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Can experience make up for a degree?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by COPrimeaux, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. COPrimeaux

    COPrimeaux New Member

    So, here is my dilemma.

    I am a 24 year-old former student at Houston Baptist University, where I was a double major in Mass Communication and Christianity. I have completed the mass comm program and am missing only three Christianity courses in order to earn my degree.

    My problem is that I am financially tapped out. Loans, grants, scholarships, whatever. There's no more money in the till. So I had to drop out.

    Yes, I could go get any minimum wage job and save up and go back, but I have spent six years and $100,000 learning how to do something and becoming quite good at it. To do anything else will make me feel like it was all a waste of time.

    To give you an idea of what my resume holds, I was an editor for an award-winning student publication, and I have won awards for news stories, editorials and my sports column. I also have completed internships with Houston's leading sports radio station, and with the Houston Aeros. I am now doing stringer work for the AP, covering the Astros. For someone just starting out, I feel like I have earned a bit of experience.

    But I don't have my degree. I don't have my degree because I am missing three Christianity courses. I have obtained all the knowledge that I was supposed to obtain in the major for the career I want.

    So my question is, realistically, can I hope to move forward in my career without this piece of paper?

    I'm struggling with this for a couple of reasons. First, this industry, like almost every other industry, isn't exactly thriving. There aren't a lot of jobs out there. So I understand that the odds aren't in my favor to begin with.

    But second, I am an idealist. I wholeheartedly believe that a person's skill and talent still matters in this world, and especially in a profession where integrity is so highly valued. And if someone is good enough to do the job, then it shouldn't matter how well I understand the premillenialist dispensationalist view of Revelation.

    Your thoughts?
  2. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Most importantly, your degree is a sunk cost. Don't pass up better opportunities just because you feel like you have to use it.

    I left school one class short of graduating for a job offer, and it's never been an issue with any job I've interviewed for.
  3. COPrimeaux

    COPrimeaux New Member

    Well its not a matter of feeling like I have to use my degree. I want to use what I learned. That's why I learned it. I want to be a sportswriter. That's what I feel like I was born to do. Its not like my fiancee who is close to getting her accounting degree but hates accounting.
  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    That's fine. If you want be a sportswriter, that's a fine reason to be one.
  5. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I think it will be a harder road. But I have at least one 30-something friend on the desk at a major, major, major metro that does not have a college degree.
  6. COPrimeaux

    COPrimeaux New Member

    I'm okay with a harder road. Just not an impossible one.
  7. rpmmutant

    rpmmutant Member

    I landed my first sportswriting job as a sophomore in college. I kept taking classes and working on my BA. Took a little longer than I wanted, but you can do both.
  8. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Also - You are 24 years old. There is a very, very good chance that you were not "born" to be a sports writer. It might interest you, and many of us have made a career out of it. But don't pigeon-hole yourself too early because you think you couldn't be happy anywhere other than a sweaty post-game locker room. Because about 1 tenth of 1 percent of the people who think that sports writing is their absolute calling are wrong.
  9. COPrimeaux

    COPrimeaux New Member

    Trust me. I've tried a lot of different things in my time in college. This is the first thing I've done that I'm any good at. It isn't just sports. I'll write about anything. But sports is my preference. But I know I was born to be a writer.
  10. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Look at it this way. In this market when 50 people apply for a job as a meter reader, they are looking for ways to cull the list of resumes.

    On any reporting job a degree is going to a "role desireable" or a "role essential" and it's going to be tough to keep your resume from getting tossed at the outset.

    That said, networking and knowing people is the biggest key to getting a job but I would find a way to get that degree.
  11. ZTGA

    ZTGA New Member

    A lot of official job postings mention a degree or equivalent experience needed. Does anyone know what would be considered equivalent experience?
  12. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but you can't figure out a way to pay for three classes? Doesn't sound like much to handle.
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