(Closed) uneducated? GED? I feel like a huge loser!

posted 4 years ago in Emotional
Post # 2
1002 posts
Bumble bee

I don’t have personal experience with this, but I can say that the “traditional education” route isn’t the only measure of success.  And I say that as someone who wants to someday become a college professor!  I think that our society greatly undervalues experience, trade schools, and aprenticeships, all things which used to contribute much more highly to the measure of an individual’s employability than they now do.

I’m currently in graduate school (with a high school diploma, an AAS, and a BA under my belt), but my partner has a GED.  It’s not that he didn’t finish high school, he didn’t even attend high school.  And yet he makes over $20K a year more than I do, despite the fact that we both work full-time, and the fact that I started working at the age of 14 and he started working at the age of 18.  We work for the same employer (the state government, different branches), and both work in physical positions (it’s not like one of us is a laborer and one of us is in a desk job or IT or something).  Education is absolutely not the only way to measure (or attain) success, as it sounds like you have already shown.

I think a better question would be this: Do you feel fulfilled?  You can feel like you need to pursue education for reasons beyond simple “success.”

Post # 4
1298 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

It obviously depends on your field and your area of work, but typically professional experience trumps education. 

Now if you only have 1-3 years of professional experience in your field, then your lack of formal education will most likely be problematic. If you have been working in your field for 5-10+years and have solid recommendations from previous employers and can demonstrate success within your roles — that is much more important then whether you got a diploma. It’s definitely not true that employers ask to see actual copies of the diploma.

Typically employers will have “High school Diploma” or “B.A./B.Sc.” in the qualifications portion of a job listing. However employers are basing this on the general rule that those are required in order to get to a level of success within the field. If you can demonstrate success within the field and *don’t* have those qualifications, it’s not a deal breaker. In the qualifications section employers are describign their IDEAL candidate but are flexible and recognize that they may have to may compromises. THey’ll prefer to compromise on a candidate who’s “missing qualification” doesn’t impact the ability to perform the role then one that does.

e.g. A position requires a undergraduate degree, 3-5 years experience, people management skills, and the ability to speak spanish.

Candidate A has: 3-5 years experience, people management skills, and spanish 

Candidate B has: undergraduate degree, 3-5 years experience, and spanish

They’re going to go with Candidate A (all else being equal) since people management skills are more essential for solid job performance and Candidate B is a bit of a wild card on whether those skills can be developed or not. 

If you’re worried about your previous experience from another country not translating over easily (a very valid concern), then you may need the GED and other degrees to signal to the employer your skillset, reliability, and maturity. That’s really all degrees are, job market signals (and often not very good ones).

I don’t know enough about your situation to tell you “do this” or “don’t do that”  as the field of your work, the type of professional experience you have, your other resume qualifications, will all influence what the best path forward is for you. 

I would recommend talking with a career coach and laying out all the information so that they can best advise you where to invest your time, money, and effort. 

Don’t be ashamed or not feel successful becaues you don’t have a highschool diploma. My Fiance works for a multi-million dollar IT company that was founded by and is currently run by a guy who never graduated highschool. He worked hard, taught himself what he needed in the field, got experience working for other firms, then started his own business. A degree/diploma does NOT measure the success, intelligence, or self-worth of a person. It’s merely a traditional job market signal to demonstrate you have basic knowledge in a variety of topics and commitment to accomplish tasks with deadlines. These are capabilities that can and are achieved in numerous other ways!!

Post # 5
1002 posts
Bumble bee

stillme82:  My partner was…kind of home schooled.  It was a complicated situation, but the real answer is that he’s essentially self taught, as his “home school” education consisted largely of highly biased religious teachings (things like “the plants on Earth are green because people find the color green to be calming, so God made grass green to promote peace”).  It’s also why he hasn’t ever pursued further (higher) education, as it gave him a very skewed perspective on organized education systems (he’s pretty sure they’re all bad/biased/out to indoctrinate students).

Post # 6
4238 posts
Honey bee


You don’t have to have a HS diploma or GED to be educated. Plenty of people are educated without those things just as plenty of people with them are uneducated. Still, if it’s a life pursuit for you, pursue it. Just my $0.02.

Chin up, Bee!


Post # 7
1143 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

I’m a highschool dropout and I own it! I speak languages, I’m well read, I have an excellent job… I’m self made, and I have nothing to prove 🙂

What I would say is if this is an issue for you, maybe you could consider the Open University. You can get a proper degree and a HS diploma is not a requirement. You can study part time, in any country, so no need to go back home. Just an idea. 

Post # 8
1131 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

stillme82:  Hi, I am so sorry you are feeling this way but I can tell you this… If you have a thrive to be successful you will.  Everyone has road bumps along the way and a lot of us overcome them.  It’s never to late to get an education.  Don’t let your past experiences get in the way.  Just relax and take a deep breath and believe that you will get through this.  You got through your other hard experiences I am sure you will get through this one with a breeze.  Good luck!

Post # 9
199 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

Polyphemus:  I’m so interested in how his religious schooling impacted his personal growth? Have you had any problems as a couple as a result of it? Are your religious views compatible with his?

Post # 10
438 posts
Helper bee

stillme82:  Something I learned in college is that education isn’t everything. It isn’t a measure of intelligence or the only measure of success. Motivation and circumstance play a big role in why a person may have the privilege of education, and it sounds like you had some atypical circumstances. If getting your degree will help you feel better about yourself then go for it, but please know that you’re not a loser and plenty of people are “successful” without an education. 

Post # 11
3961 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

Please do not feel ashamed! My stylist recently went back and took the GED test and I would never think that she was uneducated or unsuccessful. She stopped going to school when she got pregnant and I thought she was so courageous to go back. If you feel you need to get your GED to feel fulfilled, don’t let anyone stop you!

Post # 12
152 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

So you are going back and doing your GED? That’s awesome! It sounds like you were in a very tough situation when you were a teenager and you made the best of it. I hope you go back and do your GED and feel proud of it esp since it sounds like you are in a very good situation to do so with your husband there to help support you. Once you do it, it will be yours forever and no one can take it away.

Post # 13
3089 posts
Sugar bee

While I can’t relate to the high school drop out part I will say that:

1. There are more than one way to be successful

2. You have the power to change what you dont like about yourself. It is never too late.  Ask my 60 year old mother.

Post # 14
1837 posts
Buzzing bee

Please do NOT feel like a “loser.” Education is not a perfect proxy for intelligence or ability. Take the time to get your GED–and that will give you a confidence boost, and then you can get more education from there if you like. Go to community college–they don’t care if you have a GED instead of a high school diploma. Then if you do really well in community college you can go on to a 4-year college from there and they won’t care about whether you finished high school or not. 

You don’t need all this to be successful — but it makes it easier, and it sounds like maybe you do need it for your self esteem. Also, although studying can be boring and stressful, it can also be great fun learning all of that stuff. And I bet you will find strenghts you didn’t know you had. 

Good luck, bee!

Post # 15
1002 posts
Bumble bee

anonybeez2011: I’d say one of the biggest impacts of his religious schooling – and being brought up in a restrictive religious environment – on his personal growth is that he now abhors religion.  There’s a saying: “The road to atheism is paved with Bibles that have been read cover to cover.”  In his case (as in my case), this proved true, but in his case it wasn’t a voluntary exposure.

We’re both hardcore atheists, so there aren’t any problems with conflicting religious views – we don’t have any. 

We do occasionally have conflicts in our views about biology, largely because I have a good grounding in and understanding of biology, as well as a better-than-the-average-non-medical-professional understanding of medicine, and he absolutely doesn’t have an understanding of biology (outside of understanding the principles of evolution), because his religiously-restricted education presented very tainted/skewed/incorrect information in that field.  Since he is almost entirely self-taught, and biology is not a field that interested him, he just doesn’t really know about it.  So he tends to interpret things through the lens of physics (a field that interests him immensely), instead, which is applicable to some extent, but also ignores a lot of the more complex intricacies that have to be taken into account when you’re looking at a living organism.

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