Must i be able to read and write in mandarin as well?

I’ve learn how to speak mandarin from my chinese friends back in high school.Most people are amazed that i can speak mandarin even since i am white and they would tell me how this is going to help me in the future.The thing is,i can’t read or write the characters(i only know about 50+).Is this a big disadvantage?Im in college now so i don’t have much free time plus i plan to study spanish after college.Whats your opinion?

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