I had to create a sock puppet specifically to ask this question.
I was raised poor. I learned a skill and had the confidence and ambition to market myself. I was a salaried employee for a fortune 500 company at 19 due to being able to sell myself, and now enjoy a standard of living and life far beyond what I ever imagined. I'm now 29 years old. I own 3 homes in 3 different states. I am a technical architect for a fortune 500 company and make mid six figures. My 401k has over half a million dollars in it.
I've had three long-term-isn 3-4 year relationships in my adult life, and in all three of them in addition to every single professional relationship I have, I've had to lie about the fact that I'm a second-year senior who barely even graduated because having a college degree was one of the most important things to some of these people - so important that I learned very swiftly in my early 20's that nobody would take me seriously unless they thought I was formally educated.
Give me some honesty here. What's a guy supposed to do? The girl I'm currently seeing is the only one I've even been partially honest with, and all I did was say that I attended college and dropped out, and even that has had tangible and lasting repercussions on the relationship, since her family essentially blanket judged me before meeting me based on that fact alone, among other various small social nuance.
Sometimes it causes me to want to tear out my hair in frustration. I currently employ four PHD's and various master-level professionals on a side project-turned-business, and the personality of 90+% of them would suggest, based on anecdotal evidence, that they would lose respect for me if they asked me about my education and I told them the truth (thankfully, none of them have ever asked. It's never been a point of contention).
I'm trying to ask this question without it coming off like I'm whining about some first world problem, but I've seriously lived my entire adult life having to deal with this education stigma while constantly being surrounded by men and women with bullshit degrees doing something completely different for a living.
Is there a way out of this catch 22? Because I'd appreciate it.