Breaking down the stigma attached to Uni degrees

Michaela Wagland explores the stigma surrounding University degrees, and how unnecessary it really is.

It isn’t the most wonderful feeling when someone’s opinion casually makes you question the entirety of your major life decisions.

For example, I chose to study the degree I do because I want to be a journalist. I chose to attend University because where else would you gain excellent advice and skills from experienced professionals?

So when someone tells me my degree is nothing more than a bludge and shouldn’t be a degree; I’m not ok with that.

Unfortunately, there is a stigma that lingers around University degrees. Many may not have noticed it, but I have and know of people that have fallen victim to this unnecessary myth.

There is no doubt that degrees such as Medicine, Law, Physiotherapy or Engineering (just for example) deserve to be held in such high esteem. I am in awe of these students. What they learn I perceive as a foreign language.

But it is not fair when other degrees perceived as ‘easy’ or ‘pointless’, are subject to ridicule. Why even say that? Because in case anyone hasn’t noticed, a HECS debt isn’t exactly a choice.

In no way am I saying that students say this about other students. We all know how much hard work it takes. And perhaps many students haven’t experienced this at all. But I have, and I know others have too. And the remarks sound a little like this…

“A bludge is all it is. A couple of assessments and a practical, how hard is that?”

 “You don’t really need to go to Uni for that, anyone can do it.”

 “It’s just a waste of time really, they don’t know how hard we work.”

“That’s your assessment? I’ll show you mine, you’ll feel better about yours. It’s much harder.”

 Not words of a lie, these have all been said.

We all come to University for numerous reasons. Many may be extremely positive of the career path they wish to follow. Others may just be trying it on for size. Every single one of these people should be applauded, because University life is difficult in more ways then one. I’ll use Week 13 as my defense here.

So why should students be belittled for their degree choice? Each one of us has strengths. We come to university because we know that strength and we attempt to play on it. If you can draw more then a stick figure then go thrive in Arts. If you have an interest in the human psyche go work your ass off in Psychology. It doesn’t matter what degree you chose, just so long as you want to do it. Only you.

Perhaps these comments have got something to do with the words ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’. The definitions of these words initially appear as transparent and can be quite daunting but in all honesty, if you know the shit you need to know, you’re smart. Intelligence is your dedication, your hard work in knowing what you are reading or writing. Intelligence is looking at the world around you. Intelligence is knowing who you are and what you like. So when someone says your degree is easy and a bludge? Do not take it personally.

I did and it got me nowhere. Except bed at 2am because I kept contemplating life.

We choose the degrees we do because we are interested. We want to know more. We can see ourselves being someone one day. So it is incredibly unfair for any student to experience these remarks. Yes, all degrees are different, but it is still a University degree. It still requires extensive hours of work.

So what if your degree is shorter then others. Who cares if you didn’t understand that assessment when first reading it? It doesn’t matter if your friend received a grader higher then you, there is always room for improvement. No one should judge you if you fall asleep during a lecture either, we have all felt like doing it.

If you are in the degree you want, you’re doing it right. The truth is, stereotypes around degrees are always going to exist, and that stigma will perhaps never fade. So try you’re absolute hardest to ignore them. You are going to walk out of here with a University degree and that is truly awesome.

So do whatever the hell you want to do. We do have our whole lives to pay off our HECS debts after all.

Image: Flickr, Steven Worsterno changes made.