College Grads: How Has Obtaining Your Degree(s) Impacted Your Life?
An old friend of mine recently posed the question online recently and it got me thinking.
As a first-generation student of color who came up with a low SES, I have experienced an undeniable shift financially that has confirmed for me that all the long days, and late nights, all the times I had to say no to things, shift priorities, and even ignore the folks who may have told me I was wasting my time, was worth it.
That’s a hierarchy of needs piece where I cannot deny the fact that some of the things I used to be very concerned about are not issues for me at this particular time in life.
Obtaining my education has exposed me to opportunities that helped me to better understand and articulate myself about systems like white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and other systems that so deeply contributed to the social problems I experienced growing up, and that continue to persist. It gave me language to name those systems in ways that I was not able to previously, although I already had experiences navigating them prior to attending school.
It’s enabled me to channel my rage…the constant state of rage James Baldwin described that accompanies being a relatively conscious negro in this country in ways that prevent me from being completely consumed by it, and has helped me to be in positions to help others channel theirs.
The experiences I had on my journey to obtaining higher education also aided in my developing a desire to identify ways I am actively or passively complicit in the oppression of others so that I can work to change my own incomplete, incorrect, and harmful thought processes, in order to prevent actions of the same kind.
If I hadn’t gone to school, I would not have met many of the people, or had many of the experiences that contributed to the reasons why I write, and work.
There are certainly other things I could share, but I’d like to hear from others.
Acknowledging that there may be similarities and differences among us, if you graduated from college or obtained some other form of continuing education, how have those experiences, and the end result impacted your life?
From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones, MSW, LLMSW