5 Ways A College Degree is “Healthy” for Your Career

When touting the advantages of a college degree everyone always talks about high earning potential, better benefits, and how you’re more recession-proof if you have a degree. But if you’ve just graduated, and you still haven’t found a job, those “economic” benefits you’ve been hearing about for years are probably starting to sound a little bit like lies right about now.

However, there are several other benefits of getting a college degree that no one ever seems to talk about. And those benefits ARE recession-proof because they contribute positively to your mental, emotional, and physical health. That’s not to say a college degree is the “magic bullet” that guarantees you lifelong happiness. Although, it’s a proven fact that college graduates are happier in the long run than those who never complete a degree, no one is exactly sure why that is. I suspect it’s because college grads usually have careers that allow them to do what they want, instead of what they have to do, in order to make a living. But then again, it could also have something to do with these five college degree benefits that contribute to both your career AND your well-being.

  1. College Grads Are More Fit
  2. The cliché of the workaholic, over-achiever who graduates top of his college class, eats poorly, never exercises, and thus works himself into an early grave is actually not true. A study done by BioMed Central Public Health reveals that as a demographic college graduates have healthier diets, exercise more, have less risk of heart disease, and are generally more fit than those who never got a degree. The thinking here being that college educated people endure less stress (probably because they have more control over their careers) and thus are less likely to turn to long-term destructive lifestyles (such as overeating and substance abuse).

  3. College Grads = Less Cancer
  4. Along with healthier lifestyles, college grads are less likely to smoke, more likely to live in healthier environments (free of pollutants), and tend to go to the doctor more. As a result, this group doesn’t suffer from cancers as much as their non-degreed counterparts. According to Elizabeth Ward, head of research at the American Cancer Society, people are seeing a significant drop in cancer rates (2.5 times less in men alone) IF they are college educated. However, “Just because we’re measuring education doesn’t mean we think education is the direct reason” that the college-educated group fairs better health-wise, warns Ward. Regardless, the data is so conclusive that the connection is hard to ignore.

  5. Your Kids Do Better in School
  6. It’s a proven fact that when you read to your kids early on, they adopt an affinity for reading themselves and thus ultimately do better in school. College-educated people are three times as likely to read to their kids everyday (usually at bedtime) and twice as likely to participate directly in their children’s educations by chaperoning field trips, being room parents, and organizing family outings to museums, zoos, and other educational venues. Also, children of college-educated people tend to start school knowing the alphabet, how to count to at least 20, and how to read the top 10 sight words (like “it”, “the”, “me”, etc.). This gives these kids a definite long-term educational advantage.

  7. You’ll Volunteer More
  8. College graduates are more socially involved in community projects and issues than those without degrees. This means they’re more likely to volunteer for philanthropic causes. On the outset this doesn’t directly put money in your pocket, however, it does indirectly increase your visibility in your community, which increases your network when it comes time to look for a job. Besides, psychologists have proven that volunteering reduces stress (probably because you feel good about what you’re doing) and sets a great example for your kids (which ultimately makes them better people, too).

  9. You’ll Vote in Elections More Often
  10. No question, people who’ve been to college are more politically active than those who’ve never stepped into the hallowed halls of higher education. College is a breeding ground for student debates, participating in social issues, learning about government, and politics in general. Regardless of what you major in, it’s hard to escape four years of college without at least one good argument on ethics (of any kind). Therefore, college grads are more likely to vote in both local and national elections, and therefore have more influence on laws and the direction of our country. They’re also more likely to run for public office—and win.

So if you’ve just graduated and you’re frustrated because you haven’t found a job yet, or you you’re nearing the end of college and feel so burned that you’re wondering, “Was it worth all that time and expense to go to college in the first place?” The answer is yes, it was (and still is, if you haven’t graduated yet). Unfortunately your “turn” came up during a sluggish economy, but eventually things will get better, and when they do you’ll be in a great position to get a jumpstart on a satisfying career that you can feel good about, because you know you’ve genuinely earned it.

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