Your Degree Is Not For You

Your Degree Is Not For You

A finals week wake-up call.

Here's a wake-up call that you didn't expect in the middle of finals week. That degree that you're pursuing? It isn't for you. This incredible video explains why.

Vimeo user Daniel Robinson released this tear-jerker of a video recorded by Christian spoken-word artist Stefan Vandenkooy during the most stressful time of the semester for college kids: finals week.

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As college students, we seem to be competing to see who puts the most espresso shots in their Starbucks drinks, who stays up the latest taking notes over something that we should have read weeks ago, and even who binge-watches the most Netflix during intermittent fits of procrastination.

Vandenkooy's video begs the question, "When did we become so selfish?" We don't respond to each others' "How-are-you"s with "good," instead we respond with "tired," "stressed" or, usually in my case, "dying," because of the tremendous stress under which we place ourselves during this time of the year. We forgo the things that we enjoy to buckle down so that we can pull out great grades and find ourselves on the Dean's List. Once that happens we seek even further gratification by telling all our Facebook friends about what a tough road it was and how proud we are of ourselves for making those grades.

But we aren't the ones hurting. The ones who are truly hurting and in need are the ones who we will be able to help with our degrees--doctors and nurses will be able to lift up patients tortured by maladies and their families who suffer by their sides, business people and politicians will seek to affect change to help those who cannot help themselves, and teachers will fill the minds of children so that they can become the next generation of college graduates.

We focus on the negatives not because we are truly hurting, but because we want to be listened to, to be paid attention, but it's for all the wrong reasons. As college students pursuing degrees, we are not the ones to whom the attention should be paid. We are not the be-all, end-all. That title belongs to our Heavenly Father through whom and by whom and from whom everything we are and everything we do arises.

This video was such an incredible, convicting wake-up call. For me, it finally gave me an answer as to what I want to do with the rest of my life. No, it didn't paint a picture in my mind of where I'll work, how many degrees's I'll have framed on the walls of my office, and if that office is in a corner with my own bathroom or if it's just a cubicle. Instead, it reminded me that I'm incredibly privileged to receive a college education because I can use it to better serve my God.

We're so restless and sleep-deprived because of our laser-like focus on graduating, finding a job, and making money that we forget to seek rest in God and to insert that inner peace into our studies.

The most riveting part of this video for me was when Stefan said, "Your degree is not for you. It is for those who are hurting."

The degree that we receive is not a piece of paper that we can hang on a wall, use as a conversation topic with strangers or just a line item on a resume. Our college degrees should be treated as the key to a door that we will be able to open in order to comfort those who are hurting and help those who cannot help themselves. As finals week approaches you should find peace in God and in the fact that what you're doing is so incredible. We may be sleepy, overly caffeinated, and anxious as all get-out, but through God, we are spiritually awake and we are at peace.

"Your degree is just the door. Your work ethic is the key. But it is only by the grace and the strength of God that you will walk through that door and help whoever may be on the other side."

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The Truth About Education Majors

Spoiler alert, it's not all rainbows and butterflies!

Let me be the first to tell you, our major is not the easiest major. You may think all we do is cut papers and color, but that doesn't even scratch the surface. We are being taught how to teach. Sounds weird right? That's the truth. We aren't mini adults coloring in the library like you all think.

Education majors are responsible for a lot during their first year at the university level. You have to choose the age group you want to teach, early childhood, elementary or secondary. After that, you decide if you want to teach general education or special education. If you choose general education you have to pick a content area to major in. If you choose special education, you have to choose your certification, learning disabilities, cognitive impairment or anything else your school offers. On top of your certification you declare a second major, elementary or secondary education.

When we are in the classroom, we are learning how to teach every content area necessary for our degree and are required to spend countless hours observing. We have standards to learn, requiring hours of lesson planning. This major, and all the work we put in, is nothing close to easy or simple. We take anywhere from four to ten classes a semester, averaging eighteen to twenty one credits. We study for thirty plus hours a week, on top of attending our classes, working, eating and sleeping. There is no free time.


Ask an education major the last time they were able to spend a day without worrying about planning a lesson, studying or going to an observation. Many won't have an answer. We are pushed beyond our limits, but we love it.

I love being an education major. I work my tail off every semester to keep myself on track for graduation. In the end, all the blood, sweat and tears will be worth it. All the late nights cramming the ABC's of Special Education and the Trinity, will always be worth it. After all, we go to school to teach. We could only wish it were as simple as everyone assumes it was.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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It's OK To Enjoy High School, So Do Just That

It is truly all about what you make of it.

Recently, I have seen a lot of articles and posts on social media about how high school sucks and it is the worst four years of your life.

I have seen a lot of kids that have recently graduated talk about how life is so much better after high school, and those four years are just a waste of time.

It almost made me feel guilty of wanting to go back to high school.

I would give almost anything to go back, be careless and just have fun for another four years.

This is for the kids who actually enjoyed or are currently enjoying those four short years. This is for the kids who are making the best of high school.

I, myself, was very involved in school and I had a great relationship with all my teachers. No, I didn’t look forward to going to school every day, but I absolutely loved all my extracurriculars. I loved going to all the sporting events, fundraisers, and school dances. Some of my most fond memories revolve around those events.

It is truly all about what you make of it.
It’s about who you surround yourself with and what you spend your time doing.

Those four years; freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school can really be some of the best years of your life.

I am telling you, soak up every moment of those four years because soon you will be throwing your cap in the air and it will all be over with. Just like that, in the blink of an eye, over.

I am finishing up my freshman year of college and I recently found myself feeling guilty of missing high school because others around me talked about how they hated high school and their lives are so much better now.

Do not get me wrong, my life is amazing now. I am in college, working, and working towards my dream career. BUT, my life was also amazing in high school and that’s okay.

It’s okay to enjoy high school.
It’s okay to make the most of those four years.
It’s okay to live your life to the fullest during high school. That’s what you should be doing.

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Stallings

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