All Articles Tagged "education"

Black Women Are The Most Educated Group In The U.S.

June 3rd, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Ahem, Black Women Are The Most Educated Group In The U.S.


It’s official. Black women are now the most educated group in the United States.



According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there is a higher percentage of Black women enrolled in college — 9.7 percent, to be exact — than any other race or gender group. Asian women trail slightly behind with a whopping 8.7 percent and White women with 7.1 percent.



Between 2009 and 2010, Black women earned 68 percent of the associate’s degrees, 66 percent of the bachelor’s degrees, 71 percent of the master’s degrees, and 65 percent of the doctorate degrees received by Black graduates in the United States.

Great job, ladies. Keep up the good work!



H/t Salon

What Rihanna’s College Scholarship Will Mean For Caribbean Families

May 13th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Rihanna's College Scholarship

Credit: Derrick Salters/

Earlier this month, Rihanna announced that her Clara Lionel Foundation will include a Global Scholarship Program. The program will help pay the tuition of natives or citizens of Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana or Jamaica who will be attending an undergraduate institution in the United States.

The scholarship awards range from $5,000- $50,000 and can be renewed for up to three academic school years or until the recipient receives his/her degree.

“Scholarship finalists are selected on the basis of academic performance, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, work experience, a statement of educational goals and objectives, unusual personal or family circumstances and an outside appraisal,” the Clara Lionel Foundation website notes.

When I first learned about Rihanna’s charitable effort, I thought it was brilliant but not for obvious reasons. The program offers those who grew up in similar circumstances as Rihanna, the opportunity to fulfill educational goals that are often left untouched due to circumstances beyond their control. Despite education being of life or death importance in Caribbean and Latino cultures, it’s not always accessible in the United States because of family dynamics or systematic red tape.

Growing up, I observed the road blocks that kept my own relatives from pursuing their education. If they were of high school age, some of my cousins had to repeat grade-level work they already completed because it was assumed that immigrants were academically behind their American peers. Others were not able to attend college because their parents encouraged them to find a job to help with the household responsibilities (especially if other children in their family unit were already enrolled in college).

Although this may not be the narrative of all Caribbean and Latino immigrants, Rihanna’s scholarship adds to the list of opportunities for those who grasp the idea that finances should no longer defer the dreams children of immigrant families, as they embark on their own Manifest Destiny.

For more information on the Rihanna’s Global Scholarship Program, visit the ScholarshipAmerica.Org

Is This Petty? I Don’t Know If I Want To Give Him A Chance Because He Didn’t Go To College

April 22nd, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

I’ll start this week’s “Is This Petty?” with a quote about dating in the tech age from my dear Brande Victorian: “Pssh. It’s rough out here…”

From the outside looking in, I assumed that dating apps and sites had made meeting the opposite sex and going out on dates a lot more fun than it used to be. I mean, I was hearing about people going on two to three dates in a week (What is this? Sex and the City?!), so I believed that being exposed to so many options could give you a better shot at finding your right fit.

Not so.

A friend of one of my girlfriends from college was telling me about a guy she went out on a date with, from Germany, who she was really into after linking up on Her merriment was a big deal for her, especially since she had some not so great encounters with guys on the dating site. From creepy lads reaching out to noticing that many men on the site — Black, White, whatever — were looking for non-Black women, she just hadn’t had the best of luck.

But before Mr. Germany, there was a guy who seemed genuinely interested in getting to know her better, who didn’t fall in the creeptastic category, whom she matched with. However, after giving it some thought, she decided that she couldn’t give him the time of day because he didn’t have a college degree.

I know that sounds a little on the snooty booty, bourgeoise side, but to be fair, she is a lawyer who just recently graduated from law school after studying for years and has since secured a swanky job. Therefore, education is important to her, and rightfully so. She wants someone who she’s “equally yoked” with, as they say in the Bible. Or really, someone who at least is making moves in their field of choice and can continue to move up the career ladder thanks to experience and training. In her mind, a man without a college degree will be limited in his opportunities.

And it’s not just earning potential that worries women like our subject. It’s also the “educational discrepancy,” as one woman called it when asking for advice online about her relationship.

“I’m a graduate student getting my PhD in a science field, and he never completed his bachelor’s and is currently working in the service industry. He’s taking online classes and collaborating on a startup, but doesn’t plan to finish his degree.”

To her, conversations could feel a little limited, and she was wondering whether or not she was wasting her time after more than a year together.

But as one woman said about her own experiences dating men with and without degrees on a different thread from a few years back, as long as one has an interest in learning, degree or no degree, it could work:

The thing I appreciate most about dating somebody with a similar educational background is the fact that it’s another opportunity for common ground and being able to relate to one another, and can be an indication of similar priorities and values. But it’s also true that my SO and I had college experiences that are about as drastically different as the difference in experiences of somebody who went to school and didn’t go to school, so it’s no guarantee that you’d have a ton of common ground. Everyone’s experience is different.

However, whether I am dating somebody with a college degree or without one, I have a hard time relating to people who don’t prioritize learning and have no intellectual curiosity. And you’ll find that type with and without degrees, unfortunately.

It’s different strokes for different folks. So if you meet a guy who you just have that connection with, despite a lack of a degree, and you want to go for it, then go for it, sis. And honestly, many extraordinarily talented individuals never graduated from institutions of higher learning and are running the companies that make our phones and other innovative things. But the way I see it, if education is important to you, you shouldn’t sidestep your wants and needs because chances are, it will still be a problem down the line. And in all honesty, you shouldn’t lower your standards in an attempt not to seem like an uppity, judgmental chick, or, as people LOVE to say in horrid Instagram memes, a woman who won’t “build with” or “build up” a grown man. Women are often expected to bend and adjust for a decent man with potential rather than encouraged to stick to our guns and wait for a good man with a plan–and a hustle. We all have our preferences, and as for our subject, it’s not a man without a college degree. To each their own…

But as always, that’s just my opinion. What do you think? Is it petty to not give a guy a chance because he hasn’t obtained a college degree? 


No College Required? Six-Figure Jobs That Might Surprise You

April 13th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Looking for a new career that will bring in a bigger paycheck without costing you years upon years upon years in school? Doctors, lawyers, and engineers are the most coveted professions that earn people six-figure paychecks each year. But they’re not the only jobs helping people supersize their bank accounts.

These career choices may not be as famous, but they certainly bring in awfully nice paychecks. Do you know how much your local food truck vendor makes? What about the chef at your favorite restaurant? Before you walk on by these career choices, it pays to know the perks that come with them. We’ve done the research, and we’ve found that there are lots of jobs that bring in much bigger paychecks than we previously thought.

Whether you’re looking for a career change or just a way to make money without a four-year degree, one of these six-figure salary jobs is bound to be perfect for you. All you need is to gain experience and hustle hard.

10 Things You Should Never Do Before Sex

March 30th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Ever get in bed to do the do and think, “something just isn’t right?” Things are drier or moister or… smellier than they usually are? Don’t panic. You may have just accidentally done one of the things you should never do before sex. And you’re not alone.

Most of us are so focused on what we should be doing in the sack that we never take a moment to think about what we should be doing before we get there. But it pays to be in the know. Doing some of these things before sex can make you more prone to STDs, infections or burning sensations. And we haven’t even gotten to the uncontrollable gas yet.

Before you hop in to bed the next time, just take a look at this list and see if there’s anything you need to prune from your pre-sex routine.

5 Things Parents Should Teach Their Kids Outside Of School

March 23rd, 2016 - By Chuck Creekmur
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Guess what? We need a total overhaul of the modern school system in America. This is a fact. the United States, which is supposed to be the bastion of modern civilization, ranks a mere number 14 in the global education rankings. We are number two in ignorance though. The kings and queens of education are South Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong. All Asian lands, they are kicking some serious global butt.

One of the reasons that those countries fare so well was that there is a “culture of accountability,” according to a report commissioned by education company Pearson. This means that teachers, parents and students all were equally responsible for the success of the child. They also believe that kids are able to become smart through hard work and dedication, but the folks here generally think that you are born smart or dumb.

So, now educators have been talking about how to usher children into the 21st Century with new learning techniques that will help kids compete in this global environment. I have some practical things parents should teach their kids that will pay dividends as they get older, wiser and eventually take over the world. We cannot afford to wait for America to make a change.

1. How To Manage Money

One of the main issues with Black people is we have all of this buying power, but we don’t generally learn the details of managing money. The most I learned coming up was “Save your money.” I had to tell my daughter recently that she needs to put away 10% of her money when she jumps into the workplace. From there I did the math from 20-years-old to 60-years-old. Not only did she get it, but I am going to continue to guide her on this matter into her 20’s so that she continues to understand that power of putting money away for retirement. Certainly, there are other investment opportunities and ways to make your kid’s money work for him or her, but that is an easy entry point. They can grasp the concept very easily.

2. About Their Heritage

Recently, Malcolm X “turned” 90. There were celebration all over social media. I personally went to the grave of the slain civil rights icon and his dear wife Dr. Betty Shabazz in upstate New York. Do you think Malcolm was celebrated on this day at all in my kid’s school? Not at all! I ended up sharing what I experienced with her via text and when I saw her I gave her a red, black and green flag. Obviously, Malcolm X is just one of many, but there is a huge book all African American parents should own, if they can get a copy. It is called Africana, the Black encyclopedia of encyclopedias!
This bad boy is rare, but I found one and we’ve been learning from it ever since! Kids get a sense of pride seeing all the history, legacy and heroes that they will likely never see in the walks of traditional school. They need to know that Black people were more than enslaved here in America.

3. To Develop Their Passion

My brother is a teacher and he introduced me to the concept of “multiple intelligences.” Before he brought it up, it never really occurred to me that such a thing existed. That was, until I thought about myself in third grade. I will never forget how the teachers wouldn’t let me partake in the talent show, because I could draw. “But, that’s my talent,” I recall saying pathetically. They wanted kids to sing and dance. I realized later on that the school system at that time was ill equipped to teach based on my “intelligence.” From there, I would cheerfully go through school doodling, day-dreaming and garnering average grades – unless it was art. As we ease into these new ways of teaching,parents must try to identify how their kids learn. Thankfully, my parents fostered that creative side of me and I do the same for my child even though her true passions lie elsewhere.

4. Learn Healthy Eating Habits

We talk about the obesity rate in kids all the time, but are we really teaching them about eating right? I don’t think we are. I will admit that early in my child’s education year, the school forbid certain food stuff, particularly those of a sugar variety. However, as she eases into the middle school years, they are easing up. The kids have more free will to pick what they want to eat. Now, I don’t even claim to know what they are serving, because I generally pack her healthy lunch when she is with me. This is directly related to her eating some greasy pizza at lunch one time. Let them know to stay away from processed foods and GMOs as much as they can. Lastly, teach them why they should stay physically active. The occasional double chocolate chip cookie serves as a great treat.

5. Good Ol’ Fashioned Etiquette (On All Sides)

My daughter and I were going into a convenience store to get me some coffee for a quick road trip recently. When we got to the door, she attempted to hold the door open for a brother coming out. He was about my age, maybe a bit younger. He said, “Don’t hold the door for a man – you’re daddy better tell you that!” We shared a laugh and I patted him on the back with a “Thanks, brother.” I laughed because I have taught my daughter all sorts of etiquette, particularly around how a man should treat a women. Most of our outings are like mini-Daddy/Daughter dates with me opening her doors, closing them and all that good stuff. This is for her to know exactly how somebody should be acting when she does start to date. The same applies to boys and they generally need such formal training more than girls. These skills will serve them well in life though.

These are just a few of the good things we can teach our kids outside of school. Do you have anything to add? Please contribute so we can get and keep these fantastic kids on the right track.

This Smart Video Shows Where The Women In Tech Problem Begins

March 8th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Microsoft Make What's Next

Microsoft Make What’s Next

Can you name a woman inventor without Googling “women inventors”?

Don’t feel guilty, neither could we.

Martha Coston, Mary Anderson, and Sarah Mather? Those are the women who, respectively, invented the signal flare, windshield wipers, and the underwater telescope. Don’t feel guilty — we hadn’t heard of these female inventors either, before Microsoft brought them to our attention in a video launched today to promote its new “Make What’s Next”campaign.

In honor of International Women’s Day, the campaign highlights the main problem surrounding the gender gap in tech: education. We are all taught about famous male creators, but our knowledge of the women who have spearheaded the development of things such as the computer algorithm and satellite propulsion (Ada Lovelace and Yvonne Brill, for the record), is still so limited, to say the least.

Besides raising awareness about female inventors, the Make What’s Next campaign offers coding tools and tutorials, as well as a patent program to help female inventors file for patent pending status.

“When I look at how we get more women into tech, it’s about education and providing girls with access to people who can talk to them about what it’s like to be in the industry,” says Kiki Wolfkill, the executive producer of Microsoft’s Halo games.

Wolfkill says that initially, she wasn’t sure technology was something she’d be able to do. After minoring in fine art in college, the designer was hired by Microsoft to work on cinematic art for the company’s PC games. That job eventually led her to head up Halo 4 and 5, two of the most popular and hotly anticipated video games in recent years.

“When I came into Microsoft, there were two other women in my group, which I think was unusual at the time,” Wolfkill says. “That defined how I think about teams and has made it very natural for me to bring other women onto my teams.”

So how do we get more women to apply for those teams in the first place? By making sure they know that tech is something they can learn and excel at, whether they’re designing for games, writing code, or inventing an entirely new technology.

Go girls!

Kid Library: Get These Essential Dr. Seuss Books

March 3rd, 2016 - By Mimi Scarlett
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If there is one notable children’s author to know it is Dr. Seuss. His books have been turned into movies and his quotes can be found floating around on memes and other viral media content for their universal message that doesn’t just appeal to children but also to adults.

On yesterday the world celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The day was also recognized as National Read Across America day, a day dedicated to encouraging reading amongst young people. While the day is appointed as a national day to celebrate reading, as parents we should be reading to and encouraging our children to enjoy books and other forms of literature to build a lifelong love of reading.

In honor of Dr. Seuss and all of his amazing contributions to children’s literature here are 10 must have Dr. Seuss books to add to your child’s library and the lessons they impart through his fun, colorful and witty prose.


The Sneetches and Other Stories:

 This book contains a number of different stories. One regarding the Sneetches takes a look at why some of these creatures have stars on their bellies while others don’t. This story teaches children to celebrate our differences .


The Butter Battle Book:

The silliness of this book involves children fighting over  whether to butter the bottom or top of the bread. Throughout the course of the book the issue continues to grow into something it doesn’t need to. Great teaching topic for parents looking to address sibling fighting or teaching the importance of taking the high road in various situations.


The Foot Book:

This book is perfect for younger children. It’s silliness begins to introduce adjectives and vocabulary building a reading base for new readers.


Oh the Places You’ll Go:

This wildly popular book looks at all of the amazing places that the story character gets to go to. This is not without a lesson to tell children and adults alike that the opportunities are endless as long as you are determined and work hard.


The Lorax:

Dealing with the issue of the cutting down of trees, the Lorax warns a character in the book to stop cutting down the beautiful Truffula trees. The warning isn’t heeded and bad things start to happen to the land. If you are looking to introduce environmental awareness this is a great way to show children the importance of taking care of our environment.

Here’s Where The Top Presidential Candidates Stand On The Issues That Matter

February 9th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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presidential candidates


There has certainly been a lot of mudslinging during this year’s primary season. And while that’s entertaining to some, do you know exactly where the candidates stand on the important issues?

Well, I am here to tell ya.

In particular, I am here to tell you what the top two Republican candidates, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, as well as their fellow Democratic candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, stand on four important issues:


As part of his Five for Freedom plan, Ted Cruz wants to abolish the Department of Education (along with the IRS, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development). He also wants to end Common Core. Why? Well, according to his campaign website: “We need to restore parent and student choice and remove federal barriers to children’s success.” [source:]

Donald Trump doesn’t have an official position on his website (in fact, he only has five positions in total). However, during his campaign announcement speech, the real estate tycoon said, “As president I’d] end Common Core. Common Core is a disaster. [Jeb] Bush is totally in favor of Common Core. I don’t see how he can possibly get the nomination. He’s weak on immigration. He’s in favor of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can’t do it. We have to end–education has to be local.” [Source: Wall Street Journal, 2015]

He was also previously quoted saying that he wants to cut the Department of Education “way, way, way down.” [Source: Politico]

Bernie Sanders doesn’t have much to say about what should happen to the DOE (if anything should happen), however, he does have a comprehensive plan for higher education. More specifically, Sanders wants to make college free at public colleges and universities. He also wants to lower student loan interest rates and allow Americans with college debt to refinance their loans at lower rates. How does he propose to pay for all of this? As written on his campaign’s website: “The cost of this $75 billion a year plan is fully paid for by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy seven years ago.” [source:]

Like Sanders, Hillary Clinton also has a plan for higher education. But unlike her Democratic challenger, she does not outright plan to make college free. Instead, she wants to make it “more affordable.” More specifically, she wants to “ensure no student has to borrow to pay for tuition, books, or fees to attend a four-year public college in their state; enable Americans with existing student loan debt to refinance at current rates; and hold colleges and universities accountable for controlling costs and making tuition affordable.” In terms of K-12, Clinton wants to make high-quality education available to every child in America. [Source:]

Civil Rights and Social Justice

Cruz wants to defend religious liberties, solid, period. And as written on his campaign’s website: “The Pilgrims risked everything so that they could worship the Lord with all their hearts, minds, souls, and strength. The founders enshrined this right to live according to our faith in the First Amendment, and we must continue to celebrate and safeguard citizens’ God-given rights.” [Source:]

Again, Trump has no official position. But according to On the Issues, he is okay with gay marriage and affirmative action – for now. [Source:]

Sanders has quite a few (extensive) positions on the issue of civil rights. So in the interest of brevity, I’ll just list some of his views on racial justice (for his position on LGBT rights specifically, you can go here). Sanders wants to demilitarize our police forces; invest in community policing; invest in police forces that reflect the diversity of our communities; federally fund and require body cameras for law enforcement officers; require police departments and states to collect data on all police shootings and deaths; establish a new model police training program; return voting rights to felony offenders; reinforce the Voters Rights Act; make Election Day a federal holiday; eliminate mandatory prison minimums; investigate local governments that are using implicit or explicit quotas for arrests or stops; prevent employers from discriminating against applicants based on criminal history by “banning the box”; stop the unequal exposure of people of color to harmful chemicals, pesticides and other toxins; and mitigate climate change and focus on building resilience in low-income and minority communities. Phew…[Source:]

While Clinton does not have a specific position on racial justice, she does take a position on criminal justice reform. And as president she said she will “Work to strengthen bonds of trust between communities and police; Make new investments to support state-of-the-art law enforcement training programs; strengthening the U.S. Department of Justice’s pattern or practice unit; support legislation to end racial profiling; providing federal matching funds to make body cameras available to every police officer; collect and report national data on policing; create national guidelines for use of force; reduce mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses; reform the ‘strike’ system to focus on violent crime; eliminate the sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine; apply Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactively; end the privatization of prisons; Take executive action to “ban the box”; and support legislation to restore voting rights.” [Source:]


Reproductive Rights & Family and Children

Cruz hates abortions and if elected president, he will instruct the Department of Justice to investigate Planned Parenthood. He also believes “Marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman, it has strengthened societies for millennia, and we must uphold the truth of marriage.” He also wants to do away with “leftist judges.” [source:]

No surprises here, but Trump has no official position. However, before he was against abortion and Planned Parenthood, Trump was very much in favor of both. [Source:]

Sanders wants to expand funding for Planned Parenthood. He also vows to “only nominate Supreme Court justices who understand that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and recognize the rights of women to have access to family planning services.” Likewise, Sanders also wants to make high-quality childcare and Pre-K available to every American; expand the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program; and require employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. [Source:]

Clinton is the only candidate to take a position on college campus assaults. More specifically she wants to “ensure fair process for all in campus disciplinary proceedings and the criminal justice system” and “increase sexual violence prevention education programs.” And while she is not as assertive in her language as her challenger, she also pledges to “fight for paid family leave; increase the minimum wage; stand up to Republican attempts to defund Planned Parenthood; address violence against women; and promote women’s rights around the globe.” In terms of family, Clinton also pledges to “guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; and ensure at least a two-thirds wage replacement rate for workers.” [Source:]

Health Care

Cruz doesn’t have an official position (at least on his website). However, the senator has been very vocal about repealing Obamacare [Source:]

Again, Trump does not have an official position on his website, but according to On The Issues, he feels that Obamacare needs to be both repealed and replaced. With what? Well, according to an interview he gave to ABC News late last year, he is a fan of Ben Carson’s idea to enact health savings accounts as an alternative. He also believes that we don’t have to cut Medicare and Social Security, but rather, we need to focus on how to grow the economy. [Source:]

Sanders wants to create a federally administered single-payer health care program, and he wants to pay for it through a combination of taxes, including a “Responsible Estate Tax” levied on the wealthiest top earners in the country. In addition to free healthcare, Sanders also wants to lower the cost of prescription drugs and strengthen and expand Social Security. [Source:]

Yet again, Clinton’s position on healthcare is a bit more measured than her challenger. In terms of social security, she said she will expand and defend Social Security “against Republican attacks” while asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute more. She also pledges to “Fight Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act that would raise costs and limit coverage for seniors; fight back against Republican plans to privatize or ‘phase out’ Medicare as we know it; Drive down drug costs for seniors and other Americans; and expand Social Security benefits for widows and those who took time out of the paid workforce to care for a child or sick family member.” [Source:]

Now that you are better informed, don’t forget to vote.

Education Shaming: Please Stop Reminding Me That I Went To College

February 2nd, 2016 - By Madame Noire
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By Kiara Morgan

After doing something foolish, I often hear, “C’mon on Kiara ! You’re a college graduate.” Most people wouldn’t be bothered by this comment, if it were used in a different context. But the connotation in which it is said displays so much contempt. It’s basically saying, “You’re too smart, to be this dumb.” There have been countless people who have uttered these words to me. Crazy enough, most of the people who have said this to me have not finished college. Yet, they had the audacity to challenge my intellect.

I must admit, I’m not a genius, not by a long shot, but I was smart enough to get a four-year degree–something that not everyone around me has. I don’t go around telling people that I went to college because every time I do, those around me hold me to some ridiculous standard. They even expect me to know things in areas of study I didn’t take up in college.

When I was pursuing my degree, my status was used against me. Often times, when I needed help from others, one cousin in particular would throw it in my face. She would say, “C’mon on. You’re in college; you should know this!” I guess being in college magically made me exempt from needing help from others. Ironically, she studied a similar field in school for two years, so asking her for assistance wasn’t really all that crazy.

After college, when I really just wanted any job to make money, my degree became a dark cloud over my head, like a past mistake or a crime everyone kept reminding me of. I often dreaded family gatherings in fear that they would inquire about my non-existent career. And most of the time, they did question me about it, and I would shamefully admit to my current situation. I got to the point where I avoided these gatherings altogether. My inability to measure up to what college was supposed to make me made me upset.

Initially, I started taking jobs at temporary agencies and during one of the interviews, a male interviewer asked me: “So why do you need this job if you went to college?”

I became nervous. It wasn’t that it never occurred to me that he would ask this question. I guessed that he would. I just felt embarrassed. I didn’t know how to answer him or what lie to make up. I wasn’t a skilled liar and just wanted to tell him the truth :  I needed the money. I had put in countless applications, printed out countless resumes and did a ton of phone interviews — all to no avail. I’ve always had a problem getting jobs. The only reason I got my first job at McDonald’s was because my friend recommended me. Needless to say, I failed that interview.

I often ponder what I was actually taught in college. I learned about pathos and ethos and a few other things in regard to rhetoric, but I still find it hard to write research papers or even understand some research studies. If I could describe college in metaphorical terms I would say I was drowning. I was extremely depressed, isolated from others and struggling to do work. I could never concentrate on what I was reading because my mind was always somewhere else.

So it’s safe to say I don’t need a reminder of the dark days when I questioned if I was an idiot. When I asked myself, “Why wasn’t anything easy for me?” and “Why I couldn’t measure up?” Yes, I went to college and I never want to go back, because I learn things at a slower pace and I hate stressing over grades and writing papers that I don’t understand. I don’t miss the days of staying up late writing English papers about Walt Whitman. Nor do I need the put downs behind my back from cousins saying that I didn’t turn out like they thought I would.

I know I was the first and only person in my immediate family to get a degree. I’m grateful that my grandfather spent some of his fixed income to buy my books and pay some of my loans. I admit that I’m flawed, and at 25 years old I’m still finding myself and it’s not easy due to personal challenges. I take part in hours of self-talk, crying due to constant feelings of doubt and just feeling like I’m a failure. I’m always brainstorming ways to make myself a success to fulfill the image that everyone thought I would be — the image I thought I would be.

As a little girl, I always knew I would go to college. My cousin used to say that I reminded her of Rory from the Gilmore girls because I was planning college before I was in middle school. But life didn’t turn out like I thought it would. I didn’t handle the rejection or being fired from two temporary jobs well. I would question if I could do anything right. It always seemed I was doing things wrong.

But I vowed to myself that I would stop living in other’s people image and stop crumbling like glass when people project their insecurities on me. I can’t carry the weight of other people’s goals on my shoulders. I won’t swallow my pride or bite my tongue when my family makes rude comments. I deserve my humanity and respect, no matter what I do in life. We put so much emphasis on what other people do in life. There are a lot of rich people in this world who are often arrogant and selfish. Yet, the doctors and lawyers in this world are treated better than the most giving people. When we die, the majority of our friends and family will remember the type of person we were. Our titles and professions will not be how we are remembered.

I don’t want a title to define me. So 10 years from now I can’t make any promises about what I will be doing; hopefully I will have a published  book. Maybe I will have started a successful business. What I can promise is that every decision will be my own. I won’t be living in someone else’s shadow. So now, when I do something that is wrong or say something that is disagreeable, I hope that I’m not going to be told, “C’mon on you went to college.” If they say this, I might just say, “And you didn’t.”

Kiara Morgan is a writer, who has been published in Blavity, For Harriet and Adore Colour. Her writing usually shines light on the complexity of African-Americans and the need for proper representation in the media. You can follow her on Facebook or on Twitter.