Your Degree = Your Identity


It happened again:

"Oh, you're in college, what are you studying?" "I want to be an LPN [Licensed Practical Nurse] so I'm getting certified in the things that'll help me toward that." "You know you should really go for your RN. They make more money and it's a much better position. Stay in school and get your BA in nursing."

Aaaand thank you very much for that unsolicited opinion. I have made the decision to not get my degree in anything but instead get an AAS for a career that I'll enjoy and that will pay my bills. Look out, I'm a menace to my future and must not be a very driven individual.

School started again this week, seeing me start the CNA program and one other online course. I have loved it so far, and I'm so excited for the new challenge! My instructor is awesome, my classmates are fun, and it's all hands-on. This semester is going to go by faster than a jackrabbit on a date.

So, some backstory. Because I'm sure you're still wondering why I started out with so much sass. Monday night, I was studying at Starbucks with my friend (shhh) when a gentleman walked up and saw our textbooks. He's been through para medicine and nursing at my school so we had a really good conversation about what to expect and study tips. Then he asked what our majors are (see above conversation). The rest of the time after my answer, he spent most of his time focused on my friend and brother who are getting "actual degrees." Here's why that bothered me enough to write a blog post about it.

First of all, if I had responded by giving the name of any official degree  I would have been seen as a normal college kid. But since my answer didn't include the words "bachelor,"master's," or "doctorate," I came off (according to the standard set by the world's system) as an underachiever, a motivation-less girl who doesn't know her own potential. I know my potential, thanks, and it includes more than a number on a paycheck. The society we live in has so warped the concept of college as it was meant to be that if we as individuals meet a young person with no plans to pursue a degree at a university, we immediately consider that person somewhat of a loser (to put things plainly). Therefore perpetuating a school of thought that encourages division and a prison-like mass mental state the equivalent to placing a growling, ravenous wolf at the entrance to one prong of the metaphorical fork in the road every young person faces after high school graduation.

Second, I am more than the amount of money that goes into my checking account every 2 weeks. My value does not lie in the size of my paycheck or my job title, and my identity is not the things I do to earn money to pay my electric bill. If I can do something with my life that genuinely makes people healthier and happier, which also pays enough for me to support myself and my future dog in a moderate lifestyle, then I will consider myself successful. My life is so much more than a hospital badge or a signature on a piece of paper from an old guy in a dress. My life is Jesus, his family (which is, by default, mine), nature, the things I do for others, my personality, my hobbies, the people who love me, music, patience, joy, heartache that makes me stronger, my complete obsession with coffee, and countless other things which can't be taught by four years at summer camp.

My life's goal is not to make as much money as possible. It's not to see a specific job title at the top of my tax forms. It's to reflect Jesus, to do my best at whatever I do, to live a rewarding lifestyle, to be happy. If that makes me an underachiever, then I'll take it. As long as we're giving out titles.


Published by Christina Rowland


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