Friday, September 26, 2008

I Just Want to Know...

Why did I get this education? 4 years of my life, over $20,000, sleepless nights and endless days... for what? The first job I got out of college was at a storage facility. Hans worked as a security guard at a juvenile detention center. How messed up is that? And why can't we get decent-paying jobs and health care in our own country? Something is severely lacking in an economy that can't support it's own citizens, and forces them to move to other countries for work.

Hans thinks a Bachelors Degree is the new high school diploma. It's hard to get a decent job without a Masters - at least in our fields of study. Then WHY did I spend so much time and energy getting the dang thing? Education has become as inflated as prices! It's value has become so eroded that we need more and more of it to get anywhere in life.

Now, I'm not complaining about the need for more education. I love school. I love stimulating my mind, pushing my limits, and expanding my perceptions of the world. I think even if education weren't inflated, I'd probably still want to go to grad school. I just hate that 4 years of hard study doesn't amount to anything these days.

So, what do I want to study? I could go back to school for music.

Pros: 20 years of study under my belt
Hundreds of dollars spent on sheet music already
It's a skill I want to teach my children
It's what I love
I can teach private lessons anywhere

Cons: I'm not good enough for a career in performance
A performance career isn't conducive to family life
A music degree isn't very transferable into other occupations
Accompanists are expensive
I haven't sung or played in over a year, and I am badly out of shape.

I could go back for math.

Pros: I enjoy math. I think I'm good at it.
There are lots of accounting jobs out there
Music is very mathematical

Cons: Math is not my passion
I would have a loooooooot of catching up to do
Who wants to be an accountant??
Why am I talking about music in the math category???

I could go back for Applied Linguistics.

Pros: I have a background in teaching ESL
I have a background in diction and phonetics
It's a good degree to have when you're traveling around the world
It might better our chances of landing a job in Europe, where I could REALLY study music

Cons: Don't know much about the program
Don't speak any foreign languages fluently
Don't know if it's practical for jobs within the US
There I go talking about music again.....

Yeah, I think it's obvious what I want to do. I just can't justify doing it. It's expensive, time consuming, and I don't know how beneficial it would be to anyone but myself. I REALLY want to be selfish in my education, but I just can't be. Music isn't something I can study online, nor is it something I can study in Japanese (not that I'd want to - Japanese singers are appalling!). I also don't know if I have the confidence I need to go through with it. I am truly stuck.

(P.S. Yes, I went back and censored this blog. I realize I might have shocked some of my more sensitive readers. That was not my objective. Sorry, guys.)


Samantha said...

Ooooh! I totally wish I would have seen whatever shocking thing you edited out!!

I have thought about this issue myself quite a bit. I totally understand where you're coming from. As you know, with tap dance I didn't really tap dance for like 2 years until now- even though I thought about it all the time. It's so hard to find the time/location to just tap dance, you know? So I had to seek out ways- that workshop, and finding jobs teaching. I would love to perform one day but like you said, not conducive to family life, so who knows.

What I think is that you don't have to get another degree to be good at something or to enjoy it and pass it down to your kids, which I know you know. It's harder to just make the time for it when you aren't paying for a degree, but just keep it up on your own, you know? Teach where you can, sing to your kids which I'm sure you already do, start singing even if it's only every once in a while at home, learn new music here and there, and maybe one day it will lead somewhere "bigger," and maybe it won't, but at least you've spent time and energy doing something you loved as a hobby if nothing else. I often think hey, I can even learn tons of new stuff just from reading, without getting another degree.

PS my brother has the same theory as hans- about a BA being = to a HS diploma nowadays.

PPS I am so jealous of people who can sing. I've always wanted to be able to, and I wish my voice was prettier b/c I sing to Zara a lot and it would be much more pleasant for everyone if I had a good voice.

Maynard W. Bitumbuntz said...

I second Sam's wish - Why'd you have to go delete perfectly good shocking material?!?!?!

Suz, My advice? Do the Applied Linguistics thing, if you can. I think you can have a good, safe career with that - and do Music on the side.

Here's why Bachelor's degrees are inflated. Because we live in an age of gratification - where parents gratify their children, where children gratify themselves. You see, for many collage students, they don't spend four years of hard study - they spend four years of hard paryting and scraping by - and in the end, their degree is just as valid as yours. So, real careers want more. They want to see that you are serious, and are willing to get down to business. That's my first point.

Second point, is that we live in an age where everyone knows everything. So in order to show that your something special (and worth their pay) real employers want to see that you know even more than everyone else.

So, yes - education is inflated. There are two real options, imo - 1) Get more education (at least one member of the family)
2) Stay over seas and live a cushy life on your meger $60 per year plus free travel and free rent - for as long as possible, and then go back to the US and remember the good ol' days.

What am I going to do? A little of both. :)

ps - Sam, I miss you.

marklj said...

I think you should get a dual MBA/JD in international business/commercial contracts. I know just the school for specializing in Asian markets. (Lots of math for you).

Then you can sing to your kids while you're driving them to private school in your Porsche ;).