At the end of the 20th century, high school students knew the rules to get ahead. Rule number 1: Any well-paying professional job requires a four-year college degree. Rule number 2: A degree from the right school opens more doors.
As a below-average dyslexic student who was unlikely to get a 1500 on the SAT, these rules caused me a lot of anxiety. Getting into a good college would be an uphill struggle; graduating was not guaranteed, and it would cost a lot of money either way.
I found an excellent commuter school and worked part-time for a large telecom company at night and on weekends to pay my tuition. That job itself was a conscious choice. It was related to the programming career I wanted to establish. As I worked my way up in the company, I gained more technical knowledge fixing the telecom’s systems and helping their customers than I learned in my technical systems classes. Although it took me longer to obtain my degree, I graduated debt-free with years of experience in my chosen field.
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