grade me a big slap in the face and tell him to work harder. 

I focussed on 3 things in my final year of high school: 

  1. Video games
  2. Girls
  3. Anything else but school

It was common for me to stay up until 2am during the week playing video games. I didn’t do any studying or homework, and as a result, my Matric marks were mediocre.

Note: In South Africa, we call the final year of high school “matric“.

The South African Education System

I should explain how high school and tertiary education works in South Africa. It differs from the United States – 70% of my following is from the USA 🤯. In South Africa, you complete 13 years of school. Grade “R” (KinderGarten) to Matric (Senior Year, Grade 12 or Twelfth Year). In Grade 12, you either pass or fail the year, but if you pass, there are 3 levels you can achieve: 

  1. Higher Certificate Pass
  2. Diploma Pass
  3. Bachelor pass

If you get a diploma pass, you are ‘qualified’ to study a diploma. But, your marks are insufficient for a Bachelor’s degree. The same for a Bachelor’s pass, you are ‘qualified’ to study a Bachelor’s degree. Unlike many other countries, you don’t leave school with a diploma. You leave with a Matric certificate. 

Seeing as I had more important things to do in high school I ended up getting a diploma pass. This didn’t bother me for most of my adult life. Considering that fact, I have managed to do pretty well for myself. I am fortunate to have a job that I enjoy and stimulates me, while also bringing in enough to support myself and my wife. 

I have been out of high school for 7 years (going on 8), and I have never felt the need to do a degree. Even if I wanted to, it would be a mission. I’d have to do a bridging course or diploma (1 – 3 years), then still do a whole degree (Another 3 years). I’ve also always wanted to advocate for the idea of ‘making it’ without a degree. I know several successful business people who have no formal education. It’s definitely not required to be successful in life. 

So why did I decide to do a degree? 

There are 3 reasons: 

I live in a small town and if the company I work for goes down my only option is to work overseas. Or, I could work in one of South Africa’s Tech Hubs: Cape Town or Johannesburg. If the company I work for goes down, for whatever reason – I’ll be out of work. There are no other companies like the one I work for in my town. While I am capable of fulfilling the marketing tasks required of a marketing and eCommerce manager, many companies don’t recognise these skills unless you have a degree to back it up. They won’t even look at your application if you don’t have a degree. Which is rather absurd, but it’s the way the world works. 

Having a degree increases your earning potential. I am entering a phase in my life where my wife and I are starting to look at the prospect of starting a family. Having more money and earning more money to support that endeavour would be helpful.

I want to start a business. I am not sure what that business will be, but I’ve had a desire to start a business for years now. I drive my wife insane with all my business ideas. , there is no shortage of them. What is stopping me from pursuing them now? That’s a different essay. The degree that I want to pursue is definitely going to help me with this endeavour.

The degree that I am doing

I am going to be studying a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, it’s the precursor to an MBA. While I don’t have any plans to get an MBA, it’s nice knowing that after I do this degree, I only need to study an extra 18 months to get it. 

Doing a BBA is likely going to help me with business. The main reason I chose this degree is that it covers some topics that I am uncomfortable with, such as business finance and South African Tax and Commerce Law. Could I start and run a business without this degree? Sure, but my feeling is while I explore business ideas, I should be doing something to prepare. 


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