Do you feel like you wasted your degree?

Emily and Victoria shoot back at the question that has them wondering: If women are equal to men, isn’t their education just as important?


To read more about this series and find Victoria and Emily’s other conversations, click here.


Victoria: I hate this question. Lol. I hate it because it’s so tied to a particular mindset when it comes to education. It stems from the idea that higher education exists for work and…nothing else. When we talk about degrees and education, it’s always “What are you going to do with that?”

Answer: whatever I want. Gosh. *insert Napoleon Dynamite “gosh” here*

To a certain extent I agree with the sentiment. With the ever increasing levels of student loan debt, it’s really important for us to be prudent with education and finances. Teenagers should be counseled on what the impacts of student loans and educational choices can have on their life.

Yeah.  OK. Fair point.

But…knowledge and learning has a value so beyond the salary you get out of school!

Emily: It’s unbelievably misogynistic to suggest to a woman that her receiving an education was a “waste” because she is not deriving monetary value from it.

So, I shouldn’t be educated because I’m going to be home with kids? Such a suggestion degrades my human dignity. My education was for me, not for a career. I learned, I grew, I became a better person because I worked very hard to receive an education. 

But hey, since you asked, I’ll indulge.

I received a degree in architecture. I can tell you that between the arts of designing buildings and designing people, there is a lot of overlap.

I never practiced because architecture is built from ideas, and the ideas that drive the field today are complete crap. Buildings that go up now are ugly, and I realized in school it’s because the industry is run by a bunch of egotists, both the architects and the clients. The self is being glorified, and it’s pretty uninspiring. In fact, I’d go so far as to say soul-sucking.

I can tell you that between the arts of designing buildings and designing people, there is a lot of overlap.

Now, I was taught in school that the key to good design lies in investigating problems critically and thoroughly. I was taught to think sideways so to speak, to take in the whole problem and all its variables (environmental, social, economical, cultural, and so on) and come up with a cohesive, beautiful and structurally-sound solution.

When I see a world that praises what is ugly, I investigated the problem, and began to consider a possible solution. If the problem is the glorification of the ego, the solution is the voluntary subjugation of it. If I want to see the ideas that drive architecture change, my design solution becomes clear: contribute to raising a new generation of people who know how to love and to serve. 

And that’s just one aspect. Don’t even get me started on the pros of thinking sideways when it comes to handling tantrums.

Victoria: Say it louder for those in the back! I really want to affirm how you’re utilizing your degree.

My degree is in Psychology.  Psychology is so freakin useful as a mom.  If you’re a mom, take a Childhood Development course.  Doooooo it. You are going to be so stupid pleased with how it helps you figure out what the little rugrat is up to.

I’ll give you an example.  I was having a rather serious conversation with a particularly verbose four-year-old the other day (probably a four-part analysis about why they deserved another pack of fruit snacks, or something of that ilk).

Another adult came to talk to me, and I asked her to “Wait a little while.”

That was interrupted with constant pulls for my attention.  She tugged at my clothes, flopped on the floor, climbed on my feet, made a weird half-hum half-whistle noise).

I was starting to lose my patience — didn’t I just ask her to wait??

Now stop.  Science time.

Four year olds, as it happens, only have a rudimentary capacity for abstract thought (Check out Piaget’s Preoperational Stage).  “Wait” and “a little while” are abstract things. What do you do, exactly, when you “wait?” It’s not defined. How long, exactly, is “a little while?” Again, not defined.  Realizing this, I reframed what I said more concretely.

“Wait a little while — why don’t you color with chalk, and don’t talk to me, until the big hand is on the five?”, I said pointing to the clock.

Long story short, she made it until the big hand was on the four.  BUT point being that she did color and didn’t interrupt for at least a while.

I’m not saying that a Psychology degree is a cure-all for child discipline issues.  It does, however, give me an incredible leg up when I’m trying to puzzle out what’s going on in my child’s brain — and better respond to it as I go.

My degree gives me an incredible leg up when I’m trying to puzzle out what is going on in my child’s brain.

Emily: This reminds me of things my mom used to tell me about when my brother and I were little.

When she went to college, she majored in Home Economics, something that I think isn’t even available anymore. She took lots of child development classes, and was always mentioning how much she loved seeing what she learned come to life in her kids. It helped her understand us, and be able to respond to our developmental stage in a healthy, productive – and fulfilling – way.

Raising a child is a major project, and being equipped with the appropriate tools to complete the project well – in our case, formal education – is just plain, good ole common sense.