I paid $35,000 for a college degree I don't use
Yup. You read that title right. I paid for a university degree that I am not even using… For those of you that don’t know, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in May of 2016.
Obviously this was not exactly the plan. Before I even graduated with my bachelors, I was accepted into a Family and Marriage therapy graduate program at Lee University. THAT was the plan. Long story short, in the end, I decided to take a year off of school before returning for my masters.
College for me was….. unconventional, I guess you could say. I didn’t make friends when I moved to Murfreesboro/MTSU and was the college student that had to choose online classes instead of campus classes because she was supporting herself financially. Basically, my schedule looked like this: school from 8:00am-1:00pm (for the classes I did have to take on campus) and work from 2:00pm-11:00pm. This was Monday through Friday. Then, when I got home, I had to do homework for my campus classes and stay up-to-date with my online classes. I was working 40 hours at my job (yes, it was full time… not part time) and going to classes for 20 hours. Needless to say, I was burnt out. I knew going straight into my masters degree was not wise.
Now, you must also understand, not going straight into my masters degree was NOT an easy decision. There are plenty of people in this world that can attest to me calling them and crying because I had no idea what to do. When I laid out the pros and cons, it still failed to make me feel better either way.
Here’s where things took a shift, though. After graduating in May I really dove deeper into my relationship with the Lord. Listen, I’m a transparent person and I’m not going to hide things. In fact, I want to help represent the working college students out there. Keeping up with your relationship with the Lord while working and going to school is HARD. Most of the time, it becomes a Sunday and maybe Wednesday devotion. Students legit have to go home after work and school at night and decide… do I start typing up my 10 page research paper that is due tomorrow that I haven’t even started or read my bible? I know, I know most of you are saying “Cheyenne, all you have to do is take 5 minutes with the Lord”. Where I know this is true, it’s simply just not as easy as it seems. Period. Could I have put in more effort, absolutely. In the moment, though, using my brain for one more task seemed impossible. At this rate, I finish my paper at 3am and have 4 hours of sleep until I start all over again.
At the end of the day, I do truly encourage students to try and spend some time with the Lord. I’m not at all trying to justify a lifestyle of neglecting your relationship and devotion time with the Lord. I’m simply saying to the reader that’s out there feeling the same way, “I’ve been there”. When I was finally able to spend the time with the Lord that I needed, he gave me the peace I needed to deny the position at Lee and take a year off. Little did I know where it would lead me…
Ya know that encouraging verse that everyone uses when they are trying to encourage someone that feels lost and is unsure of what to do next? Yep. That one. Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” At times, I dare say, it feels overly used (yes, I’ll be the one to say it). In all reality, no matter how many people use it in a day to try and make us feel better, it IS the word of God and he NEVER goes back on his word.
When the Lord told me to take time away from college, I didn’t know I would become a successful photographer. I didn’t know I would learn so much about marketing and advertising and how to run a prosperous business. I didn’t know I would be able to quit my corporate job and become my own boss. Moral of the story, I didn’t know I would be where I am today.
What I do know, though, is that the Lord has a plan. Sometimes, it’s not for us to know right away. Sometimes he reveals a whole plan to us at once. Would I have loved to not have to go through stress, anxiety and heart ache through my college years and just skip to my career? Umm, yes all the time. My human self wishes I could have just had it easier. My spiritual self, though, is so grateful for all the lessons I learned in college.
I was a first generation college student in my family. Not only was I the first to attend college, I was the first to graduate college. I absolutely LOVE psychology and was able to spend 2 solid years with students and professors that shared the same passion and taught me so much about human behavior. I am able to use what I do know about psychology and apply it to my business; after all, everyone interacts with humans. I am able to play a counselor role to my friend and some family as well as the amazing church youth students I’ve had the honor to work with. I’ve been a mentor to high school girls. I may not be using my degree professionally but I’m definitely God reasons; not the worldly ones.
It wasn’t easy for me to adopt this mindset. It is still hard some days to look in my closet floor and see my degree just laying there collecting dust. I know, however, the Lord has me right where he wants me. I’m in my mission field and he is blessing me so much more than I deserve. I still haven’t gone back for my masters degree and I’m not sure of that will happen anytime soon. All I know is that I am working on doing what the Lord has set out for me to do day by day.
If you have a similar story, I encourage you to seek the Lord. Sometimes we can rob ourselves from the blessings the Lord is trying to give us because our life isn’t going the way we want. He has plan that’s not going to harm you. He is going to give you a prosperous life. DON’T GIVE UP.
Until next time,
Cheyenne (almost Carter) Freeman