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Is This Real Life?

Updated on February 25, 2010

A degree= smarter than everyone else?

Even if a college graduate doesn't know what they want to do with their lives, there still is an overwhelming feeling of empowerment and somewhat entitlement when you graduate college. Every college kid thinks a great job is headed their way or that a few years of grad school will make them an even better candidate for their chosen career. Nothing can bring them down until a few moments after graduation. Then the bubble bursts. Yet the feeling of entitlement lingers.

I admit to once being one of these 'snot- nosed kids.' And I am proud of my education. I worked hard for my degree in history. Yet as much as my liberal arts college said that their education would prepare me for the world, I'm not so sure anymore. Clarifying this issue I'll say that I'm capable of understanding an issue, but knowing for certain the practical applications to rectify problems of the world is still a work in progress. Simply put I don't believe anymore that it is the intellectuals who know everything. I'm starting to fully grasp how intelligent my grandparents and other members of their generation were. Less than 50% of their generation had college educations, yet they knew hard work and common sense would get them far.

Not to mention that so many of the millenial generation are in unchartered waters. We've been brought up to believe that if you have a degree from one of the Ivy League schools you're smarter than the average bear. But is this the truth? Intellectuals can ace tests but can they actually put one foot in front of the other? Meaning can we all forget the theories and just get back to some good old common sense to find our way out of this maze?

Lost in our own maze...

Finding our way through the quagmire

An example to demonstrate my dilemma: the world state of politics. Throughout my academic career all of my American history professors discussed the elections that changed the country and the leaders that made history. To state an obvious fact the election of 2008 changed history. There were overwhelming majorities of people who came out to vote in that election. Now I'll come clean. I did not vote for Obama because I come from the school that no politician can be trusted. President Obama is a gifted orator, but anyone who understands 'true' democracy knows that nothing can change overnight like he seemed to promise. Perhaps I'm too cynical but the world will never be perfect. How can two countries like the U.S. and Iran get along with two very different ideologies leading those nations?

Getting back on track I know it's time for Americans to remember that it's not the school education that makes you smart but the life experiences. It's not the degree that makes the man/woman, but what he or she does with it.

Putting aside political views I look at the American public and wonder how did we become so angry? Not only that, but the divide that separates this country. From a historical perspective I don't think the country has experienced this divide since the Civil War or War of Northern Aggression depending on where you come from. We are at a turning point and I don't think anyone can guess what lies ahead. Or how we will be when we're out of the tailspin. America was forever changed by the Civil War. Will that be our situation too? Some may think it's an exciting time to be young right now and to have a voice, but I don't see it that way. Those of us in our twenties only have a little over two decades to our life span. And what times do we remember? The 90s when everything fine and dandy. Then came 9-11. Suddenly our little bubble burst open. Many called 9-11, the millennials 'Pearl Harbor.' But it wasn't the country of Iran or Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan attacking America. It was a group of extremists who will do whatever it takes to destroy us. A scary thought? YEAH!!!

So what's to be done?

Expect the worse? Pray for the best?

Not that a 23 year-old is so equipped to answer this, but studying history at least prepares me to believe that we are not the first people to wonder what is coming our way. There is an eban flow to politics as with other movements. And one phrase I've come to love and hate is, 'the only thing constant in life IS change.'

I can say however that I hope Americans soon remember who they are. The only country to thus far show that a Federal Republic is a the best system in the world. Yes we're riddled with faults but what country has a perfect past? And I for one will always say I'm proud to be an American.

And I know this too shall past but I just wonder what shape we'll be in once we're out...I simply hope that everything our Founding Fathers worked for was not for nothing. Because this reality we know now cannot last.

Time to Show that We are Proud to be Americans!


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    • Kendall H. profile image

      Kendall H. 8 years ago from Northern CA

      Hi Jane! It's good to hear from you! I agree that so many questions we ask now will not be answered until we are much older or even after we're gone. Education and the power to think about a problem is very powerful but just 'thinking' about something will never solve anything. Solomon was a very wise man, who knew human nature was never perfect. Like you said it is very important to believe in something greater than yourself or fellow human beings, because there is always a higher power at work that we can never begin to explain or understand with simple words. Thanks for reading and your comment!

    • Jane Grey profile image

      Ann Leavitt 8 years ago from Oregon

      As a fellow 23 year old with a liberal arts degree, I completely understand where you're coming from! The questions you brought up were important ones, but I don't think they'll be answered in the next 100 years, since the previous 100 years have only muddled it for us. Education, knowledge of the truth, and wisdom, is valuable beyond measure, yet king Solomon in all his smarts said wisdom is vanity and that there was no end to the making of many books. I like that guy-- first because he pursued knowledge, and then because he realized that his pursuit was futile unless he knew and feared God, the author of that knowledge.

      Great article! You got me rambling again, as your wonderful and thought-provoking words always do! :)


    • Kendall H. profile image

      Kendall H. 8 years ago from Northern CA

      Thanks Rose! As much I love learning within the world of books in some ways I've seen its the life experiences that bestow on us the most wisdom. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment it's always appreciated!

    • Rose West profile image

      Rose West 8 years ago from Michigan

      You've brought up some very good points. I like how you said that a degree doesn't make you smarter, it's what you do with it. It seems like your studies in history have made you wiser about the present. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kendall H. profile image

      Kendall H. 8 years ago from Northern CA

      I agree missmaudie! Life experiences do make one wiser. Somewhere I read 'the beginning of wisdom is knowing you're a fool.' :) I know that many things come with time and after all if we were born knowing it all life would be very boring then. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Kendall H. profile image

      Kendall H. 8 years ago from Northern CA

      Hi Ideamorphist! Thanks for commenting. It is important right now to just remember the positives and believe that good things are headed our way. I wish you the best on finding a job!

    • missmaudie profile image

      missmaudie 8 years ago from Brittany, France

      I'm not an American so I can't comment on that bit, although every country surely has its good and bad points. As for being smarter because you have a degree - personally I think it's life experience that makes you smart. I know much more now than I did when I was 23! A degree in say biology makes you smart in that one subject but you may know nothing about anything else which is actually not very useful if you can't get a job. Thought provoking hub!

    • IdeaMorphist profile image

      IdeaMorphist 8 years ago from Chicagoland

      I am proud to be an American, and educated. I am going through time unemployed with an MBA! I have had many worries about what is to come, but just try to enjoy each day I wake up alive! I appreciate your post and look forward to reading more from you!