Life After College: I’m Not Using My Degree

What life for me has been like 2 years after graduating, and how I'm adjusting to a career without utilizing my degree.

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Graduating from college and going into the work force is an interesting transition for many college graduates. I graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Kinesiology. I planned to attend graduate schools to become a Physician Assistant. I checked all the boxes and added extra ones of my own. I was an active member of various health professional organizations in my college, had an excellent GPA of 3.93, volunteered in hospitals, and was a certified phlebotomist working in clinical research for an orthopedic surgeon.

Looking from the outside, many would think I had it all figured out and I knew exactly what I wanted. Well for me, I didn’t have it figured out. Inside I was terrified of investing so much time and energy into a career I would hate. With a financial ceiling for how much value I could be providing to people. I’ve always known my passion was to help people. To be a servant in some way. It took me many years of “checking the boxes” to realize health care was not the medium I wanted to help people through.

Last year I left my job in clinical research and never submitted my application for graduate schools. I was in that odd transitional stage after college where you’re still trying to “figure things out.” While you’ve got friends that you graduated with that are sharing their hands on doctorate trainings, and other friends in their professional corporate careers an sharing their extravagant vacations, or life milestones. I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in this society.

With a Kinesiology degree, there’s not really much you can do other than be a physical therapist or a personal trainer. Possibly a gym teacher, but even that profession is starting to die out.

So you might be wondering, “what are you doing now and how are you helping people?”

Well, at the same time I was about to submit my applications for graduate schools, my brother Anh-Tuan quit his job to start his company AT Home Buyers. All starting in a small town in Wisconsin called Racine.

When my brother told me about starting this business he shared with me a few podcasts and I listened to them and heard how their are a small group of home owners that are in difficult financial situations due to various life events, such as a disabling work injury, health complications, medical bills, and the worst being a loss of a family member.

These people had gone to health care professionals to seek the help they needed with their physiology, but are now needing help with their finances because of this unexpected life event. Many of these homeowners feel trapped because they know they can relieve their financial stress if they sell their houses, but listing your house with a realtor costs money first. On top of that, realtors need to get their commission as well. In order to get the most for their house homeowners need to make repairs, updates, cleanings, and be prepared for months of showings and bank loan approvals. This is all time these homeowners don’t have.

We realized we could offer to purchase their house from them as-is and there would be no agent commissions because the sale would be off market and sold directly to us. This would allow them to sell their house in less than 30 days so they could move on to the next chapter in their lives sooner.

Since we’ve started this business in September, we’ve been able to help a few homeowners by either buying their house, and in some cases taking over their mortgage payments. The relief on these people are so visible, they have instant physical changes. You can see so much relief in their eyes, and I am extremely grateful we can provide help to these people that have been through so much.

Today in our business, I mostly do digital marketing and interacting with residents over social media. Although I’m not using my degree, I don’t feel like I’ve wasted my time. I learned so much about patient care while pursuing a career in health care that it has transitioned into caring for others in a different type of difficult situation. My degree has also given me the confidence in my ability to learn and educate myself in whatever field or industry I set out to learn. Never would I have dreamed I would be an investor and marketer. But here I am, and I can say that I am adjusting well.

I’ve met many professionals who are not utilizing their degrees as intended. Your degree does not define you and it shouldn’t limit you to what you can do. I’m 29 and I’ve seen many friends graduate and enter a career only to leave it a few years later and do something different. Find out what YOU want. What you truly want, and then you can decide what career meets your values and what doesn’t.

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