“We have a survey to take for the college this evening. Administration is asking that all students under the age of 18, not participate. I know, I know, it’s weird. If you’re under the age of 18, please raise your hands”.
My sociology professor addressed us slowly that day. The class was loud and the students weren’t listening. He, along with a few seasoned students such as myself, too were annoyed with the noise. Half of the classroom raised their hands and I felt a pit develop within my stomach. “I was 7 years older than them”, I thought, “This is ridiculous”.
I graduated high school back in 2010, moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland with my father and began my college experience there. I decided to go to community college for a year and transfer to University of Maryland after. I had my plans all set.
So I thought
The east coast wasn’t cut out for me. I was experiencing a culture shock and suffered mild depression. I stayed there for 1 year and transferred back home to Michigan at age 19. I was attending Wayne State University with a major in Journalism.
The Midwest wouldn’t accept my credits that I obtained from a year’s worth of schooling in Maryland. I didn’t care, I was so desperate to come home that I left them all behind and started off as a Freshman. I lived on campus and everyone in my building was fresh out of high school.
My Birthday is Jan 5th 92′..tis why the age jumps as it does
Speeding up this story…I was still under 25 so when filing FAFSA, I relied on my dependent’s (parent) finances to determine how much money I would receive from Uncle Sam. Well guess what happened…someone tried to steal my dependent’s identity..so guess who can’t finish her FAFSA? Me.
Ok no prob, I’ll just try to file dependent! Yeah, Uncle Sam wasn’t having that. I had one parent going through identity theft and another who (I’m not going to even go there) So I settled with getting a job to pay my own way through school for a bit, because Satan OBVIOUSLY didn’t want a homie to graduate.
Set back year 2
I could not afford school. I was able to pay for like 1/2 a class and my aunt helped with another. With my rent, car note (to get to school) car insurance and gas to get to work TO PAY FOR SCHOOL, I started losing hope. My friends were finishing school, their parents were paying for their classes and I started feeling left behind.
“Why can’t I have it like them? Why cant someone pay for all of my classes and send me money for food n clothes? I’m out here struggling trying live and my friends are flying through school getting degrees and moving back in with their parents… WTF”.
Set back year 3
Two years flew by and at age 24, I was able to pay for about 3 classes out of pocket on my own, but I was still so far behind. I just kept on hanging on until I turned 25, so I could file as a dependent and free myself of this misery.
And here I am… Age 25! Dependent AF and filling my FAFSA out last January happy as hell. Still couldn’t use it until this past fall..but I didn’t care, I was just happy.
(FAFSA has this rule, If you were born before January 9’th 1992 or something like that, you had to wait the next school term (FALL) to use your aid as a dependent)
Present Day B.S
Since surrounding myself around more professional individuals who hold degrees, have their own business’s such as myself and are pretty much living the twenty sumn’ societal norm type of life, I’ve gotten some shade from some of these “College Grad’s”.
It kind of goes like this.
Them: It’s Soo Nice To Meet You. So what do you do?
Me: I work at Henry Ford Hospital..I own my own business blah blah
Them: Cool! What do you do at the hospital?!
Me: I’m a Clinical Service Representative
Them: So your a clerk?
Them: What school did you graduate from?!
Me: I’m still in school currently. I’m studying to be a Doctor.
Them: (Disappointed) Oh..that’s nice. (Leaves)
I’ve realized that “title” is extremely important to a mass majority of Millennials. You don’t have to be living any type of “great life” but you need a title to convince people that your “somebody”. If no one knows your name, you cant sit with them.
You’re sort of kind of “not good enough”. As a Millennial who admires college graduates, It sort of hurt to see how society has shaped many of us to look down on struggling Millennials who are playing catch up in college.
We were in Mexico having a great time! On our last day in Cancun, we went to a night club and got Tore Up! He said something to me that low key hurt my feelings.
“I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like the fact that you didn’t have your degree, it bothered me a lot in the beginning. (He’s a degree holder) I’m around a lot of people and we all have our degrees, but since dating you, I’ve realized it’s not always about that”.
(He went more into it, but that was the just of it”
I remember thinking, “My own boyfriend had the same mentality as most degree holding Millennials. If you don’t have a degree, you’re a nobody”.
The craziest thing was that I wasn’t a mess. I had a job, my own place, I had money..sanity! I’m beautiful and nice and we had the greatest time EVER together! But because I was still in school, I wasn’t good enough in his eyes. He could’ve been dating a degree holder who treated him like shit…but he wasn’t thinking that way at the time. Remember..it’s all about “title”.
I began to hate the question:
It just reminded me of how far behind I was and every question made me feel even further behind. It always amazes me at how some degree holders can pressure you into finishing school, but wont offer any of their help or advice to help you succeed.
“Pay for some of these damn classes and maybe i’ll be able to go faster“. I would think
I even got shade from my own Father.
“You wont look good being 26 and not having your degree Kira. Hurry up and finish school”.
(In my Father’s defense, he just kind of talks this way. I knew what he meant, but it hurt my feelings)
That was the last time I cried about it.
The hurtful words I’ve gotten from others; I just bottled inside and became very private about my college life. Any question you’d ask me about school, I’d get defensive. I just started to avoid people who I knew judged me for not being done with school and I figured not talking about it would keep people from asking me more questions.
My own bf gave me shade about not finishing school, but he forgot it took him 6 years to graduate! He had to work, ran into barriers, make ends meet and make sacrifices that prolonged his experience as well. He forgot about this, while judging me about it.
(After realizing his wrongs, he used his experience to motivate me. He actually is the only person (besides myself) who really motivates me to finish. He always reminds me that I am not alone, and reminding me or telling me relate-able stories helps me feel supported)
You have the degree! Hearing how hard you worked to get it and what obstacles you conquered motivates us to keep going. Instead of talking about how many women you smashed, crazy parties and drug usage, talk about what you were doing inside of the classroom. Those late nights studying, how you almost failed a class, but managed to bust your ass to pull a C. We’re all in this together and one day, we will replace Generation X. I’ll be one of many doctor’s, you’ll be one of many whatever. We need one another.
Just because we don’t have a degree yet, doesn’t mean were stupid or haven’t accomplished anything. I had my own place, a great credit score, my own transportation and street smarts, while I know a plethora of degree holders with none of that.
A lot of you guys were so focused on graduating fast, that you settled with degrees that you cant even use in today’s growing societies and now work a 9-5 making less than 40k a year, like a lot of non-degree holders you out here judging such as myself..but imma sip my tea.
Some of us have families to support and take their time with college to best suite their lifestyle needs or to save money, but you’re reading this post overwhelmed in financial debt, avoiding calls from Department of Education and good ole’ Sally. Opp…u forgot.
We’re all trying to figure this whole adult life thing out. Everyone’s story is different and what we all need to be more vocal about, is that fact that nobody has their shit is together. (No one said it was?) Yes y’all did, when you started throwing shade on non-degree holders.
DON’T NOBODY EVEN WANT TO GO COLLEGE!
Some of us need it, some people don’t! Some like a normal life..to raise a family..to work the job that they love for the company that cares for them and their families! College may work for YOU, not everyone else and you shouldn’t judge ANYONE for how fast or long their journey was or is.
So before anyone else decides to throw subliminal shade at myself or others for currently not holding a degree, remember that one day, you may work for one of us, or even have me as your Dermatologist, diagnosing you with a adult acne. We will ALWAYS remember your faces.