First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage. However, before that, first comes elementary school (primary school), middle school (for some of us who were educated in the US), high school (secondary school), and then college/university. I don’t remember if it was the eleventh or twelfth (final year) of school in which the guidance counselors started preparing us for college. We went to advisory meetings in which we were probed to see what our interests were, our grades were reviewed, and suggestions made on what degree track to pursue. It was a most exciting time. A rite of passage if you will. College was the big leagues. I was officially an adult, because kids didn’t go to college, unless you were super smart and skipped a bunch of grades like Tanishq Abraham. It was a bit heart wrenching also because you knew realistically you would not see most of your childhood friends again, much less stay in contact with them.
I went to a pretty decent college. Hunter College for any of my New Yorkers who may know it. I went to college determined. I knew what my career track should and would be! I love community development you see. So my obvious choice was Sociology. I dabbled for a minute or two in the consideration of studying nursing and I end up taking college level chemistry. A decision I regret to this day. As if it was not bad enough in high school, college chemistry absolutely kicked my butt and lowered my GPA. I had to fight to get it back up past 3.0. Another course that kicked my butt was French. I am not sure about other colleges, but Hunter College required you to take up to four semesters of a language (not sure about now). Instead of continuing with Spanish, a language I was pretty decent at and had taken in middle and high school, I decided that I wanted to adopt the love language of my Senegalese friend. The experience was actually traumatizing and I will not go into it here.
Anyway, so I studied Sociology: Karl Marx, Max Weber, alienation, the Industrial Revolution, and all that jazz. Yes, I was determined and thought I knew what I wanted to be but I don’t think I actually thought it through thoroughly. I remember I always wanted to start an NGO and a becoming a social worker was also of interest to me. However, I never thought about the competitive nature of my degree. Would it give me an edge? Was it multi-faceted? Would it ‘get me ahead in life’? LOL, ummm NO! From then until now, it has been a struggle securing jobs with my chosen degree track.
Sociology – the study of the development, structure, and functioning of human society; the study of social problems.
College was one of the most splendid experiences of my life. Many of my peers finished within four years and did not work while attending school. This was not my story. It took me approximately six years and yep I worked. However, I didn’t graduate with any debt, HA HA! Big shout out to my mom for assisting me in paying for college. The people I met, the mentorship from my professors, the experience of staying up late to study and the blood, sweat, and tears of meeting deadlines shaped me into a a not so bad person. And I sure learned a lot of useful information. Those experiences, however, don’t pay the bills and this brings me back to, “Why the heck did I choose to study Sociology?!” Again, I am just a person who cares about the world and the people in it. I could have still cared about the world and the people in it by choosing another course of study. Maybe, Project Management, PR and Marketing, Engineering…
These years later, I have a different way of thinking. I believe young people should think with their head and not their heart IF they are going to spend thousands of dollars on their education. Passion can be self-taught in most cases. Contrary to my thought pattern back then, I believe learning a skill is much better than gaining a degree in most cases (sorry parents, but the facts are the facts).
So here I sit, my degree displayed. May I add that I just recently, for the first time, displayed my degree. It stayed with my other important documents until now because I frequently had to make copies of it, trying to secure this job or that. It would still be with said documents if I did not decide, I earned it so I’m going to display it.
Did my degree fail me? In many ways, it did. It did not put me in demand. I have never been able to secure any paying job within a field that I can say, “Yes my degree definitely put me here.” However, it has been a fire under my butt to push me forward and make it work for me and my underlying passions. OH, and my passions have been a presence in my pre and post-Uni life. Community development is my thing, woman empowerment is my thing, writing is my thing (well it has always been a kinda thing and now it has become a thing thing).
I have had an idea looming in my head for several years now and no matter how I have tried to execute it, there has always been a blockage. Well, the season has come. I am soon to revamp this blog, make it into a woman’s empowerment magazine, and I am going to really need some contributors (so if you are interested, please hit me up @ firstname.lastname@example.org for more details, or wait till the blog in which I will outline the vision)… Also, check out my blog post When Purpose Meets Blogging |A Focus On Woman’s Empowerment in which I discuss making purpose based changes to my blog.
Will my degree work for me? Oh heck yea it will! I didn’t spend all that money for it to go to waste and not make a noticeable impact in this world. If I can’t get the job I want, I am going to hire myself. I think my above-mentioned plans, which I hope to expand into a full-fledged career (details also to follow) is more along the line of duty for a Sociology major. Don’t you?And yes, I do plan to go back to school. I finally know what would work for me. You might note that I did attempt and spend more money in grad school on two separate occasions. Again, on what I now perceive to be idealistic degree paths. This time around, I will take free courses in the field I am considering and if there is still interest I will pursue a paid degree path so in the field. I have already done my research and found a good school with a manageable tuition fee.
In conclusion, I must say, Uni is a good an appropriate path to take for many people, however, it is necessary that you have clear and sensible plan on what you expect to do with that piece of paper you are spending all that money on.