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What is the purpose of a degree if you cant use it?

11/09/09

Permalink 05:41:37 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Education, Commentary

What is the purpose of a degree if you cant use it?

So last week Friday I graduated from the University of the West Indies with a B.A. throughout all the congratulations and cheers I was getting from all my family and friends somebody presented me with a question that I have been thinking about since it was asked to me. The question is simply “So how does it feel?” Of course most people would have said, but this is a really easy question to answer, it should feel good, I should feel on top of the world right now... However my answer to the question asked to me was – “I feel pretty much the same”.

Now this is not to say that the degree was not something I am proud of myself for or am I discounting the fact that the mere fact that I have a degree places me in a strange position as one of the few people who actually have one in Jamaica. However the world of opportunities which should have come with the degree just haven’t seemed to reach me. Of course my experience is slightly different because I am currently pursuing the Bachelor of Laws, however I have to use the experience of my friends who I know have first degrees and are not actively working, or who are doing more research based projects or have had their lives changed in some major way since finishing their degrees.

One example of this is a friend of mine who has done a degree similar to mine. This guy is a particularly brilliant Historian who I commend daily for his in depth understanding of and love of history. He was unable to find himself any employment within which he would be able to impart his knowledge of or use his knowledge of history, and so went to prominent high schools volunteering his services as a teacher. Not even in this light he was successful, and to me this is quite disappointing, especially in light of the fact, that he isn't the only person I know who has graduated over the past weekend and is still in need of employment. This is a far reaching problem affecting the majority of my compatriots.

It is also difficult for us students to even consider a further course of study at the postgraduate level because the costs incurred are greater than we can afford and of course it is almost impossible to gain employment to afford further study. The issue is therefore clear, what does one do with a degree if they cant utilize it? What is the point of spending 3 years and hundreds of thousands of dollars is afterwards you are basically still where you were after leaving high school except you have a piece of paper that says you are potentially smarter than the majority of other people.

Maybe if people left the country then they'd be able to find employment in other foreign countries, but this would further add to the brain drain that jamaica experiences which was highlighted in a speech by John Issa when he received his honorary doctorate the past weekend. What happens to those of us who want to help Jamaica from the inside and not from the outside. So as I said, how do I feel now that I have a degree, not different in any way but I am forced to pose the question. What are we (graduates) to do with our new found knowledge and experience, after all we dont need a degree to sit and twiddle our thumbs do we.

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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