Volume 1, Number 9 - March 2, 2011

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Andrea Orellana
Andrea Orellana
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Opinion Opinion

Chasing The Pursuit Of Knowledge

By Andrea Orellana
andrea.orellana001@mymdc.net

When I was younger, I wanted to be a psychologist. I thought ink blots looked funny and I enjoyed the idea of hearing what others thought about all day long.

Later on, I decided I wanted to be a psychologist-teacher hybrid because I watched that movie Matilda where the girl with the telekinesis has a teacher with a name as sweet as she: Ms. Honey.

I dropped the idea when I realized I’d have to actually work with kids and went back to dreaming of a career in social sciences.

One day, though, well into my teens and long after my grade school musings, I thought, maybe I should not be chasing a job, but a life.

“What are you studying now?” “What will you study next?” “Where are you transferring?” “What colleges have you applied to?”

The worst part of being a second year student at a two-year college is being a second year student at a two-year college; if only because I have to endure these questions on a daily basis. Two years ago when we graduated from high school, the onlookers in our lives assumed it was the perfect time to pounce; to ask for the first instance in our young years, “So, like, what are you going to do now?”

It’s only natural that they’d ask. Graduating from high school is a rite of passage, after all, just another ceremonious hymen-breaking of sorts (except that it’s set to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, a.k.a. the only song graduation bands ever know.)

When you decide you’ll be a transfer student, a second round of interrogation is expected. Too bad these hemorrhage-inducing questions are designed to expect only certain answers. In terms of average yearly incomes, statistics say that having an associate’s degree is the same thing as having nothing but a high school diploma. It seems that having an associate’s degree is only seen as a stepping stone and therein lays the issue.

Having an associate’s degree is not just two years into getting a bachelors. It’s two years worth of classes taken and knowledge gained.

Getting an education in this day and age only means you’re on your way to chasing a good job; valuing an education for education’s sake is an antiquated perspective in a time where having money is all anyone aspires for.

We know without a doubt that knowledge, like the terrible cliché goes, is power.

But the only form of power students are taught to acknowledge is the kind that comes from a bi-weekly company check and a soul-killing daily work routine.

And that’s no way to a fulfilling life; maybe a rich life, maybe a life  of status in the community, multiple assets to your name and power in the markets but who wants that? (What side am I arguing again?)

The objective of going to school should not be so that you are able to add a few lines of credibility to your résumé but to simply become educated.

Education is a privilege and that no one ever sees it that way is a travesty to our depth as a society. Education is only seen as the means through which we may hope to acquire what the American standard deems significant: a pretty house, a respectable job with perks, a bank account the ladies will fawn over.

Despite all the different ways people have asked the question, “what now?” upon hearing that I am approaching my final semester at Dade; I am not any closer to knowing the answer.

I am not chasing my career. I’m not dreaming of a 401k. I just aspire to be happy.

For now, I imitate the responses I’ve heard others use, even when I know the only thing I plan on doing once I take off the toga is to ditch the heels on the way to the car, degree in hand.


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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Miami Dade College.
Miami Dade College is an equal access/equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, marital status, age, religion, national origin,
disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or genetic information. Contact the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs/ADA Coordinator, at 305.237.2577 for information.