Let me begin by saying, I all for an educated brown girl with letters behind her name. I’m both impressed and extremely proud when I learned a brown girl graduated with honors. I would love to pretend I graduated with honors, but that would be a lie both my bachelor and graduate degree left me with a 3.47; I tell people 3.5 because it makes me feel better. God bless the human who decided the rules to rounding up. Anyway, I have come to discover there is a misconception floating around that formal education is somehow a ticket to respect and financial freedom. Ha! It’s not.
It wasn’t until after graduating with my master’s degree that I realized that some of my peers thought degrees would open the door to respect. To clarify, this lack of respect is not limited to white folks, but it is more pervasive, at least in my experience.
I could list countless examples to prove this notion that degrees won’t get you respect. But arguing mute points isn’t my ministry. I’m confident in this assertion race, creed, or religion aside. Because I am so giving, I want to share with you ways that you can get respect, degrees and gpas aside.
Let me share some things that will get you some respect:
- Having a strong worth ethic
- Giving your very best in all that you do
- Being on time (this includes deadlines)
- Being prepared for any work meetings
- Keeping your word
- Stay away from gossip (especially at work)
- Share helpful information
- Show some respect (within reason; don’t be a pushover)
- Show some confidence (stop doubting yourself)
Of course, there are people that no matter what you do will refuse to give you the light of day because of racism, sexism and the like, but you can’t be worried about them, always.
If you want letters behind your name, get them. Don’t let anyone dim your desires to pursue higher education. Sit in those ivory towers and bask in your future lettered glory, there was a time we had to fight for admission. Walk around that campus with pride in your step and a smile of assurance on your face.
But please, enroll because a higher education is what you want, not because you think it will encourage people to treat you differently. Unfortunately, it won’t.