20-Something Question: Finish School or Cut Bait?






I am 23 years old. Last May I left my college after 4 years completed but with no diploma. I was majoring in Social Work. Unfortunately I failed my senior internship in the fall semester. Therefore I was unable to continue on in the department and subsequently not graduate with a B.S.W. I have 111 credits to my name. I spoke with a few family members about my circumstance and they have all said to return to school and continue majoring in Social Work. I want to go back to school, however not any time soon because I don’t think it is a financially wise decision. I have over $80,000 in student loans. In addition, I do not want to continue in earning a degree in Social Work. I believe my failed grade happened for a reason.  I am struggling to find my “magnetic north.” I am oriented to helping and working with others. Should I go back to Social Work or pursue another career?




I think you have answered your own question. You cannot continue to push towards a degree in something you do not want to do. You will struggle for the rest of your life, hating going to work and getting fired from jobs you don’t want to do. The point of college is to find what you want to do. I often think of the quote “do something you love and you will never work a day in your life”. I think at your young age this should still be the goal. I know financial burdens can be overwhelming but don’t give up the dream. When you find something you love everything will come naturally. – 40-something, advertising, NYC


I think you should finish the degree.  The small amount of time and money to “wrap” the degree up will be something you will not regret. Not completing on the other hand will always hang over your head.  If you were coming to this conclusion after 50 credits I would have a different opinion but you are so close to completing something I think you will need for your future….a degree.  You can continue to find your magnetic North while finishing this journey and look to begin a new one.  My humble opinion. – 40-something, self-employed, Ohio


My best advice would be to either finish school and get your degree – assuming you have very few credits left, or to use the credits toward a new degree.  Having completed so many credits already puts you very close to degree and a better shot at getting a job to start paying off those loans.  Only you can answer what it is that you actually want to do, but if you are struggling, make a list comparing your strengths and weaknesses and your goals.  Look at what types of jobs are available with a social work degree, do these appeal to you?  If not, change your line of study.  Helping others can be teaching, starting a not-for-profit business, etc.  Widen your horizons to see what is possible with what you have already done. – 40-something, designer, business owner, Brooklyn, NYC

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