Should I Have Gone To Harvard, Caveat Emptor, Or Both?
One of the headlines of Yahoo News, you know that feed that runs along the page you click on ‘mail’ that takes you to your email login, yeah, right there, is going on yet again about useless degrees and wouldn’t you know mine are on the top of the list. I can’t tell you how tired I am hearing about how useless my degrees are – yes, that’s right, this isn’t the first time. What’s happening here? Are we now being directed to high paying fields, those precious few in demand, for the purpose of flooding them and then what? Is it a cheap-shot marketing stunt? Have the terrorists been at it all this time? They are such a nuisance; I’m so tired of them. Be that as it may or may not, this is how my education happened; you tell me if you think at any given moment in time I was doing something useless.
Once upon a time I thought I might go to college – someday. Now these were the times it was cool to drop out to prove your point concerning the ‘establishment’, but I’ve always liked school and thought I might go anyway possibly to become a teacher having been inspired by my 9th grade English instructor; I didn’t really know concretely just yet. The day finally came, later than I expected but still, that I was finally going to go back to school only now enough years had gone by that dropping out was a no and had become trendy bordering on in-demand to get a college education. I was in the medical profession by then and had taken my position as a nurse technician / med tech (CMT) as far as it could through certification. If I wanted to do anything else in my field I’d have to get licensure through education anyway, after all, no one gets promoted to doctor. I began my at-least-ten-year academic career majoring in Nursing figuring at the completion of a BSN continue graduate studies to become a Human Resources Administrator. Before my first semester was done I knew I didn’t have to have a degree in nursing to be in Human Resources, didn’t really want one anyway, in order to ‘pay-it-forward’ as the saying goes and take care of colleagues. After 10 years in the field I knew how to change the system, what needed improving, how to staff so medical professionals weren’t overworked beyond exhaustion – lots of stuff. My goal was to write new policy, procedure, pay scales, shifts and benefits. I would have been good.
When I changed my major I was told the best thing for me would be Philosophy, which requires a second major and if I chose Classics, especially with an emphasis in Latin, I’d still be in touch with the medical profession as pre-med, I’d also be pre-law, and pre-business, all three of which were part of being a medical professional, pre-education, pre-most everything else. It all sounded useful in that many doors would be open to me in the professional world and as a bonus I’d loved Latin since being introduced to it in 7th grade. As the year of graduation approached my hospital was taken over by the university I was attending. I called Human Resources to discover I no longer had employment options, the position I’d had was lost, the people who knew of my endeavors weren’t there anymore and I’d have to begin at square one. Having been in the business world, knowing how it changes, preparing contingency backup in the spirit of the unforeseen, I’d taken classes outside my degree programs, some of which had to do with Education, a good thing because square one wasn’t going to pan out.
After graduation I bounced around a year with hit-and-miss jobs, then decided to take my education the next step and study for a Masters. Online learning was coming into being, I saw value with being able to work and study so I spoke with an academic advisor about what I’d been doing, what I’d been studying, what I wanted to achieve, what my ultimate goal was and was told getting a Masters in Organizational Management, what I called business psychology, would tie in all that I’d done academically and in business and be useful for Human Resource Management opening doors to me for an array of employment possibilities. After 3 years I had an MAOM but Human Resource jobs weren’t as interested in me as I’d hoped. There were other requirements such as specific certifications in order to be employed that required additional education not included with what I’d done. Why wasn’t I told this from the beginning? These programs were available, in fact I found them at the university’s site after being refused employment because of my lack of certification and was dumbfounded at the specificity of how there were at least three options I could have taken and been certified employable. I felt duped on this one but the degree did tie in with what I had been studying and work experiences I’d had to a point but I was now left in a position accumulating jobs, one of which was teaching, was necessary in order to make an acceptable income. During this time I discovered those with business degrees were welcomed to teach especially abroad, so I took a break from studies, took a course in Rome to be certified to teach English all over Europe, Asia, et al which in the long run added to my education would make me highly marketable. Looks like I’m going to become a teacher after all and what I’d accomplished so far was right on, you know, useful.
Things were going fine in Europe. I wound up settling in Istanbul, the general plan for my life’s direction was unfolding nicely but I was detoured back to the states to be a grandma. When I got back the economic crisis was in play making the MBA all the rage for job opportunities and practically it did tie in with my education, past jobs, life experience and teaching. Before I’d left for Europe I’d begun an MBA to balance out the MAOM then decided to wait until the MAOM was done. It was to my benefit to have an MBA class under my belt plus a professional degree. Classes were applied to my degree program, required credit hours were adjusted thanks to been there – done that, and in a couple of years I had the MBA. I breathed potential of being involved with a new profession; I knew change for the good was in the air. I had confidence businesses would want me but that’s not how it panned out.
Philosophy / Classics, Latin notwithstanding but sadly included in Arts and Science, according to Business Insider are useless degrees, Human Resources and Personnel Development (there goes my MAOM – no one cares I wanted to run a hospital) is a useless profession, and last but not least the kicker: an MBA is invaluable for the business edge DEPENDING on what college you attended. Harvard being the Holy Grail ivy notwithstanding, the private college I attended isn’t even a typo on the list. Let’s see, 4 years undergraduate study double major giving me 2 BAs, 3 years first Masters, 2 years second Masters equals 9 years of useless study and 4 useless degrees that can’t even be applied toward a useless profession.
Believe it or not, and I know Ripley’s wouldn’t be interested, I’d begun a Ph.D. program recently I was thoroughly enjoying, felt I should drop the class until the finance department got its act together and my student aid straightened out during which time I discovered several distasteful things about the university, decided not to continue with them – imagine blowing smoke about how much aid they were going to pay that didn’t jive with notifications of what I would receive – and to date haven’t found a place worth its salt in education. Have I learned something or have I just grown too old to have patience for inexperienced instructors, apathetic tenures, students without a clue I could train working in university offices who want to have a pissing contest with me over who’s the smartest, universities trying to sell me a useless degree, or all of the above?
Coming to you live from limbo? Nah, I’m standing securely in mid-air waiting for the next trapeze to swing in my direction.