I have formed a strong identity around my failures in school. How I can break this cycle?

Bluntly put, I failed to get the college degree I wanted.

30 Y/O.I spent a long time in college, failing to get the degree I wanted because I did not have the right support and the right study habits I needed to do well in school. I ended up switching majors and graduating with decent grades (surprising because I’ve always done poorly in school) but I still pretty ashamed.

My current situation is that I happen to work in the field I’m interested in, even though I’m not really that qualified to work here. In my job and industry, theres a huge bias for the particular degree that I failed to obtain. Many of my co-workers have that degree. Most companies prefer to hire people with that degree. I’ve also been treated poorly at my workplace (and in the community) and had my opportunities limited because I don’t have that degree. So, you could say that my job is a constant reminder of my failures in school.

My family and friends have never supported my path. They keep pushing me to go to grad school. I can’t even be myself and be honest about my goals around them so again, its like another reminder of my failures in school.

But you know what’s the most damning problem? Most graduate schools do NOT support the idea of accepting students who want to study a different field from their bachelor’s degree. So, this is also probably the most painful reminder of my failures. That “sorry, you fucked up big time in school. Even though you did not have the right situation to do your best, we don’t care. No second chances.”

As a final comment, even if I were to be accepted by a program, I don’t feel ready to go back to school. I have not figured out the optimal study habits for myself. I’m still very scared that I will fail again. The only real personal reason to go back would be to satisfy my ego that I can indeed pass the program.

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