The Greek philosopher Epictetus once said, "Only the educated are free."
If that's so, then who are the educated?
It seems that no matter how much I learn or by what means I learn it, there will always be someone there to tell me it's not enough.
At the moment, I am a mere stone's throw away from receiving my bachelor's degree, debt free, might I add, and have considered attending graduate school afterwards.
When friends, family, or acquaintances ask me what I am studying, I tell them, "Digital Media with an emphasis in film production," and their reactions have varied in some disturbing ways, ranging from smug self-righteousness to outright rudeness.
Here are a few choice remarks I have received and in the way I received them.
1. Their noses crinkle up as if they have just smelled a fart and say, "Oh...that's..." and then move on to talk to someone else.
2. They just roll their eyes and say, "So it's, some kind of art degree or whatever?"
3. They scoff and say, "So, what are you going to do with that?"
4. "Can you even make money with that?"
5. "Well that's stupid. But if you wanna walk that line..."
Let me take some time to answer a few of the questions posted.
First, no, it's not an "art degree." It's a bachelor of computer science. But even if it were "just an art degree" what the f$ck would that matter to you? Have you taken the time to search for the thousands of jobs in that field? Well, then shut the hell up.
Second, to the question, "What are you going to do with that?" Well, since it is a film degree, the goal would be to MAKE FILMS!
Third, as for money, whether or not I end up actually making films, my degree has trained me in several other fields including, but not limited to, graphic design, web design, audio, and overall digital production.
So, while I thank you for your pseudo-concern, I think I will be just fine...moving on.
It's upsetting to me that the choices I make concerning my education can illicit such a negative response from some people.
What's even more upsetting is that the people who have a smug attitude toward my choices are really in no position to judge me.
For example, in the last two weeks I have had some of these smug comments and judgments passed on me by:
1. A 30-year-old jr. high school teacher who has to have roommates live with him and his wife just so he can pay bills.
2. A massage therapy school graduate who never got her licence. (Not dissing massage school here, just if you are going to go...why not finish?)
3. A freaking migrant worker who gets paid half of what I made in high school!
Look, I don't care if these people don't make good money or if they didn't finish school, or if they can't pronounce my name correctly in English...but are they really in any position to talk down to me about my life? I think not. It's akin to that old adage about people in glass houses and not throwing rocks.
I'm sorry if the world crushed you and your dreams...or if not, I'm sorry you never tried because you were, and probably still are, afraid to fail.
I myself am afraid of failure just as much as the next person, but I'd rather fail a thousand times than ever live my life thinking "what if."
And just because you can't wrap your head around why I would study a field that I love and connect with on an emotional level, that doesn't mean you have to transfer your insecurities onto me. Because let me tell you, I am bullet proof, and it only makes me want to prove you wrong more than ever.
So, regardless of whether or not I succeed, and whether or not you believe in my abilities, I will continue to chase my dream until my legs give out.
And as for the naysayers...
Neil Spencer Hiatt