FoxWithWings wrote:This. This I agree with wholesale. My grandfather, who did not earn even his High School degree, was a genius. This man could build a porch within a day, work all day with no lunch and little breaks. He was a master with his hands, a true artisan.
In my mother's work, I see her other nurses putting acronym after acronym following their names. MSN, BSN, yada yada yada. It annoys me to no end. My mother does it because she is proud of her education (I do not attempt to dissuade her off of this. It is a good thing to be proud of). But, in my view. If you must make an introduction by putting so many letters after your name, then you're doing something wrong.
SunXia wrote:I'm fine with anyone getting a degree if they want to work for one, I don't think anyone knows what will happen to them so they have a right to do with their lives as they see fit and shouldn't be held back by class barriers or because their parents can't fit the bill.
I have a degree, I consider myself an intelligent person and everywhere I go people refer to my intelligence as one of my main qualities. Do I have the job I always wanted? No. Do I regret doing my degree? Never in a million years do I regret an opportunity to expand my level of education and to see what it takes to get to that higher level...
I work a minimum wage job, doesn't bother me, I know many people with my condition that don't work and I know I make man people happy everyday. Would I change that fact that I have a degree? Hell no, I worked for that and I am entitled to it just like anyone. And on that basis I wouldn't want to stop anyone from doing what they want to, nobody knows what the future holds and I'm not in favor of preventing someone from trying to follow their dreams because someone else wants to follow their dreams too and just because they held their nerves better on one day their dream should come first.
FoxWithWings wrote:SunXia, you have every right in the world to be proud and celebrate your degree. Because disregarding everything I said before, while the acronyms may be useless, the education they (hopefully) came with is most certainly not. And education is almost never easy. Classes are not easy, the papers you must write for them are not easy, the studying and stressing is not easy.
If I came off as dismissive of other's education, including yours, then I apologize, this was not my intent. And extending off of what you said. You are very correct. Regardless of whether you have that degree or not, your reputation precedes you. People don't say "There goes SunXia, she has so-and-so degrees". They say "There goes SunXia, she's wicked smart."
My main point is, degrees don't really determine anything. Yes, they are an accomplishment, certainly, and something to be proud of. But they don't determine whether someone is good at something or not.
Okay, since it seems to have been my comment that touched this whole exchange off, I think maybe I should clarify.
There's an expectation in the US - and it looks like in the UK, too - that in order to 'make it' in life, in order to 'be somebody', you have to have credentials, a baccalaureate being essentially the cultural signifier of the baseline for being 'not a loser'. At the same time, the economy is such that having that baccalaureate is no guarantee
of economic success, or even any kind of stable work. That might have been true at one point, but 2007 changed a lot of things.
Speaking as a guy with a master's degree who somehow (mostly, if I'm being honest, by sheer luck and the incredible kindness of my relatives) came up on the other side without any debts, the whole meritocratic myth that is present in some corners of our education system and culture is total bunk. I'm (gradually) coming to hate it with a passion. I'm not being ungrateful here - I understand that my parents and my grandparents and the schools I applied to all believed sincerely and wholeheartedly in the meritocratic myth, and I value the work they did and the help they gave me even if I don't buy into their reasoning. As an AmeriCorps volunteer in the state school system, I also helped a lot of poor, underserved, first-generation youth apply for college and financial aid. I don't regret that one bit.
But a lot of my peers, a lot of kids, they didn't get all the chances I got
, and I'm mostly outraged on their behalf
. That includes all the youngsters who will be dismissed as 'losers' because they didn't get into uni, all the brilliant kids who went into a lower-tier uni because they couldn't afford anything else, all the kids who lucked out and did
get into their dream institution but will have problems paying for it, that will haunt them for decades after they get their degree. And it's all based on this myth that their parents' generation bought into (however sincerely), that their degree will pay for itself, and - to be blunt - it's not doing so.
flipping burgers for eight hours a day, six days a week, to pay off the interest on their student loans. If they're lucky. There's nothing wrong or shameful about that, of course, but career advancement opportunities have been very thin on the ground these past eight years, generally speaking.
More broadly, though, culturally speaking, FoxWithWings
: it's completely understandable to want to put the letters after your name. I agree with you that it shouldn't be necessary. But we live in a society which devalues people and makes them to feel worthless if they aren't at a certain rung of the socio-economic ladder. And not just nurses, but all people in the 'economy of care' - they're doing God's work. They should never
be made to feel useless, even if they don't make a lot of money or carry a lot of prestige. They're necessary, and if they do their jobs well, we should pay honour to them.
Side note: a friend of mine from Russia once said that even if the Soviet system had a lot of abuses, he respected the honours for exemplary proletarians. If all they did was sweep streets or clean privies, the society would still give them a medal if they did it well. And he hated
('despised', was the word he used) the fact that Yeltsin and the capitalist 'reformers' got rid of those honours.
- I guess what I was trying to say before was this:
- Education is a good thing in itself. Exposure to knowledge, ideas, history and science is important, in itself. But it shouldn't have to be modelled linearly on the idea that a BA or a BS is the meal ticket to a dignified life.
- It's possible to be loved, to be useful and to be respectable, without having a BA or a BS.
- The amount of debt we got driven into in the pursuit of the meal ticket is obscene.
- We need a way of telling people who are entering the workforce that doing jobs that don't require a BA or a BS is not something shameful, but rather honourable.
, I'm incredibly sorry to hear about your medical condition! But, I'm glad to hear that - as it sounds from your post - you're making the most of it and refusing to let it get in the way of your life.