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What My Degrees Meant (Mean) to Me

Updated on July 9, 2010
What My Degrees Meant (Mean) to Me
What My Degrees Meant (Mean) to Me

Quite the symbol of achievement isn’t it? Now that I’ve had my two college degrees for the better part of three decades, I can wisely and sagely look back and assess what they mean (meant) to me:

— roughly 72 months of semi-incarceration in institutions devoted to the mentally disturbed, perturbed, unhinged, fringed, agitated, ingratiated, motivated, elevated, constipated, initiated, indoctrinated, subordinated, deflated and expatriated.

— money earned and saved and scrimped and borrowed and owed and paid to sustain two not-much-better-than-fair-to-middling college campuses.

— roughly 174 credit hours, for which, to my discredit, I can only claim partial credit.

— approximately 49 different faculty members and advisers of widely and wildly varied capabilities, quirks and foibles, of whom — and regardless of which — I was still able to consider myself clearly superior.

— chances to improve my life, and therefore worth anything.

— uncounted hundreds of fellow students, roommates, RAs, proctors, lovers, sweethearts, landlords and neighbors that meant from something to everything to me (for at least an instant or two), and that now cannot be recalled, for love or money, from the dust and detritus of passing life.

— upwards of perhaps 35,000 pages — and a goodly number equivalent of old-forest trees — of handouts, study guides, prep exams, exams, problem sets, homeworks, class notes, doodles, mash notes, teacher caricatures, phone numbers and tic-tac-toe games.

— a veritable library of textbooks, manuals, notebooks and treatises with spines uncracked since graduation.


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    • secretmemoir profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      I father left school very young and did carpentry - is nearly 70 and still doing the same career - I would say he is rare. Moving away from home to study was useful in that I had to learn to become independant - I came from a sheltered family. So, yes it did have other value. Someone told me that nothing we do is a waste - even if it is something we are not suited to, we can learn something of value from the experience

    • rickzimmerman profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      One key thing I learned: get your education either in a very broad field, or in several. Even as a mere high school graduate, blue-collar worker my Dad had four completely different working careers in four quite different fields (through the 1930s to 1980s). So each one of us can expect to have to change careers multiple times, as society and business demand, before we're through.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I'm glad I went to college and it made a difference for advancement in my career but it seems many people are getting out of college today and can't even find jobs. I enjoyed your little rant that described some of the cost. Good hub.

    • rickzimmerman profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      I actually think my college degrees changed my life for the better in unimaginable ways. But they did come at a cost, and entailed a heck of a lot of human dramedy.

    • secretmemoir profile image


      8 years ago from Australia

      I've got a science degree and a teaching diploma. Haven't been much use to me. Still haven't paid off the student loan from the teaching diploma a year ago

    • someonewhoknows profile image


      8 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

      College is not what it used to be.


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