How going to college gave me more confidence and boosted my sense of accomplishment:
As children, sometimes we are unsure of our abilities, especially when some of those close to us tell us that we can't do certain things. Those people tell you that “you can't” because they are trying to protect you from failure. Sometimes people tell you that “you can't” in anger or because of their own fear or even because they could but didn't do something in their own life. In any case, the result is still damaging – you feel like you can't do it and that you don't deserve to accomplish it. I have a very vivid memory of a family member telling me I could not do all the things I wanted to accomplish in my life, let alone finish college. I believe this came from a place of disappointment in themselves and the life path they chose. I remember the day I got my Master's Degree, the day I passed my final exam to finish out the requirements of the program. I had a goal to not only finish college but to get a Master's before I was 30. I was 29 and 5 months on that day. I did it! It wasn't important to me that my degree was proof to that family member I COULD finish things; it was important to me know that I COULD go to college and that I DID it! Going to school gives you something to look back on in your life as something you set your mind to and finished, regardless of what anyone around has said about it.
I was always confident in my abilities in school but having that piece of paper on the wall from the University, well … that's something powerful! I wish for all people to have this incredible sense of humble accomplishment that comes from pouring your heart and soul into two, four, six, or even eight years of work to get that piece of paper from the University. People are impressed by my degrees now. Any level of education results in reverence from those around you but also gives the person hiring you confidence that you know what you're doing, that you can finish things through to the end, and that you're a hard worker. I do love hearing “Ohhhh, you have a Master's Degree… WOW!” A degree is concrete evidence that you accomplished something!