Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Piece of paper"

We've all heard people say this in regards to two things really: degrees and marriage. Some of you have said it yourself. I'm going to tell you why these words piss me the hell off.

"Piece of paper": Degree.

So often people attempt to belittle degrees as pieces of paper. They throw around names like Bill Gates, who dropped out of college or Mark Z or whoever. There is a major flaw in this logic................................you are not Bill Gates. I know, it seems almost mundane to mention but I think people need that wake up call. Gates is one of the most brilliant minds in the world, chances are you are not. He also has a great respect for education, hence why he pays for thousands of students to attend university. For those of you who don't know, which if you've ever mentioned him during this "piece of paper" debate you probably don't know...Gates himself mentioned how it was timing that caused him to drop out of school. A huge part of success is your market entry point and he knew to be successful and ride that impending dotcom bubble he had to act at that moment, tis why he left Harvard to start his company. Oh yea, not to mention he was at Harvard to begin with so that says a lot in itself...and his parents were very well off so these are all reasons he differs from the average person and is not good for this argument.

Now that we understand why Bill Gates isn't a good argument for this "piece of paper" debate, let's talk about this piece of paper. My (as is everyone else's) piece of paper is a representation of what's in my brain. Could I have mastered chemical engineering without studying it in school? Maybe, books are available to everyone. The likelihood that someone without a chemical engineering degree (or 100 years of experience) is more versed in chemical engineering than me? Slim to none. That's the point of this "piece of paper". It proves to anyone upon glancing that one knows more in a certain subject than the layman. It's the reason you go to a licensed doctor for surgery instead of yo patna' nem. Because of that piece of paper you trust a (wo)man you've probably never met to cut you open. So yes, I hang my piece of paper in an expensive frame in my dining room because I worked 4.5 long years for the knowledge that that paper represents.

This is not to say a degree is the only way to success or that money is success. However, in this day and age a degree greatly increases your chances of feeding yourself. Our children will have it even worse so don't downplay education for them...what was once considered a luxury will be a necessity for survival for the next generation. I measure success in a lot of ways...family, spiritual life, the good you've done for the world, monetarily is last. Statistics even lean toward people with degrees having a higher marriage rate...which makes sense because college is a great place to meet a potential mate. I know dozens of newlyweds or newly engaged classmates. It appears that piece of paper could be helpful in more ways than one in life.

"Piece of paper": Marriage.

I've heard people say they don't need that "piece of paper" or "piece of jewelry" to know they are loved or whatever. I think this is something people say to make themselves feel better. It's usually only women that say it too...well that say it publically, probably because their boyfriends have told them that privately ha! Now, I'm not married so I'm speaking as an outsider but it seems utterly disrespectful to the institute of marriage to reduce it to a piece of paper or a piece of jewelry. If you are religious, or at least believe in a god you know that marriage is more than a piece of paper. It's a uniting before God...one soul, inhabiting two bodies. In most religious dominations it's one of the single most important things you can do...besides having faith. Marriage allows you to reproduce favorably in God's eyes, it allows you to multiple your love and travel through this life sharing God with another person.

If you're not religious, in this country being married offers you a lot of advantages and responsibilities. In the eyes of the law, you literally become one...all your assets merge, even if you don't put the other's name on your bank account if push came to shove they can still access it because they're your spouse. You are giving a person full rights to your estate and your last breath if it comes to it. Not to mention, fiscally marriage makes sense. One rent/mortgage, one insurance, one set of bills, etc. My boyfriend and I live together and it's much more expensive for us both to pay separate health insurance than it would be to have a family plan. There are all types of other little discounts I'm probably unaware of that come with being married, haha.  That piece of paper might save you some paper!

Lastly, for the pure vanity of the situation. Even wild animals like to mark their territory, we have those same urges (minus the piss please). I've heard stories of atheists saying once they were married, it "just felt different" than when they were dating. There's something truly special about confessing before your friends, family and the world that you want to be with another person for the rest of your life. It garners respect kinda in the same way I mentioned having a baby does. I'm a young person in the professional world so no one expects for me to be married (which I'm not), but I know how tones change around people that are. Older people find it pleasantly surprising and a camaraderie is born. There's something vulnerable about a man giving a woman access to his checkbook and monogamy, women like that. Don't fool yourself into thinking it's just a piece of paper because you know it means more.

These two things aren't all life is about, I hope that's not how this post came across. They are however, important parts of life and should not be minimized to just a "piece of paper".


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