I hate this stigma people have in America (and other places too, I’m sure) about educational prowess. If someone doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree, at /least/, then they are seen as less than a person.
I’m speaking from personal experience. I have an associate’s degree which means I have a two-year college degree. When I tell people I have graduated college (which is 100% valid and true, it’s a real degree and I have actually graduated) their faces glow with happiness and pride for me and have genuine interest in me. The second I tell them I have an associate’s and NOT a bachelor’s, oh, how that face changes. It suddenly becomes disgust, disinterest, I am scum, the dirt below peoples’ feet, I am stupid, weak, and inferior. I am no longer worthy of their company. Not /one/ person I have told has tried to hide this emotional reaction from me either and they’re all the same. It’s instantaneous and it lasts so long due to their great disgust and shame, it takes them a few extra seconds to reform their face and pretend to care. (I’m not just talking strangers, which it has happened with, but also family members and friends, friends I have known and cared for for years!)
Often times they just stop talking to me altogether (this is with strangers only, family and friends still communicate but there is always an awkward air /if/ the topic comes up). I’ve had many people continually ask me if I’m going back, if I will “actually graduate.” (I’m not even going to go into the fiasco with my parents.) I find myself less and less willing to go back the more and more people seem to, knowingly or unknowingly, pressure me to. Not only that, I find myself unwilling to tell people because I feel so ashamed. I should not have to feel this way.
Why does it matter? Why is it a “big deal” for me to have a four year degree? (I am not downing on education in general, education is important and every day I am learning new things, teaching myself, etc. I am talking about the system and stigma.) What’s worse is that bachelor’s degrees are slowly becoming the new associate’s degree. Now it’s more imperative to earn a master’s.
This little paper that tells you how many years of college I took should not matter. What should matter is what I am actually capable of. I constantly hear stories, more often than I’d like, of people getting fired from their jobs of x many years because they don’t have a bachelor’s, regardless of how skilled they are, regardless of how long they’ve been there, etc.
I am a person. I am intelligent. My educational prowess is not of import.