Get a PhD in common sense!

By Younas Chaudhary

We are living in times when the value of a college degree is debatable. Overall enrollment at two and four-year colleges and universities is dropping, says a recently released report from the National Student Clearinghouse. Its research found that full-time enrollment in both public and private institutions was down 3.8% between spring 2021 and spring 2022.

Younas Chaudhary

On the flip side, enrollment is surging in construction, mechanical technology and agriculture. Student enrollment at two-year institutions in construction trades programs is up 19.3%, mechanic and repair technologies has seen an increase of 11.5% and in agriculture-related studies, enrollment is up 47.8%.

This clearly shows that learning a trade well and applying it with common sense is a good idea.

I am a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks. I had zero book or practical knowledge when I ventured into the oil and gas business in Kansas. Spending countless hours learning my trade with the landman, the geologist, the engineer, and the oilfield pumpers, I learned the business purely through hard work, tinkering, bouts of failure, observation, patience, consistency, humility, and a lot of common sense. My degree in economics and what I learned in college was totally irrelevant!

A degree is valuable when you compete for good jobs in certain doctoral and other specialized professions but not everyone needs a degree. If you have a good idea, the mentality to take risks, good common sense, and belief in your gut feelings, I feel you can make it in life quite well.

According to the Burning Glass Institute, colleges and universities often fail to align their programs with labor market demand. This leads to disappointing outcomes for graduates and poor returns on education.

Eventually, these poor returns get transferred to companies that hire people looking at their education from fancy graduate schools while discounting those without a degree but have experience and mastery over a particular trade.

Have you ever visited a medical doctor to check first which university that doctor attended? If you have good common sense, you will check and verify that doctor’s years of experience, reviews, and mastery over a particular medical specialty, instead of the doctor’s place of education.

Today, students have multiple options to learn new trades in a matter of weeks and job-oriented courses are being offered by Google, Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn and other online platforms.

So, before you invest time and money in an expensive degree and borrow money on a student loan, use common sense and ask:

  1. What is the purpose- end goal?
  2. Am I passionate about a degree?
  3. Will it take me where I want to go?
  4. Is it worth investing time and money in a higher education degree?
  5. What value can I get?
  6. How fast can I pay my debt off?

In today’s online market, almost everybody around us proclaims themselves to be either a coach or an advisor (advanced degree in common sense). They have better prospects, large followers and are making more money, versus folks with academic degrees. Let common sense prevail before you invest money in a higher degree education. Stay Blessed!


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.

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