College Education Did Not Make Me Who I Am

A college education is designed to provide you with a specific knowledge-set so that you may enter a specified field of employment. The classes that are added on — the Humanities, the English, the Math, the Sciences — are not placed there to up your tuition costs (though it may seem like that from time to time). Those are there to round out your education with knowledge in fields outside your area. In that manner, you become a more educated individual with a specialized knowledge-set (your major and minor if you have one). The idea is that college gives you a better understanding of the things around you. What it doesn’t do is make you smarter than everyone else. Nor does it indoctrinate you to become a political leftist. But it might get you to be a touch more compassionate to your fellow human beings.

See, I work at a two-year college. I hold three degrees. A Bachelor’s of Computer Sciences with a specialization in Database Management (BCS). I hold two Master’s degrees. My first degree was a Master’s in Management of Information Systems with a specialization in Information Security (MMIS). My second is a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA). Through the knowledge I gained from these degrees, I work with Database Systems to retrieve information for others at the college. My MBA provides me with information to understand work processes that I need to navigate to gather information. I have over thirty years working in some capacity in Information Technology. I have worked nearly every single job that one can think of related to computers from Help Desk to Server Administration to Vice President of Technology. Sounds impressive, eh? Well, it is not.

See, my degrees opened doors in my field that would otherwise have been closed to me. I managed to climb the corporate ladder through a series of promotions and moving from job to job. One thing was for sure, I am not upper management. I like doing the work myself. But that is getting off the point. #IRideTangentsTheSameWayIDriveMyTruck

What my degrees did not give me was an understanding of the world around me. My Druidry studies through OBOD have helped me see connectivity better. Books from authors like Joanna van der Hoeven, Cat Treadwell, Nimue Brown, Shauna Aura Knight, and a host of others have helped me to understand that connectivity. I read. I watch documentaries. I parse the information on my own, and find my own understanding of the material. Yes, this means that I read the opposite side of an issue, so that I may understand that point of view as well. That’s not indoctrination, that’s how one learns. That’s how one understands or I should say, how I learn and understand.

My education – from college, from my Druidry studies, from reading the viewpoints of others – makes me no better than anyone else. Every human being has worth within our society. Even those who denigrate another for simply educating themselves in a manner that the denigration chooses to mock. A recent meme on Facebook asked the following question:

If Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Paul Ryan were all drowning, and you only had time to save one of them: what type of sandwich would you make?

I have seen this same meme with Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Nancy Pelosi fit into the scenario instead. My education – through college, Druidry, and reading – has helped to shore up a single moral value that I have: be compassionate to others. That includes people I disagree with. In the scenario, I would try my best to save all three. Because I believe that is the correct and moral thing to do.

I am not above these people. They are people, just like I am. It matters not what their education level is. It matters not what part of the political spectrum that they belong to. It matters that I am there and can provide assistance that may save their lives. And to further move that in the area of connectivity, I would do the same to try and save a drowning animal as well. My moral compass extends there as well.

Yesterday, I quietly watched as reports came in from city after city where women were marching in protest against Donnie (#NotMyPresident). Women with their spouses and significant others. With their children. With their friends. With complete strangers. They all came out and voiced their discontent with Donnie and his stated policies from the campaign trail. Added to that was the manner in which he described women as nothing more than blow-up sex toys that were there for his self gratification. As well as cuts to health issues that women have fought so long to get. I proudly watched as FB friends and my fellow co-workers made their way to those marches and added their voices to the crowds.

I also watched as people who voted for Donnie stated inaccurate, and spiteful statements concerning those that marched. People who profess to the world through their Facebook profiles and memes that they are devout Christians. Followers of Jesus ben Joseph. Supposedly adherents to the teachings of the Christ. Jesus ben Joseph would never have made commentary on the employment status of the individuals in the march. If the teachings of the Christ are to be believed as being historically accurate, He would have been standing within the nearest march to Him, decrying the loss of humanity by an uppr 1% of the economic base of this country. He would be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those at Standing Rock, fighting to preserve lands from the corporate greed. He would also have been there, standing in front of the businesses that had windows smashed in by angry protesters, reminding those that did the damages that such actions prove nothing to the world about their cause. Except to turn those on the fence away from their cause. He certainly would be (and should be) ashamed of the hateful commentary left by those who profess to be striving to be more Christ-like.

However, if I have to point out – I am just as human as anyone else. I have made similar comments in the past about people that I cannot find enough connection to be compassionate towards. But I try. And my collegiate education did not get me to this point in my understanding of the world me. Nor did my Druidry studies. Nor did all my experience in the work force. Nor did all the authors that I read, and the topics that I tackle in my daily reading. All of that had a hand to getting me to understanding my connectivity to the world around me. But it was me who came to that conclusion. On my own. With my own thoughts. Through my own desire to be helpful and compassionate to others where I can. Extremely introverted, overly studious me. Education didn’t indoctrinate me towards this position. Druidry did not brainwash me to be the person that I am. Being extremely poor in my late twenties and early thirties didn’t get me to champion the underdogs of the world. No, all of that is me, and me alone. I came to those conclusions on my own.

And through all of that, I remember one other thing. No matter what anyone says about me, no matter how much I am denigrated and ridiculed for what I believe – even by my own DNA relations – how I approach my relationship with the rest of the world matters most to me. Family has a different meaning to me. Genetic code merely means we are related. True family does not necessarily make you related to me. True family runs far deeper than that.

I can only humbly hope that all of this makes sense to you, the reader of this blog post. But if it doesn’t, and you still believe me to be indoctrinated by education, and that I hate you and your way of life because you have it better than me – or that I am un-American for refusing to add the title of “President” to Donnie’s name — that’s ok. If I happen upon you and your car stuck in a snow-filled ditch, even if I am late to work, I’ll stop and offer to pull you back out. Because that’s how human beings should react to one another – with compassion for those who have need.

*photo by John Beckett