Society has placed education on a high pedestal as if those who are able to achieve degrees are of a special breed of intelligent. Leaving us to guess that those who don’t get as far in education are somehow lazy or stupid. The reality is, that is just not true.
The education system is flawed, I get to say that because I speak from a highly privileged position of being in my first year of my master’s program. I have seen students get into my program with less than stellar portfolios but had an in with the admissions board, so they were okayed, and I’ve heard stories of students well above any of us first years denied because they ran out of admissions spots.
With the student loan crisis reaching scary new highs the societal and socioeconomic gap between those with an education and those without leaves a staggering canyon between them. I wish with everything in my body that it wasn’t that way.
I can only be grateful that I have the opportunity to go back to school and further study what I love. The application process as a whole was stressful. I had to record and upload a 2-minute video on why I deserved to get into the school. I’ll tell you being able to form sentences in those two minutes was a feat in and of itself let alone pare down why I thought I deserved admission in two minutes. Then came the essay portion. The personal essay, a mortal enemy of mine sometimes, not because they are hard but because you are trying to decipher what parts about you are the most desirable to an education board. Most of the time they desire a struggle. Hell, a lot of the personal prompts come right out and ask what the most difficult thing was you had to endure and how did you deal with it. If you look at it through a specific lens it feels like a lottery based on painful experiences. Then it raises the question, if I had lived a privileged life, one where I had no suffering, no difficulty but I was genius-level smart would that put me at the advantage or a disadvantage? It all can get so overwhelming.
Then I had to submit a sample portfolio of my writing since I was applying for a writing track. I can’t tell you how many times I second-guessed if I even had the skill to move forward, let alone spell correctly. I had rewritten my sample piece 4 times before I had to give up and just turn in what I had before I went crazy.
And just when you think you’re done you’ve got to get letters of recommendation. Personally, for me, this was the most difficult part of the process because before I even I applied to a master’s program I was out of school 3 years. 3 years is long enough for plenty of people to forget you and the subject they taught you in. You also have to think is this teacher in good standing, do their accolades reflect on me well? It is a tough process, especially since my two favorite professors who knew me well passed my last semester in my undergrad.
With all that said I was able to get all my ducks in a row and apply and then by some grace of God, I got in. I am in my third week of a master’s program and I feel like I’ve been put through the wringer already. The workload is intense, the caliber of work is harder than anything I have ever done and you know what? I love it. It is challenging me to push my academic standards well beyond what I have been able to do in the past. I am sure I’ll need a little longer to get used to the rhythm of my courses, but I am proud of the work that I am doing.
However, just because a wider education is the right call for me, doesn’t mean it is the right call for everybody. Education is a rather personal thing and how you weigh its value is entirely up to you alone. Add up all your life factors: cost, pressure, time, ability, desire and go from there.
Just because our education system is broken doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from it and just because you can’t proceed into higher education doesn’t make you dumb or unworthy. It isn’t always worth it, but finding that answer lies with you.
Until next time readers…