It’s been a while since I’ve posted and there’s a few reasons and a lot of excuses. That matters not at this moment. What matters is that I speak up, from this side of 50, and state my case – all that hype you’ve heard about the importance of a university or college education, well folks (as in young folks), it is true.
I have been so lucky in that I did not need a degree to do the most rewarding “job” ever….being a full time, stay at home mom. Therefore I know that I am luckier than most in that I’ve been able to spend over 23 years doing something I love. Apparently, though, I was too successful – my children are launched so to speak and although we rely on one another, their need for my daily presence has gone.
So, in the “what next” phase, I have been working at a job that required one year at college which worked well alongside that rewarding “mom” career. For ten years, that job has been working for me while I have worked at it. This year, though, considerable disillusionment has made me rethink the possibility of staying at this for another 10 or 15 years until I no longer want or need to work (read: when my retirements savings, which were somewhat neglected in my no income stage, catch up).
Hence the stark reality, or more aptly put, the slap in the face when I realize that, although I have raised two bright, capable young people whose contributions to the world are limitless, I’m not qualified for positions that would allow me to do the same outside of my present field.
The value of a degree and its relevance to what you end up doing in life may be questionable to many, but the fact remains that most jobs want an undergrad degree as a minimum and perhaps that is simply to allow into the pool of candidates those who have the proven (on paper) the ability to learn within a certain set of parameters and exclude all others.
A woman I know recently said that she is pushing to get people to look at a degree as a requirement to be a contributing adult. Something similar my daughter said about her pursuit of an anthropology degree: it’s the degree which teaches you to be a better person. To see the world from a perspective that differs from the world you grew up in.
Sadly, the world of academia is filled with many people who see the world from the perspective of a white, affluent, heterosexual male but that is something broader affecting many institutions. That is the type of inequity I want to fight against. But, without the piece of paper that states I have that knowledge, my hands are tied.
I do not expect that my life experience should outweigh a university experience; rather I encourage people to achieve that milestone so that at a later date you are not barred from doing whatever makes you happy. Because the biggest lesson I learned from parenting – and life – is that you have to do more of what makes you happy.