Excuse me while I rant.
For one, there is a beeping noise going off every 30 seconds at work and I can’t figure out what it is.
For another, I’m tired of people knocking my degree.
I just finished reading this article on Mint, which was yet another article explaining how idiotic you are if you go to grad school and come out with debt. Despite blazing through my master’s degree (I’m almost done with my coursework and have a significant portion of my thesis written) while earning a second degree (I’m getting a Certificate of Public Health, nothing special but its something) I’ve been called a professional student, a term I would normally save for someone who is working on their second PhD or had never been in the workforce. And I’ve gotten more than a few snickers when explaining to someone what Medical Anthropology is.
But you know what?
I’m paying for grad school in cash and scholarship with nary a loan in sight. And while I’ve spent more than I am taking in these two years, I haven’t accumulated a penny of debt.
Life is about more than money. Should you take a job that is able to pay your living expenses and pay off your debt? Absolutely. But money is not the sole determinant of a job’s value, especially since CEOs of corporations like Apple make more than directors of hunger addressing programs like Feeding America, even though we would all probably rather go without an iPhone than starve. Not having debt and not needing the biggest, fanciest, newest everything means I don’t have to measure whether or not it has been worthwhile to go to grad school based on future earning potential. I can get a degree that enables me to do more good work even if it doesn’t translate into me earning more money.
And who knows. Maybe I’ll never get a job. Fifty percent of people living with interstitial cystitis are unable to work, and I realize that’s a possibility. But I believe the research I am doing now is not worthless, even if my life evolves in a way that means I am either unable to work or choose to be a stay at home mom.
And just because someone isn’t familiar with the field of Anthropology does not make it useless.
For one, anthropology is a science not a liberal art. Sure, hard scientists might like to call it a “soft science” or a “social science” but sub-fields such as biological anthropology and forensic anthropology are a far cry from being a “soft” science in my opinion. But my point is, it’s not a completely esoteric pursuit. The contributions from anthropology are real even if they are not well known.
I’m tired of conversations that go like this,
Friendly Acquaintance: “What do you and your husband do?”
Me: “We’re both in school – he’s in law school and I’m in grad school.”
FA: “Oh, what are you in grad school for?”
FA: “Oh. So your husband’s in law school? That must be so hard for you. I bet you can’t wait for him to be done. Is it hard being a law school wife?”
I don’t think anyone has ever asked John if it’s hard to be a grad school husband.
Maybe it’s not the path everyone else would have taken. Maybe I should have gone the more traditional route to support my husband through law school, then stay at home with children and hang it over his head whenever he brings up me going shopping. Or spend years talking about how one day I plan on going back for my masters but never actually doing it. I wanted to get a master’s and so I’m doing it. I’m not worried about what income bracket it will launch me into and I’m not worried about not being the traditional wife.
And now I’m off to find whatever that beeping noise is.