Saturday, October 17, 2009

Women and Education

Ladies, whether you have a degree or not I hope you'll participate in my mini-poll. Men, chime in with your observations about the women in your life.

What part of your post high school education do you use on an everyday basis?

Has your post-secondary education been useful in specific situations? (ex: financially supporting the family, church callings, community or social participation, being an informed consumer, etc.)

Is there anything you wish you would have done differently in regards to post-secondary education?

Thank you for sharing your experiences!


Eldon and Janeil Olsen said...

OK, I'll take your survey.

Specific classes in college were very useful, such as child development, sewing, flower arranging, directing music, dancing, and even psychology.

As a direct result of the flower arranging class, I got a part-time job during college working in a florist shop and I've made a lot of corsages since.

Other classes just helped give me an appreciation for the world around us, such as geology, music appreciation and astronomy.

Then of course classes in my major, got me a job in speech and hearing therapy and I earned enough with that to help hubby through school.

Of greatest worth were the religion classes I took at BYU. I still remember the class on Alma 32 when I felt the spirit teaching me about faith.

darkfire said...

What has gotten you thinking about this?

For me, the part I use most is not any particular part, but a change in the way I think about the world. I felt like it stretched my mind so I could think in different ways...especially things like calculus. It was like my trip to Europe - you never think about how your windows open or if they could open another way, until you see it done, and once you've seen it you never forget that it is a possibility. So I think it changes your mind, even if you don't remember the facts.
One of the greatest benefits it has given me is confidence. I can think of myself as being smart even though I don't hold a job or still go to school. And when things get tough with my daughter I think "I can do this. I have to be able to work through this. I have been through so many tougher things. (And I got A's in many of them)" or I think, "We shouldn't be having a power struggle right now. I am the adult here. I just have to focus." Also, where I live, I must admit there are an abundance of talented, smart, and beautiful women in my ward who I admire. It is hard not to feel inferior at times.

Like Grandma said, certain classes prove particularly helpful. For me, I refer back to my human biology and anatomy and physiology class a lot. It helps a lot when people get sick or injured to know when they just need rest and when to see the doctor. I also love the nutrition part of helps me every time I open the fridge. I know the exact mechanics of how that chocolate bar is going to find its way onto my hips and the approximate amount of time it will take for the caffeine to go through my breast milk and keep the baby up.
Of course, my post secondary education is still going. Right now I am thick into economics and it is changing the way I think about everything from political policy to my breakfast cereal. It has been an extremely interesting subject.
As for what I would have done differently, it would have been much easier if I wasn't going back now with two kids and a husband in law school. However, the thing I would have changed was to go back and finish, and I am working on that now. The life experience has helped me to finally sort out more what direction I want to go in, and I think has made me more serious about school. Other students' cares about cell phones and boys and hair styles seem silly now. I guess I don't have to waste part of my educational time going out on dates since I'm already spoken for!
I suppose I also use what I learned from my amazing speech teacher every time I am asked to give a talk. Even though I don't like it, I know I can do it. She always said to never use the "n" word (nervous), that it was just excitement. :>
So, to sum it up, self confidence, identity and worth, self respect, and broader thinking or thoughtfulness.

Theoretical Nonsense said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil said...

I think learning how to learn is very useful.
I don't see Pam using microbiology, or Spanish, etc on a regular basis, but she is comfortable with difficulty situations and confident around others.

Gail said...

Everyday - nothing.
Often - trying to look at things from different angles instead of just what peers or people in charge think. That might be my Dad's "fault" however. Whenever I touted some interesting piece of info I learned that I thought impressive, he'd say, "Who says so?" Meaning, saying so doesn't make it so (or right), and the credentials and honor of the person saying so, matters.
My hiring rate of pay was effected by my college degree, as has retaining that Lane in in tougher times.
Done differently? Started paying for it myself sooner (got better grades). :)

Eldon and Janeil Olsen said...

I agree with Gail on what I would have done differently. Having our folks pay for the whole thing was not a good idea. And the grades weren't good at times. Although once I got fed up with the roommate scene and started staying on campus studying in the evening, they went up to a 4.!
Also in retrospect I would have majored in library science. Did BYU offer that in those days?

Ken said...

It is sad that in a lot of situations, you need a "degree" to get in the door, while it has little to say about what type of person you are or what skills you actually posses.

My father-in-law Smitty tells a wonderful story about going to watch his wife's college graduation practice. The punch line is something to the effect, "I may not have had a college education, but at least I was smart enough to not be standing out there in the rain". He is, by the way, one of the smartest men I know, ranking right up there with my PhD father.

I enjoyed my first college experiences in my thirties, having joined the Navy strait out of high school specifically to avoid college. I was too set in my ways by then to benefit much from it. I think that what I learned from my family while growing up probably shaped me more than any hard knock or class room did.

I do, however, sometime find myself "standing in the rain" from time to time.

sheryl said...

I don't regret any of the time or money I spent on earning a bachelors degree. It benefitted me only short-term financially because it got me the CH2M Hill job that supported me during college and for six months after college until Jessica was born.

For me it was a character building experience; learning how to complete big projects within a time schedule, learning how to work with others to complete big projects, learning how to consume large quantities of information to identify the essential elements and then learning how to write papers to that effect. Also learning how to organize my time, space, and money when those were very limited resources.

How do those things help me today? I learned to tackle challenging assignments (like church callings and motherhood) and not give up, but see things through dispite challenges. I've used some of that knowledge in tutoring my own kids and helping in the elementary/middle school classrooms and with scouts. Probably more important than being an informed consumer is being an informed citizen. College helps you learn to think and question instead of accepting the status quo.

I wouldn't have done anything differently. I'm proud of the fact that I paid for school myself, went straight through, and most of all that I finished. I'm not planning on working except teaching piano, which I love because I can work it around my kids' needs and do it at home.

Jessica's career plans keep changing, but her desire to go to college is certain. I hope she can find balance with career and family if she does choose to work. I know college will a life-changing experience for her as it was for me.

brenda said...

I started writing a comment and realized I needed to write a post. So I'll refer you to my blog (in the next day or two). But the short answer is yes, I use my knowledge and learning from those years every day.

My regrets are that I didn't take advantage of many opportunities outside the classroom. If I had it to do over, I would attend more free lectures, join clubs, and go to more international movies. I spent too much free time watching the Simpsons and eating cookie dough.

Still, I was watching Simpsons and eating cookie dough with people who went on to become lawyers and teachers. I wouldn't trade those years of learning (in and out of the classroom) for anything.

That doesn't mean I think everyone has to go to college. I just think nobody who did go regrets it.

brenda said...

Wow. I just read everyone's comments and it sounds like just about everyone could do a blog post on this subject. Great job getting us thinking, Polly.

Although, I hope that if Jeff does post on this he can maintain a higher tone of respect for his wife, my niece and your daughter. Jeff, if you read this, I'll give you some free advice from my area of expertise. When writing, first, know your audience. Second, it's "a lot," unless you're referring to the act of making an allotment.
(You're welcome.)

Anonymous said...

I think Velvet is glad she got a degree. She was very involved in being an Residential Advisor in the dorms and worked for the foundation to try to take out as little debt as possible. I'll to talk her into commenting, I don't want to mis-represent her. -Carl

Anonymous said...

Getting an education is an essential part of everyone's life (male or female.) In receiving one men and women become better refined, they are able to lead more structured lives, and can better assist those around them.

President Hinckley gave the counsel, "To the women of the Church he says that education 'is the latchkey to success in life.'"

By receiving an education women become better prepared to raise their family, take care of their home, and support their husband. Women become better prepared to assist those in their community and hold callings. It gives an added sense of accomplishment as well as refinement and to this confidence. In receiving an education women also become prepared to be the main source of income encase of divorce, economy, or constant illness that otherwise prevents the husband from doing so.

However, President McKay said, “no other success can compensate for failure in the home.” I do not expect, nor do I believe, that my education now will ever be my greatest achievement. I leave that to my children, to my husband (for even Sister Monson is known as the back-bone to President Monson's success), and to those whose lives I am able to enhance.

velvetelement said...

Believe it or not Carl and I have discussed this a couple of times, about how we want to influence the girls as they get older. Growing up I felt I had no other choice than to go to college . My Dad especially crammed that idea into us. I had a great time there and I learned a lot of life lessons but I don't know if I am any better off for choosing college instead of a trade school or something else and I now owe a lot of money for it.

I would agree with Gail that a few of my jobs have paid a little more because of my degree but not too much more. Some jobs I have had it didn't matter whether I had a degree or not.

To be completely honest I don't remember a lot of the things I was taught in college, especially the classes I took because it was required and I wasn't really interested in them. I would also have to say I don't feel any more intelligent than some people I know who didn't finish college but are great self-learners. Look at the Bill Gates of the world.

As for what someone else commented on. I feel I can keep up in any conversation I have with Carl even though he has an advanced degree and I only have my Bachelors. We continue learning all throughout our lives whether it be reading books or news articles, watching documentaries, history channel shows, National Geographic specials, etc. (this is my favorite form of continuous learning-and the library has a lot of them).

This is what I know, I am glad for my college experience and so is Carl but we have decided that we will support the girls in what ever they decide to do as long they do something. If they want to go to college we will support them, if say, Grace continues to love art and decides to pursue that we will support her, etc. As long as they are dedicated and do something with their life than I think that is the most important thing I can expect of them and I would never think less of anyone because they decided to do something other than college.

I am also not saying I think they should sit around and wait to be a stay at home mom. As Emily said a woman needs to be able to support herself or her family if some sort of trouble should arise and we want our girls to be prepared. I just don't think college is the only option.

I have quite a few friends who do really well and are very intelligent without a college degree. I know a chef, electrician, artist, etc. I hope I am not giving a negative impression of college, but as I said before, I don't think it is the only option.

Gail said...

You added some good insight, Velvet. Not a good idea to just expect children to do what parents did, or do what parents want them to do but didn't get to do themselves. Best to motivate them to work, develop talents, dream and excel, none of which has anything to do with college per se.