You Are More Than A Degree
I write this with the utmost love and encouragement.
I know that many individuals are in the season of graduation, and to reach the milestone of obtaining a college degree or any degree of higher education is indeed something to be excited about. I, myself, can relate to the many challenges that someone encounters during the quest of obtaining a degree.
I spent four years at Prairie View A&M University obtaining my Bachelors of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. Three days after graduating from Prairie View, I started an intensive accelerated 12 month nursing program at the University of Texas Medical Branch, in which I obtained my Bachelors of Science in Nursing.
So believe me when I say, I understand the struggle and journey of obtaining a college degree. It’s not easy. All the sleepless nights, the sacrifices, and the mental and emotional exhaustion can be a lot! So when you walk across that stage, when you hold that white paper in your hand, it means so much.
As blessed as I am and thankful to God to have obtained these degrees, these degrees do not mean everything to me. They do not make me who I am, and ultimately they do not determine my success.
Whether you’re a high school graduate, a college dropout, a college degree recipient, a graduate school diploma recipient, or an individual who has obtained their doctorate or PhD, please hear me out. I want to give you a few reasons as to why you are more than a degree.
#1. A piece of paper does NOT determine your value.
I want you to remember this above anything else. Your value and your worth does NOT come from whether you have a piece of paper stating that you have a degree. Your value does not come from how many scholastic letters you have behind your name.
Value is never found in things, but always found in God.
If you are someone who has not obtained their degree, there is no reason why you should feel less than, or less worthy than someone who has. If you are someone who has obtained their degree, there is no reason you should think more highly of yourself or take too much pride in yourself for having a degree. Why? Because a piece of paper, educational accomplishments or the lack thereof is not what brings about true value. We must remember that what really makes us worth something is the God that created us and our willingness to be humble and forever thankful for the life that he has given us.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” – Psalm 139:14
#2 A degree without a plan, is just a degree.
Sometimes I think it’s easy for us to forget that obtaining a degree is no greater than having a plan for that degree or a plan for your life if you don’t have a degree. My father always told me, “Ashley, plan your work and work your plan.”
We can have all the degrees in the world! We could have a master’s, a doctorate and a PhD, but if we have no plan for our lives when it comes to those degrees, it means absolutely nothing!
That’s why in some cases in today’s world there are many individuals who have obtained higher education and have a college degree, but still have no job or are in a financial crisis. We must remember that it’s just as important to work hard to walk across that stage as it is to work hard preparing and planning for life after we walk across the stage. The same concept applies to those without a degree.
Not having a degree does not exempt someone from having a plan for their life. So we must all remember, whether a degree is in our hands or not, we must still seek to develop a plan for our lives. Not only that, but making sure it is a plan in which you can provide for yourself and your family.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”- Proverbs 16:9
#3 True success is not determined by whether you have a degree or not.
I cannot stress it enough and I really want you to feel my heart as I type these next few words.
TRUE success is not determined by whether you have a degree or not.
I know sometimes the world likes us to believe that, but in reality that is not true. Every individual’s path is uniquely different and we all will face challenges whether there is a degree in our hands or not. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do value education and I do believe there are certain career paths that require specific degrees to move forward in that line of work.
However, everyone’s individual path is UNIQUE and SPECIAL. So just because someone chooses a path different from our own, doesn’t necessarily make them less valuable or less successful.
The key is making sure a plan is in place and in practice, and understanding that ultimately the Lord is ordering the steps and has the final say in our plan. We must remember that true success is not determined by our educational accomplishments, our popularity, or the size of our bank accounts. However, TRUE success is SPIRITUAL success! Spiritual success can be reached by an individual who seeks to live out their life for God and for His glory. If God is not guiding someone’s life, success has yet to even reach them.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” -Proverbs 16:3
#4 When you die, your degree will not be able to go with you.
It’s easy for us to get caught up in this physical life. We think this world will be forever, we will live forever, and time will never cease. However, this is far from the truth. Our lives will end someday and this earth will be gone. At the end of life, it’s not going to matter whether you have 3 degrees or 0.
What’s going to matter is if you feared the Lord and kept His commandments.
We must remember life is not about educational success and degrees, but about relationships, and ultimately our relationship with God. What really makes life worthwhile is not the white pieces of paper we get walking across a stage, or our achievements with or without a degree, but all of the beautiful souls we encounter along the way. It’s our relationships that matter!
Life is NOT about things, but about RELATIONSHIPS.
Some of my greatest memories from college were not so much obtaining my degree, but the amazing friendships and relationships I formed during the process. So many times we make the mistake of focusing on the things that are tangible, when in fact we should focus on those things that are intangible.
In conclusion, I want us all to remember this. Whether you are without a degree, desire a degree, or have a degree, remember “you are more than just a degree!”
You are a soul, a being, that God created for His glory.
He wants you to seek to live whatever life he has blessed you with for Him. So whichever path you have chosen, remember use your life in such a way that makes God proud and seeks to positively affect the lives you encounter along the way. Whether you die with a degree or not, seek to die being an individual who lived a life for God’s glory!
“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” -Ecc 12:13