Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Edumacation

I was the first woman in my family to move away and live on my own; the first to 'see the sunlight and moonlight'*. I was the first woman in my family to go to college, and graduate. I am the first woman in my family to get a graduate degree. None of these are necessarily my accomplishments; I would be lying if I said my family didn't have something to do with it.


My motives to get an education were not that noble. I was filling a void that had consumed me most of my life. I started reading like a child possessed around the time I was six, because as I explained to the school librarian, I felt like an empty bowl that needed to be filled and only books could fill it. Unfortunately, I never read anything useful that would help me make money (an astute observation only a father can make). Nor did I read with the intent to put my knowledge to material or social use (there is little to brag about when your favorite genre is the history of the French Revolution--when you're 12). I just read, because it brought me joy and made me feel the tiniest bit less empty.

My college education was a bit of a fiasco, considering I stayed in the US promising to study pharmacy and get a respectable job in that field in Iran after graduating. I am not a pharmacist and I live in the US, so that's one of the promises I have made which I failed to keep. The majors I chose instead were a compromise (in my mind) that would please my parents (science is semi-respectable) and myself (I had to read British literature, how bad could it be?). Unfortunately, imaginary compromises fail to please anyone. My parents still remind me of the broken promise (and financial fall-out of not being a respectable pharmacist) and wonder why I wasted my time on an English degree that I can't do anything with. At this point, I had wasted years of my life, thousands of dollars and the opportunities life had granted me for for nothing. Yay me.

My graduate degree was another ill-planned compromise. I chose a field that virtually guaranteed me riches (at the time) and I was interested in because it would allow me to support myself and find outlets for my less lucrative interests. With the dotcom bubble bursting and my degree taking significantly longer to complete than I had originally planned, that didn't work out so well either.

Now, I am the proud owner of a B.S., a B.A., a M.Sc and a professional certificate. NONE of which can help me find a respectable job that requires me to do more than copy, paste and order lunch. All of this education, and I will barely be making more than a high school graduate doing the same thing I am doing. At this point, I don't even trust myself to make any decisions about anything.

I am not very proud of myself today.

*An old expression in Farsi, used to refer to women who were no longer innocent and often used their experience against men to get the upper hand. Generally not used as a compliment.


Anonymously Unknown said...

I am not sure if you are feeling unfulfilled due to your multiple degrees, career, or your income?

In each case, it can be changed:

I) Get more degrees that you will be happy with

II) Change careers

III) You could always make more money without using any degrees what so ever

I met a lady yesterday; she is 31, has 3 kids and her Iranian husband left her (meaning he fled the country -- literally!) with a $120,000 mortgage! She is attending Law School at the moment...

And pharmacists are not doing very well at the moment! My sex partner's mother was recently fired; December 20th is her last day -- what a nice Christmas gift to someone who has been working for a company for 12 years.

Manny said...

Anytime I regret decisions I made in the past I think to myself, "Well, if my life hadn't gone the way it had I would have never met Kristine (Mrs. Disco)." But if you want to go back to school to improve your future, then by all means, go for it.

Amy said...

Take heart! Education is never a waste, and all you can do is make yourself happy. I have been floundering around in a career that I hate for 12 years now, trying to avoid going back to get my MBA. Now that I am going back to get my MBA, I love it. I wish I could stay in school forever. But my income won't allow it.

However, I am meeting great people that I would have otherwise never met, and doing well in school gives me a lot of confidence.

Please don't regret your education. Someday it will pay off!

esha said...

I don't think you should regret your decision. You did it to please yourself. You shouldn't feel regretful over an accomplishment that many people would LOVE to claim. I think that you shouldn't be sad, but feel successful that you have come so far.

Anonymous said...

well mr. or ms. anonymous...That's funny because my mother had 24 children, had a broken leg, but she managed to become an astronaut, while finding the cure for a rare genetic disorder. Meanwhile, she also was running for the governor of our state, and learning chines, japanese, and hindi all the same time. NOT to mention, he gourmet sabzi was unlike any i have ever tasted.

Now if you can't measure up to her, u might as well stay in a closet.