I Never Got My Degree And I Finally Let It Stop Scaring Me

Anonymous Anonymous in Let's Face It on 19 March, 2018

Maybe I suck at decision making. At least I have always had a tough time with it.

I have reached a stage in my life today where I wonder if I will be able to complete anything successfully if I take it up.

I have an incomplete degree. I have not yet completed my CA course. Perhaps these experiences have added that facet to my character.

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Yes, I quit college when I was in the 3rd year because an adamant college owner thought that the best way to prove his authority to us was by insulting my dad in front of other people. My dad was a person who had never taken any nonsense from anyone. But he chose to keep quiet that day for the sake of his daughter’s future.

I had been asked to repeat a year for no fault of mine. So I quit that college.

There was another reason too. The college that I studied in had a tie-up with a CA coaching centre. I refused to undergo coaching in that centre and was shocked when the Vice President of the college told me that, "All this wouldn't have happened if you had taken coaching from our coaching centre!" That was the end of my stint with that college.

I went ahead and started doing my CA article-ship in a mid-size firm in Bangalore because I had cleared my Group 1 inter papers in my 1st attempt. My journey into the world of CA had started. I got to learn a lot of things in 3 years.

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It is only because all those lovely and knowledgeable people guided me so well while I was working in their firm that I learned so much. These were the people who taught me the meaning of ‘professionalism’.

Unfortunately, after my 3-year journey ended, I was finding it difficult to clear the Group 2 papers of my inter even after multiple attempts. I still couldn’t figure out why I had not been able to clear my papers. I knew I had genuinely given 200% for my preparation. Yet I would always lose out by 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 marks. I would often wonder if I was going wrong somewhere. I would work on my weak areas so that I could clear my papers in the next attempt. I would see a lot of people clearing the papers. And when I say a lot of people – I mean people with whom I had interacted closely.

I knew how serious they were about their preparations. I knew the level of their technical knowledge and I had always found myself doing better than them in all these aspects.

 Endless questions like, “Why not me?” “What was wrong?” “Why was I not getting the desired results despite several attempts?” continued to haunt me but unfortunately I never got any answers for them.

I started getting depressed.

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I saved people from the headache of judging me because something more disastrous was happening to me. I was judging myself.

I started having thoughts like, “Maybe I was too dumb for this course. Maybe the entrance exams and the Group 1 inter papers that I had cleared in my first attempt had been a stroke of luck and nothing else. Maybe this was something that I would never be able to crack. Maybe I was not meant for all this.”

My depressed state of mind worsened when I thought about the reality. I didn’t know what I would do without a proper college degree. I had done a correspondence course but the degree became valid only after I finished my CA course.

So if nothing worked out, I would end up being considered only a 12th pass candidate.

I had a fair amount of knowledge in the field of finance. I decided that I needed a change after I attempted to clear my Group 2 papers again. I had taken a break of 8 months from my article-ship to prepare for my Group 2 papers. I started looking out for a job. I got a job in a mid-size company where I learned to handle all the financial aspects of the company. I worked for a year with this company.

I experienced failure again so I did not want to attempt writing my Group 2 papers again. This time I was definitely thinking about myself. I did not want to push myself into depression anymore.

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Yes. I quit pursuing my CA because I wanted to save myself from the torture that I was putting myself through. Deep within my heart, I knew I was scared of what people would say!

When I told my parents about my plans of quitting CA, my mom’s first reaction was, “How can you give it up now all of a sudden? We have told everyone that you are doing your CA!” I had to just ignore it because at the end of the day they were my parents though they had a different kind of logic. But when I told them about what I was experiencing they supported me wholeheartedly.

So I decided to take a break from my CA for the time being. I am at peace with myself because I was not torturing myself for the sake of society or worrying myself sick over their comments.

I had sacrificed enough during these 5 years and now I wanted to make up for all the time that I had lost. And that is what I have been trying to do recently.

I still get to hear that I am a quitter from many people. They say that I need to learn to finish whatever I take up. I get it. I get the fact that a person should ‘NEVER GIVE UP.’ But here are some questions that immediately come to my mind.

Is it right to ‘never give up’ on something even if it is destroying you? Is it right to ‘never give up’ on something even if it not giving you happiness? Is it right to ‘never give up’ on something because somehow you feel it is more important to satisfy the people of your society but not yourself?
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I had reached such a state that I felt as if the company in which I was working in currently was doing me a favour by retaining me in the organization. I had never liked the atmosphere of the company. The employees were never treated fairly here. There had been situations where even I was treated with disrespect. But I never had the courage to quit working for them because I did not have a proper degree.

I had never tried to explore my skills and talent. I had no faith in myself anymore. I had always assumed that nobody would give me a job because I did not have a proper degree. I was scared of being judged all the time. I had literally started running away from people and opportunities.

One fine day, I decided that I was fed up with my employer and tried looking for other opportunities. After ONE LONG YEAR. I just wanted to give myself a chance. I got a call from another company to appear for an interview. This company was much better compared to my current organization. Yet I was scared.

I was scared that I might not get selected because I did not have a proper valid degree. But I had nothing to lose. I was ready to face any outcome now.

I completed 3 rounds of interviews and was waiting for the company to get back to me. And hurray! I was selected. I was selected for the knowledge that I had. I was not rejected because I did not have a 3-year degree certificate. Yes, maybe it is true that I may never be able to get into an MNC because my not having a valid degree may prove to be an issue.

But maybe I don’t mind it all that much now. I have learnt that I don’t need a degree to prove myself anymore.

I still get to hear about all my incomplete tasks from my own family members. But I have learned to ignore all of it.

I know what I am. I don’t expect anyone to understand my situation or my capabilities.

I know that I have saved myself from my own negativity. I don’t really care too much about what other people think of me now. I know I am a survivor and I am proud of myself.

Author's Note:

By the way – I am not working for anyone else anymore. I intend to become a full-time entrepreneur now and am finally putting all my hidden talents to work. I don't know how things will turn out or what will happen to me in future. All I know is that I need to believe in myself. That is the only solution to all my problems.

Editor's Note:

Failure beats the hell out of us but it also brings about a transformation in our thinking. We all will get our time under the sun when the time is right but we will never forget the life lessons that we learnt from our failures. Maybe we learn to believe in ourselves only when others question and/or ridicule our decisions. Do share this young lass’ story because she really inspires all of us with her grit, determination, intelligence and courage.