Tuesday, August 5, 2008

SG as a Class Warrior: Am I doomed?

I am proud of my college degree. I was the first person in my family (parents, grandparents, aunts or uncles) to get a degree. I'm the only one to have a professional degree (juris doctor).

But neither of my degrees were from prestigious schools. I'm still proud to be an alumna of both of them because it was hard work no matter what the name or location of the school was. I made the most out of situations. I'm still paying for my own way.

So it maddens me to see this. According to this study, it still matters more where you went to school than what you did. I know this is true. Someone who went to Harvard makes more than someone who went to my undergraduate school, Eastern Michigan University. But should they? Should someone with the advantage of getting to a school like Harvard automatically be given a free pass to bigger bucks and more opportunities?

What does this mean? Do we have to perpetuate the stereotype that an Ivy League degree is automatically better than a liberal arts college degree by sending our kids to better-named schools even if we don't agree with the proposition?

I guess this changes nothing--I've always made my own opportunities and have never been ashamed of what I've accomplished no matter where the school is. But at the same time, it gives me big Class War debate fodder. How many of these Ivy League graduates are people whose parents already had it easy? How many of these Ivy League graduates didn't have to work through school or take out student loans? Sure, I know there are the exceptions, but the Ivy League status is this country's "landed gentry". But should it be?

This gal thinks not.


Carrie said...

I've found in life that it doesn't matter where you went to school. (Okay, socially it may "matter" and Ivy Leaguers do get a leg up by virtue of brand power, but I am talking altruistically.) I graduated from a well-known Michigan university and then got half of a Master's from another leading urban research university. I'm proud that I finished college, but I learned more life lessons that "book learnin'" at either of those schools. I'm now in a certificate program from an accredited, respected institute of myomassology (massage therapy). This is, by far, the best EDUCATION I have ever received. Some scoff because a) it's a certification and not a degree, and b) because it will land me in the service industry. By and large this is the school I've been fully invested in, take a huge amount of pride in, and will apply to my every day life. I wish I would have known this before my $25K in loans that have become an ever-present elephant in the room at budget time. So, let the Ivy Leaguers get their prestige. I'll just charge them more and rest easily knowing my family is taken care of and that I'm fulfilled in my career choice.

The Lazy Housewife said...

This is something I realized when I moved out to CA. Almost all of my coworkers went to prestigious, $20,000+ per year private high schools, and thus were afforded to go to prestigious universities, which were also paid for by their parents. It really is unfortunate. It does not seperate someone who worked their ass off to get in school as opposed to someone who had the advantage of their parents having money. On the other hand, I work with all these highly-educated people, so I guess it means hard work DOES get you somewhere.


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