The Case for (Higher) Education

PhDTweetTwitter conversation about earning a PhD

The title of my blog is “The Eternal Student.” I work in a field that offers PhD’s. Heck, we even have a hashtag: #sadoc.

When I tweeted about a student insisting on using Dr. Robinson in email communication, I tweeted about how I felt inadequate. Not because I feel any guilt about not having a PhD, but because I feel I am deceiving the student (despite stating that I’m only a Ms. not a Dr.)

A friend gave me encouragement that it was only a matter of time and that I should get used to my eventual name. As you can see from the conversation over ~~~> there, I don’t want to become Dr Robinson. It took me 6 years to return for my Master’s degree; I’m 33 years old, newly married, and am far more interested in going home at the end of my day (usually), keeping active with Girl Scouts, and having a caseload of students. I’m not cut out for the meetings,  hiring/firing, and bureaucracy that so many Directors/VP’s/etc deal with.

I’m not counting out any kind of title or promotion because I don’t know the future, but like my former boss, I know what I’m good at and I know where I’m happiest. My formal education will never come to an end because I’ll always take classes, but I don’t see another degree, advanced or otherwise, in my future–I want the freedom to take Greek Philosophers one semester followed by Organizational Culture the next, and Stained glass after that. The thing I love best about college is the breadth of information that is available to our students, and to US, who are fortunate enough to have tuition remission benefits.

Maybe I shouldn’t put it out there that I don’t want to become a Director, VP or Dean–it may appear as though I’m not ambitious, or am not interested in advancing my career. But I’m not ashamed of knowing who and what I am. We aren’t all meant to be Senior Student Affairs Officers; if we were, there would be more of those positions 🙂 We’ve all heard the jokes about so many in Middle Management “being promoted to the level of incompetence” (never within Student Affair of course though…). If I remain engaged, challenged and happy with my position, I don’t need “more” if I already have enough.

Do you think everyone needs the highest degree possible? Do you think people can and should be happy at their ideal employment level, or should everyone strive to become an SSAO?