Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge Day 5: E is for Education

E is for Education!!!

We all know how important an education is today. It's a basic necessity...and high school isn't enough...hell, in a lot of professions, a bachelor's degree isn't enough! And I'm not just talking doctors and lawyers. In New York State, teachers need a masters teach any grade...even kindergarten!

I think about my dad. He dropped out of school after 9th grade. This was the 60's, so back then I guess it wasn't so abnormal. His dad had died when he was just a baby, so he needed to get a job and help support himself and his mom. He was the youngest, and at that point, I think his two older siblings had already moved out. But back then, it really wasn't that weird. He got a job, moved on to a better one, then by age 17 I think, he was at the job he would have his entire employed life. (He's turning 60 this year and is still there. Not sure if he plans on retiring in two years when he can start collecting Social Security.) It was a decent job- put food on our plates and heat in our house... Back when he got the job, jobs were just did what they had to and many worked to live....they didn't have jobs they pursued because they enjoyed them.

But today things are different. People generally seek out jobs they enjoy. And it's super competitive. Most careers require years of schooling and even then, a job isn't guaranteed. Employment goes to those with the most education, the best grades, the most experience.

I myself hold only an associate's degree. For my field, Floriculture Merchandising, that's all that was needed back then (mid-90's). And I think it is still sufficient. Maybe a more in depth business degree would help in addition to the floral design, but what I learned in my two years of college is enough to successfully run a floral business. I did it for several years.

But even today, do all careers really need higher education???

Since my college graduation, I have changed careers and often wonder if a degree in creative writing would help me now. It may have helped earlier in my writing journey, when I was struggling with relearning grammar and learning to plot properly and avoid using adverbs! But would it help me further my writing career?? I don't know.


  1. If funds premitted, I would be a life-long student.
    I think the networking opportunity available through creative writing classes would help your career.

  2. I want to be a teacher and am pursung my degree because I too feel that in todays world education is so important. Plus I love to watch kids learn new things!

  3. I don't think an MFA would hurt. I don't know if it would help, either. It's sort of like an MBA -- they only care about it if it's a corporate job, or if there are artificial standards they want to meet.

    Overall, I believe education only dumbs you down to whoever wrote the book. I can say that, though, because I have a Chemical Engineering degree, and have over my career found many contradictions to the stuff I learned in college, and even what I observe as accepted company and industry standards.

    All the more true for writing.

    It's a piece of paper is all.

    - Eric

  4. Eric said it very well. I feel the same way about my engineering degree.

    I often wonder if some fancy college degree in writing would help me as a writer. Overall though, I have a career now, and a family to take care of and spending more money on college isn't in the cards right now.

    Also, your blog layout is SO PRETTY. It's pink and damask and has diamonds and I'm just totally in love with it.

  5. Cheyenne, that is it EXACTLY!!!! I have a family and I have managed to start my writing career without a would it be worthwhile to go back to school?? I don;t even know where I'd find the time, and even if I could, would I want to??? I'd never see my family. And while I do agree with The Sweater Curse about the networking, I think I might be able to find other cheaper ways to network. I just joined a women's social group in my city who is now reading my book for their book club. And I will soon be joining RWA.

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  7. I'm not sure a degree in creative writing counts for much in the publishing world, but I do know of friends who had basically the same job but because of education difference had a big difference in pay. Food for thought there, esp. since I don't have a degree in anything. Eeeps!

  8. I love to learn - always have but I doubt any kind of writing degree is needed to write. I'm not against it wouldn't be worth it in my mind.

  9. I think the only degree you need to write a great story is "life experience" and they don't even teach that in the Ivy Leagues. Don't get me wrong, english and grammer help, but mostly writing is about dediction and determination and you've got both :-)

  10. Thanks Stacey!! That is so true though!! Working hard is the way to succeed in this business!

  11. I still think education is important, but I think it's often not necessary that the degree be specific to one's career. I think obtaining your degree is the thing. Showing that you can accomplish something like that.

  12. Well, as I'm knee-deep in my MFA, you know I'm going to say the writing education is definitely helping me. It's not about grammar and plots and adverbs - I was an English teacher for years and knew all that. It's far more in-depth and subtle than that. I can definitely tell my writing is phenomenally better than it was.

    But it's more than just writing, too. I'm being mentored by some critically acclaimed authors, and now have a huge networking group, an accomplished faculty and student body who can blurb books or help with agents or marketing.

    That said - I don't think you need a writing degree to write. I published my first book long before I started grad school. Most authors don't have writing degrees. For me, it was an avenue to open other opportunities. Maybe someday I'll teach at the college level, or be an editor. Something with a solid paycheck. :)

    In any case, education doesn't have to come with a diploma from a school either. You get plenty of education reading and studying other writers on your own, reading blogs, researching publishing, and just doing it. Don't disregard that as a HUGE education! And it's free! :)