I went straight to university after school and got a degree in electrical and electronic engineering. I try to be a humble person and I often joke I've made a career out of knowing I don't know anything (and then finding out). I don't believe I do anything to put other people's backs up.
Since then I have had two jobs and the attitude in both was that I would never know as much, or do as much, or be worth as much as somebody who had worked their way up from the shop floor. I feel like this is a systematic issue in the UK as I have got this attitude from trainers and other people at offsite training courses as well. I have even mentioned this to my mother who proceeded to tell me that she was afraid it's true.
It has all came to a head recently and really started to knock my confidence. All the little comments here and there add up. Recently I had to visit our training school where I started a sentence with "Although I was a graduate-" and the head of the training school said "yeah well I did an apprenticeship and i got a degree and the company paid for it, bet you wish you did that now! ha ha ha" and pretty much the whole room was laughing at me.
I can brush off small comments here and there - I just remind myself of my achievements so far. And when I'm in a really bad mood, I remind myself of my achievements in relation to others. But the truth is I do feel very stupid. If I'm not silly because I don't know as much, I suppose I feel silly because I paid my way through a degree when I could have just found the right employer at 15.
Can I be a good engineer or am I doomed to be forever okay-at-best? What are the standard defences or pros to being a graduate?