A couple of weeks ago, a family friend asked me how my schooling was going. When I responded with a big smile and enthusiastic “Great!” he asked, “What’s your major again?”

After reminding him that I am a graphic design major, he asked if I was planning to work toward my master’s degree, since that’s becoming so important for getting a job these days. When I said “No, probably not, because I don’t think a master’s degree is really needed for a job in graphic design,” he smirked a little and said “Probably don’t need a degree at all in your field, huh?”

Taken aback, my instinctively polite response was, “I guess not.”

While I know he didn’t mean it this way, I took some offense to the comment. Was he implying that I am wasting time and money on an expensive Christian education that is only a luxury?

For the next few days, I mulled this brief conversation over in my head, again and again, trying to ignore the tiny voice that kept nagging in my ear, “he could be right.”

Even before this conversation, because a private education is very expensive and a huge time commitment, I’ve been working this semester on a 3 ½ year plan, so that I can wrap up my degree a semester early. It won’t be hard to do, given that I’m a single major with plenty of extra units under my belt from high school.

But this last week, as I was glancing over my plans, I realized something important: CBU requires that every undergraduate student have 124 units completed by the time of graduation, and only 48 of those units have anything to do with my graphic design major. That means more than half of my college education will be consumed by general education requirements, such as science, math, Christian studies, English, history, communications, et cetera… as well as a social work certificate that I’m working toward to earn more credibility for the Rose Again Foundation.

In discovering this, I decided that he was right: to get a job as a graphic designer, I probably don’t need a degree of any kind. I could easily hop online, pay a few expensive fees for Adobe products and tutorials and maybe attend a seminar or two… but in the end, I wouldn’t be a well rounded, educated young woman. I would never have learned how to give a proper tribute speech, or how to use APA formatting (in case I ever need to know that, for some bizarre reason). I seriously doubt that I’d ever take the time to learn the details regarding the writings of each New Testament book, which in truth is fascinating; and, given how much I paid attention to history in high school, I would probably still think that Pocahontas fell in love with John Smith.

Not to mention, I would never have met all of my fantastic professors, some of whom now act as mentors, guiding me through my design education with the understanding that any discipline, including graphic design, can be used for God’s glory… and not only that, but encouraging me, every day, that designers can change the face of this world, for good.

With all that to say, I know I’m not wasting my time here. When I leave CBU, I will be handed a piece of paper that declares my degree in graphic design. Chances are, no client will ever ask to see it. What they’ll be interested in are my portfolio that shows various skills, my passion, and probably my reliable character – all aspects of my abilities that would be seriously underdeveloped were it not for my time spent here, filling the glass of my education to the very brim.

So at the end of it all, I’ve decided he’s right, but I’m certain I wouldn’t rather have it any other way!