Re: The Last Word on Degrees :-)

Subject: Re: The Last Word on Degrees :-)
From: Rikki Nyman <nymanr -at- TRG -dot- TRGLINK -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 16:23:52 -0700

After Arlen wrote:

...after which I will again attempt to let this dragon I roused go back to

I had to toss my own opinion into the stew. Your "dragon" is rather like a
child, it came from you, but it is not yours. Certainly the subject is
intense because there are two schools of thought and both are valid.

A degree is not a certificate of worth as a human being. It does not confer
intelligence, logic or ethics. It doesn't indicate ability to learn or
intellectual agility. It is not an absolute gauge of determination or will.

It took me twenty years to complete my degree (B.S. History). I spent 19 of
those years like Zonker from Doonesbury as a perennial senior. I was
articulate, well-educated (a by-product of classroom and self-study) and
capable of doing whatever I chose. I didn't think that having a degree
would substantially improve my lot in life.

I ultimately decided to complete my degree. I juggled working full time,
raising two kids (alone) and taking two full terms of course work over a
period of six months. (It would have been so much simpler before the kids!)
It was like a rite of passage for which I guess I was very late, but that
degree made a huge difference in how seriously I was taken by those in a
position to hire me when I was looking for a job.

There is room for the self-educated, "self-made man", BUT I would rather not
see education, however it is accomplished, diminished in any way. My
experience is that the "paper" is valuable and I can only see it growing in
importance as we move into a more and more technologically volatile future.
And I'm not done yet.

I am putting my soapbox away now. Thanks. :-)


>> I haven't said this on the list before because I didn't want too many
>> people to take it wrong. But I've had it with all the posts from
>> nondegreed people who seem to belittle my degree. I resent it.
>Probably no more so than I resented what I felt were degreed people
>belittling my abilities and skills. And now you belittle my determination.

>>And determination
>> is an important factor because it can mean the difference between a
>> good employee and an all right employee.
>A quote which surfaces in several motivational series is "The difference
>between successful person and an unsuccessful one is not a lack of ability
>nor a lack of knowledge, but a lack of will." Actually, it's not an
>accurate quote, but it's close enough that I'm sure Coach Lombardi wouldn't
>mind. No one has disputed that as far as I can tell.

>>And that has determined my success in my profession, too.

>And I'm sure you deserved it, too.
>> Because you probably
>> can't even imagine how hard I had to work to get that "expensive piece
>> of paper" and to get where I am now. And no one had better belittle
>> that! Beth
>And of course you can easily imagine how little I had to work to get where
>I am. Beth, no one who succeeds has it easy. It just doesn't happen. I'm
>not trying to belittle your achievements; that was never my intention. I
>do, however belittle that "expensive piece of paper" and will continue to
>do so. The value you received wasn't in the paper. It was in what you
>learned and achieved, and therefore in how you performed on the job. And I
>will go to my grave believing that because you *are* so determined you
>would have found a way to learn what you learned, and achieve what you
>achieved, even if you had never seen a college campus.

>Determination is valuable. If I seem testy about it, it's because I spent
>four years in military service instead of college. And that's the bottom
>line. I have my credits in the determination department as well; why are
>yours automatically superior to mine? (That's what you seem to be saying,
>anyway.) You overcame an automobile accident enroute to your education.
>Congratulations, I'm glad you did. I'm sure you brought a lot of talent to
>your field. During my hitch, even though it was peacetime, I could have
>been killed twice that they told me about (who knows how many times when
>they decided for one "national security" reason or another they couldn't).
>I didn't want adulation. I didn't want back-slapping. I didn't even care if
>I got thanked. It was my job, and I chose freely to do it. But I won't have
>anybody tell me that I lack determination simply because I won't pay
>someone money for something I could get on my own cheaper.

>I'm sorry if I'm seem to be getting hot over it. It just seems like I'm
>constantly repeating this: No one is belittling the effort anyone put into
>getting a college degree. The effort and the discipline is important; the
>sheepskin is not. I am asking is that no one belittles the effort *anyone*
>puts into learning, whatever the setting. What matters, as I said in my
>first post, is how well you do the job. What doesn't matter in the least,
>is where you learned it, how long it took you, or how much it cost.

>Have Fun,

>arlen -dot- walker -at- jci -dot- com
>This mail message contains 100% recycled electrons

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