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Is a degree/diploma just a piece of paper?

24 December 2012, 09:28

I find that it is a common misconception that a degree is simply a piece of paper. I’ve heard too often by friends including my partner that a degree is a waste of time and that success can be achieved by simply reading books without the need to achieve this “piece of paper”.

Studying towards a degree/diploma encompasses more than just reading a number of pages. Presentations, exams and assignments are some of the tests that help to hone ones skills such as formal writing, analyzing information ect. How can a degree possibly be “just a piece of paper”?

Whilst i do believe that success does not emanate solely from a degree and that you do not need a piece of paper to prove you are educated, i feel it does however speak volumes to potential employers. Certain career paths require examples of work where i feel that a degree is not necessary and others which are mandatory for career paths such as doctors, lawyers ect.

Would you allow a doctor to operate on you if he/she failed to have the necessary qualifications?

That “piece of paper” opens many doors for a person and distinguishes between R5000 a month and the R10 000 + salary, of a person with tertiary education. While many may say that some of the richest people in the world do not have degrees or completed their education, this is the exception not the norm.

A degree comes with alot of sacrifices and hard work and it is something that you can use for the rest of your life. It gives one the satisfaction knowing, that “piece of paper” may give you more opportunities in life. Experience is simply not enough for some careers. Although there are many other ways to prove your worth to the employer, you CV will not get a second look without that “piece of paper” (that is for some careers).

I do not disrespect any person who does not have any formal tertiary education and as long as you are making a decent and honest living, you should be proud of yourself. All i’m saying is that i find it disrespectful when people reduce a degree to a “piece of paper”.

Yes it may be a “piece of paper” in its literal sense but it is a valuable “piece of paper” that represents great sacrifice of both time and money.

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