August 25, 2011 by Kristen
As of this past May, I am the skeptical owner of a piece of paper that cost me my life savings. (Who am I kidding, I did not have enough money saved to cover college. Apologies for my student loans, Dave Ramsey.) There are moments when I think about the value of that degree tucked away in my armoire (yes, my fancy degree didn’t just get shoved into a drawer with my old cheerleading trophies, it was placed in a fancy armoire. And no, my English degree did not help me spell that word correctly the first time). I look at my life, and think: What did I get from college anyways?
In the first of a two-part blog installment (wow, I almost feel like a legit blogger saying stuff like that), I will address the ways I feel college failed in its promise to produce a better me, more equipped for the “real world”—
- Having a college degree does not change the fact that I will break into a cold sweat when my GPS tells me that I am approaching a roundabout and I should just “continue through” it. WHAT. Which way? When do I yield? Roads are meant to run in straight lines! To all of you who are knights of the roundabouts, I apologize. This was never addressed in driver’s ed. My college degree has done nothing to lessen this anxiety. I morph into a 15 year old girl when I approach a roundabout.
- I use the tip calculator on my phone. I aced Calculus in high school and there’s a shiny 4.0 on my college transcript in math. But I am about to get real with you all…sometimes I count on my fingers. Thank you, college degree. I’m no better off than when I was in kindergarten.
- This could be important to some, but it’s only third on my list apparently—my English degree allows me to work the exact same job I did before college. For the same wage. Oh wait, I’m “overqualified” and can’t be considered for that position any longer. Shoot. I’m now pursuing another piece of paper in the form of a Master’s degree. I hope the calligraphy is nicer on this one…
- Upon receiving my degree, I did not transform into an esteemed scholar or some sort of savant, as expected. I’m still me. (Maybe I jinxed it by doing a celey fist-pump on stage when they handed me the diploma? Whoops.) Where’s my refined taste in cinematography? I still watch Degrassi. (My defense: I’m just trying to stay well-versed in the challenges plaguing Canadian teens. I’m doing this to be relevant to my future students. Hopefully American teens have the same problems as Canadians, eh? ) Maybe if I add some imported cheese and a glass of red wine, I might feel a little more cultured when I turn on Teen Nick.
- I was driving to the gym this afternoon jamming to some Daddy Yankee and it dawned on me, “Hey, Spanish isn’t a foreign language to me anymore! I have demonstrated a proficiency in Espanol as per my ridiculous English degree requirements!” (Go figure on that one. I needed to learn another language in order to get an English degree.) I tried to piece together the few words I could actually understand—Someone’s “mami” is going to someone’s “casa?” Fail. But it’s Daddy Yankee, so I probably got the gist, right?
- My skills in B.S.ing remain largely un-transferrable to the real world. Exploiting the Freudian-man-crush sensibilities of most college professors may have earned me an A on a paper, but I’m yet to see how that skill can apply practically.
I used my honors cords to choke myself in pictures on graduation day. So at least those were useful. To my dismay, my college degree often seems to be just a piece of paper. However, so is money. And the Declaration of Independence.
Didn’t expect me to get all deep, did you? College taught me that.
In the next post I’ll address how valuable college as an experience was to me. Excuse me, I need to go watch Animal House to prepare.
What has made you utter the words, “College Fail”? What didn’t you need your college degree to do?