My Education Was A Complete Waste Of Time

I'm paying off loans to a degree I will never use.

Woman with student loans after graduating college and feeling like she learned nothing WOKANDAPIX, Jupiterimages, aliaksandrbarysenka, DNY59 | Canva

Editor's Note: This is a part of YourTango's Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues.

I always wanted to be a writer. Always. Aside from a brief period around the age of 10 when I wanted to be an actress and a writer, writing was just what I wanted to do. I had no aspirations to do anything else, aside from becoming fantastically wealthy and living in a chateau in France, of course.


Writing was something that was set in stone from a very young age and the one thing for which my love and passion have never wavered.

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In wanting to be a writer, I felt that I didn't need to go to college. What I needed, more than anything, was life experience. That's what makes a writer — not sitting in some lecture hall or being forced to take required classes like physics and calculus.

But although my father was content to let me skip the whole college thing — a man who had dropped out of MIT because he didn't believe an educational institution was the best fit for him — my mother felt otherwise. She was adamant that both my sister and I go to college.


She didn't care where, although she did have Ivy League hopes for my sister. Just that we went so we wouldn't end up flunkies serving up burgers at a fast food joint, simply because we didn't go to college.

Although I had my heart set on going to school in NYC, since I had to go somewhere, I was too afraid at that point in my life to venture too far away.

So instead, I ended up at a university in New Hampshire. It had a decent English program and I figured I'd study with Professor Charles Simic, a poet I'd been reading for years.

I'd join the radio station because at least back then, was one of the best college radio stations in the country. I may not have had the fervor that some do to go to college, but I thought if stayed knee-deep in writing assignments and records, I'd do just fine.


I was wrong.

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Aside from the amazing experience I had as a college DJ, I can say that my education wasn't worth it.

In fact, if you were to ask me what I took away from the whole 4.5 years (that .5 is because a math requirement held me back) I'd tell you that it taught me to memorize my social security number and that was it.

Other than the one class I took with Simic, a class in which I realized he's a far better writer than a teacher, I'd say the English department was really disappointing. The professors played favorites and not even subtly so, and the fact that I had to waste time in classes, like the aforementioned math and sciences, as a means to fulfill a requirement was the biggest waste of not just my time, but my money.


I'm still paying off student loans to a mediocre school from which I learned nothing.

I realize now, as an adult, that if I had put more into the experience, I probably would have gotten more out of it, but there's so much you can ask of a kid that age in regards to being proactive. With hindsight being 20/20, I can clearly see that the professors with whom I had classes weren't very engaging unless, of course, you kissed their butt and told them that the couple of books they self-published were fantastic but unfortunately, I'm missing that gene.

RELATED: Please Stop Telling Me My Degree Will Be Useless

As I approached the end of my undergrad career, knowing even then it had been a waste, I briefly considered going to grad school in the hopes of having an enriching experience there.


In grad school, I wouldn't have to worry about required classes and I imagined the smaller programs would allow for actual mentoring relationships with professors, as opposed to the ones you get with professors when you're an undergrad.

However, I missed my initial deadline for grad school because the professor I was counting on to write one of my recommendations forgot. She actually shrugged her shoulders and said, "Oops" when I reminded her of the deadline date. And this was supposed to be one of UNH's "finest" professors. So fine in fact, she's still employed there. Good thing for tenure, huh?

Since graduating over a decade ago, I've tried, on many occasions, especially every time a student loan came in, to figure out exactly what I got out of my education. Each and every time I come back to the same conclusion: Nothing.


I would have been better off if I had gone backpacking across Europe for four years instead of wasting time in New Hampshire. I'd have stories and adventures to share, more fodder for writing, and zero student loans of which to speak. I also wouldn't have the alumni association calling me looking for donations, like my tuition wasn't enough.

RELATED: Half Of Parents Nowadays Don't Want Their Kids Going To A 4-Year College — 'A Degree Costs An Average Of $500,000'

Amanda Chatel is an essayist and intimacy health writer for Yourtango, Shape Magazine, Hello Giggles, Glamour, and Harper's Bazaar.