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    Hello my sistah's,
    I wanted to know what you all thought about college education being the road way to getting a better job. I graduated last year with a BS degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising and I have 13 years experience in retail selling and visual merchandising. I am now getting a Master's in Fashion Design because I want to learn how to successfully and skillfully design apparel. I want to have my own line but lately all the things that I have learned, I am beginning to get discouraged. I can't get a job in my field and mind you, I have been applying like crazey. I am still working in retail but at a low starting position, still. In my first semester in the graduate program I had an instructor tell me that I don't need a degree to start my career in fashion...I need to work in it. I would if I could. Tell me ya'll, what do you think? What would you do? What do you think about college education in America? Is it overrated?

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    I wanted to know what you all thought about college...

    Not 4 black folks!

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    I think it depends on what you want to do. Right now I am in college and I am also going in to a highly competive job market. In my position you have to have a degree or they won't even consider you. Not only to do have to have a degree you have to start at the very bottom, with very low pay and work your way up.I think if you want to start your own clothing line I would say school is good, only if you go to an artistic school. I am not sure if they have these but go to a fashion designing school. That way you learn your craft but also start making a network.

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    Actually, I am attending an Art school in San Francisco for my MFA and I still have yet to even be considered for an interview. I've applied for at least 30-50 jobs and I'm still applying. I can't even get a job as an assistant manager for a basic retail store and I have thirteen years of experience. This is very discouraging. I know I should keep trying but sometimes I do feel like giving up.

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    I agree that it depends on what you want to do. Some careers might require a Bachelor's degree, while others look more at practical experience. However, I do think higher education is important to make any advancement in the working world. I have seen too many people with just high school diplomas who struggle to keep their heads above water...now it seems the same is true for many with a Bachelor's degree.

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    I wanted to know what you all thought about college...

    No, it's not overrated. However, that doesn't mean that one size fits all.

    From what little I know about careers like fashion, a lot depends on exactly what your instructor said getting experience.

    But I think that to get in you're going to need to know people and be someone they want to work with. That factors in with other careers too. I mean if you're a lawyer who knows a lot of influential people, you're going to have an easier go switching jobs or career paths than someone who can't manage to figure out how to network.

    I lived in San Francisco for awhile and I know that city runs deep on connections. Maybe not as deep as some as it's a very mobile population, but it matters that you go to the places where people in fashion gather and network too. I'm not sure what sort of job you're looking for, but is it possible to pursue seasonal, contract or temp work. If so maybe do that to get your foot in the door and to just do a range of things making sure you do a great job everytime and start getting to know people who'll call you when something comes up.

    It's pretty much common knowledge that a person is much more likely to give a job to someone they're connected to either through school, friends, family or whatever than to a stranger. Get into it and start networking.

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    All of what you are saying is exactly how I felt until I started to see things happen that I just couldn't understand. For example, I applied for a merchandising job for a dept. store and was passed off by a person who had just graduated from high school. Mind you, I have at least 10 years in merchandising. Then I experienced seeing someone I knew get a job at the corporate level as a buyer and had only been with the company for one year in the lowest position and didn't work her way up to this position and never networked...she just got promoted and the company moved her out of state...mind you she didn't have any relationship with these people. The people I went to school with gave up on fashion and now work county and state jobs and I just refuse to settle. I don't think education is overrated....I think the thought of going to school in America to get a better job is.
    I have an aunt who was let go from her job because she cost the company too much money and she was the top employee, mgmt.
    Then I interned for a visual merchandiser for Saks and she was regional manager and was let go because she too cost the company too much money and she is back at square one.
    I am seeing too many negative outcomes through other people that makes me question what I am doing.

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    I have an aunt who was let go from her...

    Um, okay, that's cool and all, but I'm going to say this because you're asking for career pointers. I'm not trying to hurt your feelings but your tone is really negative. If that's what you're bringing into an interview, I'm going to choose the next candidate. I say that because decisions are based on something that quick: a feeling. If you're putting out that you think like that, they'd rather hire someone with less experience but more verve. I know I walk in. I chit-chat. I talk. I'm also ALWAYS friendly and warm to everyone I deal with from the doorman (if there is one) to the secretary or assistant because you never know who gets input on the decision and it really is very much about "fit".

    Why not focus on the positive stories? Why focus not on your aunt or the visual merchandiser? I know companies are cutting costs and they are "cutting the fat" so to speak but they don't cut those who are essential to their success. These women might have been great, but they weren't essential and they got cut.

    So you've got to find and focus on the people who are essential. Does your school not have informational interviews? Years ago I almost got a job offer when I did one. I thought I would be coming home from Korea soon and decided to call upon an alumni of my school to ask about what he did. He asked me if I would be free to work for him, but I was flying back to Korea in a couple of weeks. Find these people, talk to them and find out how they got there.

    I'm not sure how the buyer career track works, but I too know people who got hired right out of college with no experience to do those jobs. Sometimes it's about being over-qualified. If you've got 10 something years, they don't want you because you'll cost too much. However, you don't want to be a buyer, you want your own line, so why are you focusing on buyer jobs? Also, you're not going to get an entry-level merchandising job, you've got 10 years of experience, as you say.

    It just seems that all you're bringing up are these "life isn't fair" stories and if you go out with that attitude, I'll bet you cold hard cash that's what you'll get back.

    My advice is to look at this with some wonder, excitement and a "what do I need to learn" attitude.

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    I wanted to know what you all thought about college...

    Depends on what you want to do. Law, Medicine....yes.

    Also, it's not WHAT you know but WHO you know. I've met a lot of folks (Black and White) who have gotten great positions...(I'm talking 80K and up) based on who they know. Once they got in there, they proved themselves and are doing great. I know others with SEVERAL degrees who are hunting for work.

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    I'm sorry, I am not trying to be negative at all. Please don't get the wrong impression. I am just sharing what I've experienced and seen for myself. My attitude is positive at work and at home....I'm just trying to explain what I've seen and was wondering why it is happening like this. That is what I am trying to understand.

    By the way, I forgot to add.....I am obviously trying something because I am obtaining my Master's in Fashion Design....I'm trying....with efforts. Fashion Design school is not cheap. I have hope for the future but in the meantime, I was just trying to understand the position I am in right now in getting a starting career and wondering if education is helping me or slowing me down.

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    deng sis, sorry that this is happening to you

    i'm a fashion head with NO degree and i honestly dont want one and i already feel successful without feeling the need to go to a university and such

    dont get me wrong, i AM taking classes (that are free) to build my skills, but something that is art related, ive always firmly believed that its all about who you know!

    i know ONE fashion job thats in desperate need for, PATTERNMAKERS!!!! its a tough skill but i see left and right designers requesting for some!

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    Yeah, I have a lot of designer friends who never went to school for design, just have a passion for it and they just do it. I've considered to do that myself, just do it. The education is o.k. but as my teacher said, if you are not good, it doesn't matter what kind of education you get. She told me I was good.

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    ITA that going to school to get in a particular field/job/salary range isn't a guarantee if you have a degree.

    I know plenty of people who went to college and are struggling, and I know some people with a H.S. diploma or A.A. degree and have a comfortable lifestyle.

    Do I think the "go to college and you'll be set for life" message is a bit played out and obsolete? Yes. Do I think that continuing education is important as the OP has said? Yes.

    I think my generation has been sold a faulty bill of goods by constantly telling us college is the way to cement a good future. The world we live in is changing so rapidly, and if you haven't researched the field you want to go into and the opportunities available for you, you're doing yourself a great disservice.

    And even still, jobs that were hot 10 years ago have cooled off considerably - unfortunatley in this turbulent economy and job market - there are no guarantees.

    The only advice I can give is to do your homework, get as much training/education as you can on as much as you can, and if all else fails - have a business plan so you can always own your own business...

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    By the way, I forgot to add.....I am obviously trying...

    Fair is fair and it's great that you're looking at the whole picture. I'm not saying by any stretch to ignore reality. Also, I know I don't have the whole picture and it's clear you're pursuing more via school and whatever else. Unless you're wealthy, school is expensive and it's an investment, so you should determine if it's the right thing for you.

    I'm actually glad we have someone in here who is also working to get ahead in the industry because she can offer pointers in a way that I can't.

    However, I'm just saying that those little things like atittude and tone matter. Any business is going to want enthusiastic and positive people working for it and, in this job market, there are so many people looking that the competition is stiff.

    From this thread, even though it was very young, I've read two posts with you squarely focused on what you can't do, a jobs that some had gotten which you thought was unfair, or how some have been cheated 'cause they were laid-off. Negative, negative, negative and focused squarely on failure.

    There was no focus on the go-getters who are successful in your industry and I'm saying that if you focus on the negative stories then you're going to have a hard time. Look at them, study them and then focus on the people who are getting things done in spite of it all.

    Tom Ford is huge and I will use him as an example. I saw a recent interview with him and the interviewer asked him if he ever had any doubts or how he saw himself before all of his success. Ford said he'd never imagined anything else but success for himself. My point is, your attitude and focus matter. So focus on success and making it. Focus on figuring out how to get there and then taking the steps and the chances necessary. BTW, I believe he went to Parsons.

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    I know plenty of people who went to college and...

    I guess I had a hard time explaining myself. This is what I am talking about....is the "go to college and you'll be set for life" message played? My own parents see the difference today from when they went to school and got their jobs. Of course they have been with their jobs for thirty plus years and I wonder who does that anymore. I'm trying to see things realistically and owning my own business has been a big thought. My husband started his own business and right now he is in the slumbs because business is slow. That is normal. But how can one live with these sorts of situations? My husband and I went to college together out of state and of course we were broke but lived happily....now that we are back in Cali. and graduates we actually had to start over from scratch. And to be honest with you, it feels like we are starting from high school, not college. I know it takes time. But reality is sitting pretty and to be real, it does hurt. I am not trying to be negative but if I am in a negative situation, sometimes it is hard to be positive when your situation has lasted for more than two years and I am trying with all my might. Can't a gal be discouraged?

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    take it like this...

    you're in between blessings! ^_^

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    I think that now especially for Black women it is very important to have a college degree and beyond. Some jobs just want to know if you have the basics and completed a four year degree. You do not want to limit yourself by not completing school or going for a masters degree. I heard that soon a bachelors degree will be equivalent to a high school diploma. I mean education is the most important thing that you can get in life because you earned it and education cannot be taken away from you. I think that you should go as far as possible with education and experience in your particular field.

    Peace,
    Rasta

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    do you think that if this were an asian forum people would be questioning the value of education?

    sorry, but i get tired of black folk asking this question. having a degree is no guarantee of anything but you know, i'd rather have mine and know i have options than only have a high school diploma. most of the positions i want require at least a bachelors.

    if you go to school for something that is competitive, etc. then you're going to have to be more patient when it comes to getting a job. esp. in an industry like fashion, design, etc.

    i also say that in some industries, where you go to college is important and in others less so.

    but i would look into professional internships - longterm. there are apprenticeships and assistantships to be had. i would also review my resume and look at how i am interviewing and presenting myself. an internship, even unpaid, is a good way to get into the door.

    my impression of the fashion business is that it is very who you know and insular.

    By the way, I forgot to add.....I am obviously trying...

    welcome to life. things ain't what they used to be. and, it's common in every profession now to let go of the people with the higher salaries. used to be last hired, first fired. no more.

    i think there are so many outlets you can look into. there are sooooo many clothing companies out there. sears, target, walmart, jcpenny, federated stores, kohls, gap companies, etc.

    but in general, you're in a profession (retail) that is pretty unstable as many of these products fall into the category of luxury goods. if you look at the stocks of these companies, they go up and down and they are pretty sensitive to consumers' willingness/ability to spend money on things they don't need.

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    Flowechild,

    I say stay in encouraged. I myself am currently going for my BA in Human Resources and everyone says that the outlook is bleek fro that particular field. I but I know what I can do and I believe in me enough not to worry about what others say. Just like you saw one girl get promoted and moved to another state by a company... that girl could be you. Take the low paying job because it is about networking.

    My girlfriend started at the Census Bearue making $10.50 an hour now she works at the Department of Agriculture in MD making $23.00 an hour in the "HUMAN RESOURCE" department without a degree!! So with or without a degree... what is for you no one can block it but you. The race is for the slow and steady not the fast and fragile Stay encouraged.

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    As I said before, yes it is to SOME extent,...

    Girl, I am in the same boat, so I am also here to offer encouragement. DH and I are BOTH in school and money is tight and I get discouraged because we both left jobs that paid more $$$ so we'd be able to study more and get good grades. When I look at our bills I get mad, but I have to remind myself that as you said, it's a part of life and all a process. We have to learn from ALL stages in our lives because that knowledge will help us in the future...

    Stay strong sis God will never leave you and never forsake you - he's with you and molding you as we speak!

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    Quote:
    sorry, but i get tired of black folk asking this question
    yeah, me too. <_< If your degree(s) didn't bring the $$, success, quality of life you expected then GET CREATIVE and make your dreams happen anyway. In all the years I made \"good money\" without a degree I realized that the only thing that allowed my salary to exceed that of my peers was my willingness to learn and try new things and NEVER say \"that's not in my job description\"... now granted in the business world a degree will get a 19-20 year old in the door, some will suck at their jobs, some will excel but a degree (is supposed) to show your prospective employer - especially when you don't have much experience - that you have the tenacity, drive and patience to complete a project (your education) ...it can give insight into your subject matter expertise and your teamwork, networking skills, etc....

    The proof in the pudding is what happens afterwards....I've seen folk come in from good schools and are about as articulate as our revered President so they went through the paces, applied, got accepted and got good grades and a degree but never learned (or practiced) how to articulate themselves....hey it happens!

    I know it sounds corny but life (and a degree) are what you make it....

    All I'm saying is education is valuable, we should all continue to learn and advance our skillset even after we get the letters behind our names....

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    yeah, me too. <_< If your degree(s) didn't bring the $$, success, quality of life you expected then GET CREATIVE and make your dreams happen anyway. In all the years I made \"good money\" without a degree I realized that the only thing that allowed my salary to exceed that of my peers was my willingness to learn and try new things and NEVER say \"that's not in my job description\"... now granted in the business world a degree will get a 19-20 year old in the door, some will suck at their jobs, some will excel but a degree (is supposed) to show your prospective employer - especially when you don't have much experience - that you have the tenacity, drive and patience to complete a project (your education) ...it can give insight into your subject matter expertise and your teamwork, networking skills, etc....

    The proof in the pudding is what happens afterwards....I've seen folk come in from good schools and are about as articulate as our revered President so they went through the paces, applied, got accepted and got good grades and a degree but never learned (or practiced) how to articulate themselves....hey it happens!

    I know it sounds corny but life (and a degree) are what you make it....

    All I'm saying is education is valuable, we should all continue to learn and advance our skillset even after we get the letters behind our names....

    Yeah, what she said....

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    I recently posted this in someone's Myspace blog comments:

    I wish I'd left college and returned only when I KNEW without a shadow of a doubt what I wanted to do, even if it required me to be an older student while working/schooling simultaneously. I would have, if nothing else, appreciated it more. In the case of an entreprenuer who is ambivalent on the direction/feelings about their education, I'd say to take time off and...start the business! IF you decide to return , you know exactly what aspects of your education you should concentrate on, in addition to having a working knowledge of how to process and apply the coursework to your real life in the proper manner. Often we have older people telling us to "stay in school", etc. because in the not too distant past, a college degree automatically equaled upward mobility. Nowadays it truly is EXPERIENCE. In fact, I believe that one of the major reasons why the strength and earning power of a degree has been devalued is because of the rash of students being pushed (by the elder generation) to attend school as a result of their antiquated notions about the current entry-level job market and the fact that it is now easier for people from all walks of life to attend school.

    You should always value an education. But, and you will see from the abundance of educational/behavioral ignorance on many college campuses, COLLEGE does not necessarily equal EDUCATION.

    Yes, I am a bit bitter. And also $30,000 in debt with little more to show by comparison than my associate degree/high school diploma counterparts. However, I am more educated now that I've graduated...I read 10X more than when I was in college, and if I ever go back to school, it will only be for a class or two I desire or one that I NEED to obtain a specific set of skills for a particular position.

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    i was going to post something similar to librarising.

    college isn't overrated but it is what you make of it.

    in many other countries, kids don't go straight from high school to college like it's the next grade. they actually take a year (or two) off - do "national service" - low paid or volunteered position teaching grade school in the hinterlands or something, do a mandatory military stint, travel the world, etc. before starting on the college path. I think that helps to focus folks.

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    Most of you understand where I am coming from and I greatly appreciate that. My intentions to go back to school were solely for myself. I wanted to get better in my craft and build my skills. Then I began to wonder, am I waisting my time doing this? Should I be looking for a career instead? Then this is where these questions started to build. I have many talents and I know God wants me to use them wisely. I want to. I'm not a money chaser I just desire a more stable lifestyle with consistent pay so that I don't have to think about whether or not I can pay my bills. My retail job is inconsistent and depending on what I do in fashion that could be the rest of my life unless that changes. If you know what I mean. I am a go getter and I've had opportunities and have gone after those opportunities. I've come to realize that if something is for me, can't no one take it away. One thing I am known for is having a positive attitude and presenting myself well. These thoughts and questions are very unlike me and they came out of the blue when i actually had time to think about it. I've been on a one week vacation from work and during that vacation I just started to think about my future and where I am going. As for starting my own business.....I have done the research, studied a lot about a need and in school I have learned the in's and outs in starting a fashion business and it will be more difficult than imagined. But like I said, if it is meant it will happen because it will be in me to do it. I'm not lazey.....I love to work and work hard. So I appreciate all of your imput and encouragement and would love to say that I am feeling a whole lot better and my attitude is back on the plus sign. As long as I seek God's face and do what He wants me to do, I know I will be fine. Thank you so much for your words. Oh, and for those who mentioned that they are tired of black folks asking this question, did I say I was black? Not to get smart.....but I'm not on that race tip.

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    I wish I'd left college and returned only when I...

    ITA with everything you said. I'm a college dropout and every day is a constant reminder that I should've waited until I went to college. I dont feel that education is valued much in this country for the simple fact that most high schools don't properly give you the skills that you need to transition to college academia and its so daggone expensive to go to college. There are a lot of people out there in debt behind degrees that they either didnt finish or are not being used in their present jobs. Don't get me wrong, I do want to finish my BA but I dont think a lot of people at 17/18 know exactly what they want to do with their lives, let alone the 4 years they'll spend in undergrad. There are the select few who know what they want and they are blessed for having that insight at such a young age. There are others who are much older and find out their passions. My mother has her BA in Business Management with a concentration in accounting. She went back to school when she was 30 to become a photographer. she loves photography and even said that when she was looking at highschools and colleges she wanted to go to Fashion and Design HS but my grandfather told her hell no! that she wouldn't make money 'drawing pictures' and that she should do 'something practical with her life'. I'm sure at the time he felt he was saving her from making a mistake but she was 14, what better time to make mistakes? thats how you grow. At 17 I did the same thing by majoring in Pre Med. My father just knew I was gonna be a doctor but after a semester of intensive sciences I knew that it was not what I wanted to do with my life. 10G and 4 years later I know what I love and now I'm literally paying the price for not making a better decision at 17 but what did I really know at 17? Now at 21 I feel like I have a lot over my peers who are just entering the workforce because I'm making damn good money with my HS diploma, I've held a steady position for 2 years where I basically learned programs hands on that not a lot of people know how to use and I have a better grasp of what I want out of life. I want to go back to school because I know with that piece of paper I can make more money but for now I'm content with slowly paying off my debt while taking a few continuing Ed courses at my local colleges for the extra enrichment I want.

    My mother always said there is no one path. Everyone's path is different and just because it's not conventional doesn't mean that it's wrong. If it works for you that's all that matters.

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