Shortly after I graduated from Indiana State University, I moved to Las Vegas where I started working at Neiman Marcus. While I was there, I received a lot of pressure from coworkers and friends to go back to school to attain a graduate degree – chiefly a law degree. I felt that I was getting unfairly attacked and pushed to get a law degree so much that I wrote a blog about it on my old MySpace page. This was originally posted on August 27, 2007. You can read it below:
I have a college degree. I know what you’re thinkin’, “So what?! A lot of people have a college degree. What makes you so special, Ronnie?” I really don’t think I’m special because I have a college degree but I know that I have an advantage — no matter how slight it is — over someone who doesn’t. More options are presented to me just because I have an expensive piece of paper hangin’ in back in Indiana at my Mom’s house (see my photos for proof).
The people who get me so upset are those who talk about how I should be using my degree. You see, I went to school and GRADUATED with a bachelors in Legal Studies…that’s Pre-Law at most other schools. I went that route with the ultimate goal of being a lawyer then becoming a judge at some point. I graduated in May of 2004. It’s August of 2007 and I am neither a lawyer or a judge…hell, I don’t even work in a law office. I know only a handful of lawyers and I really haven’t made much of an attempt to go to law school and continue on that plan. I work at Neiman Marcus doing basic security work and tackling dummies that take stuff they can’t afford.
Wanna know something?…I like my job (most days). My job has nothing to do with my degree but I enjoy it and I’m actually pretty good at my daily tasks. “You need to be using your degree, Ronnie. You spent all that time in college and all that money on furthering your education. You should make it worth while.” Who the hell are you?! It’s my degree. I use it how I like. And please, don’t even fix your lips to say any of that stuff to me if you don’t even have a degree. The thing is, I’ll be able to move up the ladder pass you just because I have a degree. Nowadays, any degree will do for most jobs. Employers like to hire people with degrees because it not only shows that they are smart enough to handle higher education but it also shows that they have some “stick-to-it-ness” (I got that term from my homie Brandon — one of the few non-judging people who didn’t go to college but respects my degree and still smarter most I know here).
My beef is with those who claim that I need to use my degree is this: IT’S MY DEGREE! Last time I checked, God bless us all with free-will. That means I can do whatever I want…He would like for what I do to not hurt anyone else and to be productive. I believe that I accomplish both in my current position. Why are you so concerned about me not being a lawyer right now? Why can’t I change my mind now from what I was thinking back in 2004? And who says just because I’m not on the path of being a lawyer right now that I can’t get back on it later down the road? Did you know that a lot of people don’t even start law school until their mid-30s? I’m only 26…that’s right; only 26! I’m doin’ better than a lot of people who are older than me.
At least I have a degree. I have options. I can do whatever I want. I would also like to believe that I have another advantage over people; any job that I go for or take on, I believe that I can do it better than you. If I don’t think I can be successful at something then I won’t even attempt it. That’s a waste of energy but if I’m goin’ for it then you better watch your back because you got a hungry and determined man that’s ready to perform.
In closing, I like to tell the person that thinks I need to do something within my degree this: SHUT THE HELL UP! And if you don’t have a degree yet, then you REALLY need to shut the hell up and go to school! If you do have a degree, do what you want with your degree and let me worry about mine. My life is mine and mine alone…same with my degree. And I’m not sayin’ all of this because I have completely ruled out being a lawyer. That’s quite the opposite. I’ve actually looked at law schools recently, I’m planning on taking the LSAT very soon, and I’ve been exploring jobs with law offices and government agencies. Don’t ever forget that this man is smart and loves options…
Now, I’m not as angry as I was 4 1/2 years ago. I do still have the desire to obtain a graduate degree – stronger than I did before. I will not be pursuing a law degree but I am making plans to obtain a graduate degree in public administration. I feel that an MPA is better suited for what I want to do career-wise so that is where my focus has been turned.
Those who got me all fired up back then should know that I think that I have a better idea of what you were trying to get at: “Ronnie, you’re better than where you are right now and you could have much more if you just got that graduate degree.” I understand that and I appreciate your push to strive for more. I’ll get it. Trust me, I don’t quit easily.