Life After College – What Now?

After being on hiatus for almost a year, I am so happy to finally be back in the blogging sphere, doing what I love. 

While I was away, I was buckling down on my last ten college courses so I could finally get my degree, and get the hell out of there (mission accomplished). Now that I’m back, I wanted to give a little recap of the last year, and dive into what my plans are for my future, and the future of this blog. 

MY COLLEGE HORROR STORY

College, for some, can be the opportunity they need to get training for their career, and a degree that can make all the difference when it comes to applying for jobs. I want to make it very clear before this rant begins that pursuing a higher education isn’t always the wrong decision, but for me, it absolutely was. 

I’m a lifelong learner. I absorb facts like air, and I spend hours every day teaching myself something new. I thought college was the logical next step for me after high school, and I was led to believe that it was my only option if I didn’t want to join the military or commit to a life of working in retail. 

I’m not ashamed to admit that, for me, college was hell. Not because the workload was too steep or because I was too challenged, but because I was screwed over again and again, and in the end, I walked away with a degree that meant absolutely nothing.

I have been very vocal in the past (and will continue to be) about how regrettable my decision to go to college was. For this reason I feel obligated to dive a little deeper into what exactly made my experience so intolerable:

I’ll start with the worst part first. About halfway to my photography degree, I took an anthropology class to satisfy my general education requirement for science. I fell in love with it, and decided to also pursue a degree in anthropology. I met with a counselor, and they told me all the additional classes I would need, which added an extra year to my time at the school. So, when I had completed all the requirements for both my photography and anthropology degrees, I applied for graduation. Within the application there was a section that asked you to list the degree(s) you expected to receive. About two weeks after submitting my application, I received a phone call informing me that my school didn’t offer an anthropology degree, and never had. I was in disbelief. I had met with several counselors, who had all assured me that I was on track to receive my degree; a degree that never existed. 

Unfortunately, this kind of thing went on at my school all the time. In truth, the school’s priorities were not in the best interest of the students; at the end of the day, what they care about is money, and if that means deceiving students to keep them there longer than they need to be, so be it. It sickens me. So many of my friends spent time and money on extra classes that their counselors told them they were required to take, only to find out later that they were deliberately misled. It’s an epidemic, and nothing is ever done about it.  

When it comes to actually earning my photography degree, I will admit that the professors I had were great, for the most part. Unfortunately, the school cut most of the advanced photo classes after my first semester. Even though my teachers were knowledgable, they didn’t have the opportunity to teach us the things we really needed to know. Most of what I learned during my time in school was what I taught myself from watching YouTube tutorials, and what I learned from working with other photographers. So, I spent time and money on classes that did not prepare me for the photography industry, and was given a degree that I didn’t feel I had earned.

Still, by the time the thoughts of dropping out or transferring to another school started crossing my mind, I had already completed too many classes to back out, so I stuck with it. 

In the end, I walked away with my photography degree, and I didn’t even attend my own graduation ceremony out of pure spite. I didn’t want to spend a single moment longer than I had to on that ridiculous campus. 

On the bright side, if there is one, I learned an important lesson: sometimes you have to be self-reliant. Sometimes you need to do what’s in your best interest and stray away from the crowd. The only reason I pursued a degree in the first place is because I was lead to believe that I could never be successful without one. Now that I am more experienced and more acquainted with the photography industry, I know that a photography degree is completely unnecessary. If you want to learn photography, you can save vast amounts of money by educating yourself online and by working with other photographers. If I could go back in time and save myself the heartache, I would. But instead, maybe I can reach others with this blog and advise them to make the decision that is in their best interest, not the decision they feel pressured to make.

WHAT I'M UP TO NOW

I always expected that after I finished school I would be faced with some kind of crisis. After all, school was all I’d really ever known, so I was certain I’d go crazy looking for ways to occupy my time. So far, that has been far from the reality of the situation. In this new stage of life, things have been going pretty well for me. 

I’m still working as a freelance photographer, shooting a few weddings each year (any more and I’d probably go crazy from the stress), and focusing mostly on boudoir photography. I love making women feel good about their bodies and helping them see that they can be confident and proud of who they are. 

I’ve been traveling as much as possible, and have begun planning future trips throughout the upcoming months. I finally have the freedom to see the world without being held back by obligations such as school and work, and it feels fantastic.  

WHAT'S COMING NEXT

I’ve been writing a TON of blog posts that are just dying to be published. From travel diaries, to educational guides, to lifestyle and fashion-related posts. Every week I’ll have some exciting new content, so if you haven’t already, please subscribe so you can be notified when posts are published. I promise, you won’t want to miss what’s coming up in the next few months.

And now, perhaps my most exciting announcement: I’ve begun writing an in-depth ebook that will teach you photography the right way! I’ve been running my photography business for about six years now, and I’m always having friends and family reach out to me with questions about how to use their cameras or how to achieve a certain style with the photos they take. I developed a love for teaching others about my #1 passion, and I decided to create a book packed with tips and tutorials so that anyone can learn photography without having to spend a fortune! I’ll be publishing it later this year, so stay tuned for more information.

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If you have any questions about the ebook, comments about college, or just want to say hello, please feel free to drop a comment below! 

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