Friday, April 19, 2013

Degree or Not Degree

Okay so this morning (or rather, Wednesday morning) I was talking with a co-worker about college and students and work ethics- we're college librarians so these conversations are commonplace. Our chat shifted gears and traveled around to the concept of degrees.
     Just how necessary are they?
     My coworker had an interesting take on the degree debate. She spoke about her brother and how successful he is although he never attended college. According to her, her brother was about as far from college material as a person could get. She believes; and said he would still agree, that were he to have attended college he would have probably failed his first year.
     I pretty much agree that college is not for everyone. I saw a lot of kids wasting their folk’s money when I was an undergrad. I see even more of it now as a college librarian where I actually teach classes and work the front desk and witness the laziness and disinterest first hand. This attitude is not indicative of all students, but of enough of them to warrant concern.
     In spite of this however, I also hold to the belief that a college degree is important for a kid to have-a black kid especially. A college degree today is what a high school diploma was when my parents were students. Most employers won't even view an application if a degree isn't listed among an applicant’s level of education.
     Do I believe that a college degree makes one person better than another? NO! Some of the most intuitive dedicated and hardworking employees never saw the inside of a college classroom. There are even those who never completed elementary school who are among the most respected employees. 
     Things are so much different today than they were when my parents or even when I was a traditional student. With that in mind, a degree is definitely a tool I want to see my child equipped with. Not only to say that he has it; college teaches us many life lessons that have nothing to do with deciding on a major and meetings with professors. As it relates to my son, I hope college will provide him with that time away from the security of mom and dad, time away from the familiarity and comfort of home, time to build his- now almost nonexistent- level of responsibility. Time to understand that there is much more to college than class and papers just as there is much more to a member of society than the degree he holds...or does not.


  1. Sometimes the indifferent and lazy school attitude changes to determined, focused scholar once a kid has been out working in the real world for a little while. :-)

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  3. I agree with you AlTonya; especially about a college degree being a tool AND teaching a person more than a discipline or area of study. This is a topic of discussion that many people are having. I was telling a friend that a college degree today is like having a GED (not even a high school diploma). Some job requirements are even listing Masters degrees for many positions. I personally think it is a way to weed out candidates that could possibly be an asset.

    I also know many people that are successful without a degree, or even a high school diploma. Then there are those that I know who attended a trade school or vocational program and have a certification/license. Some are doing very well and some have had to go to college in order to keep their job, or to be considered for a promotion. Times have changed and are still changing.