I'm not ashamed to say. . .

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

. . . that I don’t have a college degree.

I took college classes for two years, then life caught up with me and changed my direction, as it tends to do to all of us, and here I am, degree-less.
Growing up, I always dreamt of my future career. I went through phases of wanting to be everything from an Obstetrician, Pediatric Nurse, or Helicopter Pilot to a Fashion Designer, Home Ec. Teacher, or Journalist. 
I wanted to be everything. I wanted to experience everything. I wanted to see everything.

'I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want.
I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades,
tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in life. And I am horribly limited.'
- Sylvia Plath

Even to this day, a part of me still wants to be all of these things and more. Added to that list is a Midwife, Doula, Lactation Consultant, Childbirth Instructor, Artist, Photographer, Wedding Planner, Cake Decorator, Farmer, New Yorker, Librarian, and many more, but most of all, a mother.
So many people have opinions about going to college, and the general consensus is that education is invaluable, which I agree with, but what most people fail to see is that education is only invaluable to some. College is beginning to seem like just another social expectation. Society expects women to wear makeup, society expects you to get married and have children, and society now also expects you to go to college even if you don’t have the slightest insight into the career path you desire or the funds to do so.
For quite some time I’ve had this void growing inside of me that I wasn’t able to figure out until now. When I was little I always thought I would be famous. I know that plenty of little girls say the same thing, along with they’ll be a princess and own a pony one day, but this thought stuck with me. I never knew how or why, but I knew somehow, someday, I would be a household name. I know that was an incredibly arrogant way to think and that I was just young, but it’s weird to think that I may live and die and never really do anything. I equated fame with importance, quite like society today equates college with success. I want to be a wife and a mother, of course. I want to be an absolutely astonishing wife and mother, but I also want to be more. I want to be more than part of a unit. I want to matter on my own. I want to impact the world. I want to achieve the goals that I set for myself. I don’t even know what these goals would be, and that’s what’s been bothering me, what’s been eating me up inside. I don’t want to leave this world without doing something for it, for humanity first. I’m still trying to get over the fact that maybe I’m just not that important.
Add to that the constant questioning from family members about when I’m going to find a real job, when I’m going to go back to school, and why my husband and I didn’t just wait to get married so that I could finish school, and you can see how I’ve come to this.
I've hit a wall in life, and I have now started climbing that wall.

I will matter on my own. I will set goals for myself and achieve those goals, then I will celebrate my achievements with my husband and children. I will impact the world, even if it’s just the portion of the world that exists inside the four walls of my home. . .
. . . and I will do it all without a college degree.
For various reasons, going back to school just isn’t feasible for me, nor is there a strong desire in me to do it anymore. I may take a few college classes that I’m interested in, but my drive will be to learn a bit more about this beautiful world, rather than work towards a piece of paper or higher status of importance.
Sometimes you have to be eager in life. You have to put action with desire and make your dreams reality. Most of the time I tell myself that this is my life and I have no idea when it will be over, so I better start living it the way I want it to go down in the books. Right now, I’m telling myself to let go of expectations and let life naturally unfold and take me where it wants me to go, to be content.

So I do just that. I sit here, pen in hand, scribbling down goals for my life. 'Finish my Bachelor’s degree' is not one of them, and I’m slowly, but surely becoming okay with that.
“When you’re a little kid, you’re a bit of everything; scientist, philosopher, artist.
Sometimes it seems like growing up is giving these things up one at a time.”
Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years
This is what I hope to avoid, even if it means I sell my artwork on Etsy instead of galleries in New York and London, capture newborns and weddings through the lens of my camera rather than the African savannah, and see the bright lights of New York City through a hotel window every few years rather than on my everyday walk home from work. I will hold onto that childhood sparkle as long as a can, even if it means looking like a failure from the outside looking in.


  1. Ehem... check out that last paragraph Dra..
    "Sometimes it seems like growing up is giving these things up one at a time.”
    -Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years
    You: (paraphrased) "This is what I hope to avoid, even if that means I .... see the bright lights of New York City through a hotel window every few years rather than on my everyday walk home from work."
    And THAT'S a testament to never giving up on your dreams, so happy for you that your dream is coming true!



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