Graduate Degrees and Feelings of Inadequacy

Over this last weekend I attended a wedding in Huntington Beach, CA. Doctor, do you? Doctor, do you? A very beautiful and unique Palestinian ceremony and reception. The groom has a doctorate from Oxford and a medical degree from Stanford; the bride, a medical degree from UNC.

In going around room and meeting all of these fascinating people (who I might add are all different races and nationalities — truly amazing and speaks very highly of both the bride and groom), it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. I am probably one of the few people in the room with only an undergraduate degree. Which gets me thinking, am I missing something? Is there more that I can and should create for myself?

Does my industry require a postgraduate degree? Probably not. Especially in start-up central (SF/Silicon Valley), MBAs specifically are found to be too “corporate.” I also still have student loans from the first go-round. It would, however, take me down a different path and one with probably more money. But beyond professional advancements, what would it do for me personally? These people have spent time (real time!) in Africa helping those less fortunate. They are becoming doctors and giving back. They are enriching people’s lives. I work because I have to. I hide behind a computer monitor with little opportunities to travel and explore and learn. And I’m honestly not sure how I am really bettering my contribution to society. This feels wrong.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to turn around and take the MCATs tomorrow, but I am interested in finding my calling. Instead of settling. I’ve settled. There, I said it. I took one of those stupid high school career tests that said I would be good in advertising/marketing and I let it make that decision for me. So at what point is it too late to change course? Never, you say! But what if one doesn’t know how to re-calculate and re-route?

And to do it gracefully without falling on my face (or my parents’ wallets).

I think our generation too has had more struggles than previous generations. The world moves a heck of a lot faster and is much, much more competitive. Things are reactive instead of proactive. People change jobs almost yearly either from boredom, incentives, ease of change, or the phasing out of certain positions and introducing new ones. It’s now ok to get multiple, unrelated degrees. How about an unpaid internship? OK! Live with your parents until you’re 30? OK! I feel as though we are generation caught in a constant flux, unsure where we fit in, what to fix first, and how to be wildly successful. This is because we’re all good a number of things. We’re been privileged to try so many things that we’ve discovered that we can do quite a few things well. Our parents and their parents were lucky enough to find one thing and they devoted their lives to it. We have the hardest job of all: choice.

I found a quote the other day that said — Hey, you know that thing you’ve always wanted to do? Well, just think if you had started it a year ago where you’d be today. — Yes, I must get on it. (What is it, again?)

Change. For the better. For me.

What speaks the most about the people I met this last weekend is that not one of them asked about my educational background. Because it didn’t matter. I was there and they accepted me in their company. Such a group of happy, fulfilled people.



One thought on “Graduate Degrees and Feelings of Inadequacy

  1. Pingback: constantlearnings | Being Selfless

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