Monday, June 17, 2019

College Degree Means Nothing To Me...

I didn't go to college. I know, let the "boos" commence. But unlike some people's perceptive reasoning as to why kids don't go to college, that was not mine. So, here's some of my bitching in true Bitchfest fashion. 

I did very well in school. In elementary and middle school, I was on the Honor Roll a lot. A/B average, and not because I studied extra hard or my parents expected it of me, but because I genuinely liked school and liked to learn.

Fast forward to high school, I was still smart...but did I always apply myself to my fullest potential? No. Sometimes I was a little too worried about boys or friends or life that I didn't put forth the effort I maybe should have to get things like, you know, scholarships for college. 

Graduation comes...I think, "I want to go to HACC for nursing" ( PS. SO glad I didn't! ) and eventually transfer out. I even enrolled and went to open house. But I have a single dad who paid child support for my half sister, and only got back half of that for Carol and I combined from our mother. Yet, somehow, because every government grant is based off gross pay and not net, my dad made too much money when filing FAFSA to get me any kind of grants for school. So all monies for me to go to college would have had to been student loans.

Now, this was about the time when going to college didn't automatically mean you were guaranteed to find a job once out. The economy wasn't so great and a lot of kids were coming out with Bachelors or Masters and not being able to find work. This scared me. I grew up with no money and, for about half my life, in a single parent household. I didn't want to start my adult life in tens-of-thousands of dollars in debt, working a minimum wage job trying to pay the loans back plus my monthly bills. 

So...I didn't go to college. 

Instead, I started trying to find the highest paying jobs I could right out of high school. I worked as a CNA for over a year and then progressed to a job for Roadway Trucking Company that, unfortunately, outsourced the entire department to India about 3 years later. That job started me at $11/hr but at my highest there, I made $18.22/hr. I was 21 years old. 

After that job was nixed, I was able to go back to school for further training for a new career FOR FREE ( thanks to the Trade Readjustment Act )...so I picked dental assisting. It was a diploma program, not an Associates Degree, so I still do not have a "college degree". Yet, I work a full time job in which I bust my ass for, in a necessary field with lots of work, pays decent money for someone "who didn't go to college"...and I'm still looked down upon.

I dated a guy who pretty much made it seem like I was not in his league because I didn't have a fancy college degree. Maybe it was other things too, but that seemed like the major one. In a year and a half I never once met any of his family or actual friends ( just acquaintances ) It made me feel poorly about myself for a minute, like I'm not enough because I don't have a big important career to show off and I was still probably considered 'lower-middle class'. My work ethic and my love for my ( actual ) job meant nothing. I was an embarrassment to him...because society makes you feel that it's okay to not have a college education if you are beautiful, because you can marry up and be taken care of. But when you're average, you'd better have something better to bring to the table. 

I now make about $6 more an hour than I did then, but it's still nothing compared to what he probably was making...

But I feel like we are forced to date "within our education limits"...because, if you're not gorgeous, or an exceptional wife/caretaker/housekeeper, you're pretty much gonna date/marry within your economic status. Or hey, maybe I'm just a shitty girlfriend and that's why college educated persons were never interested in me...*shrugs*

It just makes me wonder what determines that. Is the person looking down on someone because of their education level simply an asshole? Is it fear? Are they afraid of being used for financial stability only? I want to understand why people have this complex, and how some don't even bother to get to know the person simply because of their educational background. Education does NOT equal work ethic, and I know that well. Just because you have a fancy plaque on the wall doesn't mean you aren't lazy. Book smart and street smart are two very different things, and I have realized that the smartest people I know have been the ones with the least common sense. So who are they to look down upon someone who...may work in a warehouse, but works VERY hard and is working their way up the ladder? Or someone who takes a pay cut to change career fields and gain the ability to grow within the company?

It's hard these days...very few people can live off of a single income. A lot of households have two working parents. Day care is expensive. Living in itself is expensive. You should respect anyone who goes to work everyday, college education or not, and does the best that they can do each day. Someone who busts their ass to provide for their family and tries to make their life better deserves respect. I know some people who didn't even graduate high school and have worked their way up the economic ladder because of hard work and drive. And I also know college graduates who do jack shit all day and get paid astronomical amounts of money all because of a piece of paper. 

A college degree means nothing to me if you aren't kind and compassionate, empathetic and real...