I don't often get upset when people think I'm stupid. That's okay. As a matter of fact, I've gotten too good at acting like I don't know things. (there are so many directions I could go with just those two sentences.)

I realized the other day after someone accused me of being, well stupid and not doing my due diligence when writing an article that perhaps I've taken it a bit too far.

The person said, "Who's your Alma mater?" Dumbfounded that I was really being asked, and not sure what the point was, I said, "I don't have one."

Cut me some slack, I graduated from a private college in 1987 and never needed an alibi for those years before, so hey, it honestly slipped my mind!

The person asking might have been born that year, I'm not sure.

Then I was regaled with all the degrees this person had.

So I figure it's time to point out a few details.

First, you don't need a degree to be a success at what you do.

Second, a show of hands of everyone with a degree and are working in a field that they don't have a degree in.

Third, class outranks a college degree every time.

Let me tell you what I've done without a degree.

I became a mom. Sure most women can have a baby, but that doesn't make you a mom.

Now, tell me please, what job do you know that hands you a 24/7 responsibility that lasts the rest of your life and oh, you don't get paid for it? What job carries more responsibility than anything else in the world?

Raising children.

In a poem by William Ross he said: "The hand that rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world." It's praise for women and what they do as mothers.

Then because of my experience at a private school and my husband's at a public school, we decided to homeschool our kids. I say "we" but it was I that did that.

And yes, I did it all without a degree in teaching.

I figured when the first one graduated with the same score on her SAT as the kid with a 4.0 at the high school, that I must be doing something right. So far we have a midwife, financial investment, jailer, store manager, a stay at home mom and one deciding what she wants to be after she graduates.

Let's see.

For years, to supplement our income I was an "administrative assistant", with no degree, when computers were just starting to come into being an office fixture. When you learned to type out a lengthy code to simply type a letter, you must not be too ignorant to know how to do that. Yep, no degree.

I don't have a music degree either but have been the church tambourine-ist, organist, pianist and bassist for the last, yikes 40 years.

My theory on learning to play was, why take lessons if you don't need to? So far I can think of a handful of times that I needed sheet music.

Let's talk ad design.

I know you can go to college for someone to show you how to do that, by why? I learned how to design ads by watching co-workers. (Thanks Vicky and Mary) nope, no graphic art designing degree for that either.

Now the past few months I've been loading 2 websites with the ads that I designed without a degree and articles I wrote without a degree so that people with or without a degree can read them.

Oh, and my latest, I'm now a journalist.

My education?

Watching journalists, who TAUGHT journalism report that there was a shooter loose in town a few years ago, when there wasn't.

Now not having been to her college class, maybe there's a reason she did that, I'm not sure, but on this website, the consensus was that we'd try really hard to report just the facts ma'am, just the facts.

Watching other "journalist" who no doubt had that degree, pounding on the door of an ambulance wanting an interview with the 80 year old couple inside having trouble breathing from smoke inhalation, was from my "Are you KIDDING me?" journalism class.

My favorite part of journalism has been the weather reporting. From the "How to report on the weather" journalism class, I study the guys on TV telling us as they are tied to a railing in hurricane weather that, it's windy. Or when they stand outside in below zero weather to tell us that it's cold. Or best of all when they stand out in the snow or report on the bad roads while driving down them to tell people not to drive.

My best education has been the seat right next to one of the best journalists that I think I've ever known in the business. I learned from him what needs to be covered, how to cover it and how to handle a multitude of situations.

This guy won awards and was well respected. He did it all without chasing ambulances. And sometimes he made people mad about editorials that he wrote.

I learned how to not always worry about being the first to report a story but to be sympathetic when you need to be and to wait.

I learned how to not dramatize an event but to do your best to calm people if you can.

I also learned that sometimes all you can do is simply tell people's stories.

I learned all of that from a guy that's been doing this job for almost 30 years.

Guess what. He did all of that without a degree.

Another guy that did the job without a degree in journalism, Mike Royko look him up.


In the online business, I've learned compassion.

Most importantly, I've learned to use this platform to build up the best parts of Vinton.

Now, will I always get everything right, that's the idea.

Will I deliberately make you think something you shouldn't, of course not!

Am I learning on the job, you bet.

I'm not saying DON'T get a degree, for heaven's sake if you want to be a doctor, I won't stop in if you DON'T have a degree!

If you are lucky enough to be using your degree to do what you love, do it.

For the folks that have no degree or you have never stepped foot into a college, you're in the majority, our world would be a sad place without you.

The idea that you have to spend thousands of dollars on a piece of paper that says you know something, is when you think about it, ridiculous. Whatever happened to apprenticeships?

Ignore the general wisdom that you MUST attend college to do what you love. If you can make a living at it, you've already got the necessary paper that says you're smart, it's called a paycheck.

The majority of what I've learned at a desk was an exercise in book work. Did I use it in life, a little. Did I use it for anything that I listed above, not a lot, as a matter of fact hardly at all.

So, to the folks out there with enough degrees to put the letters together and write a book, good for you.

The rest of us will just be doing what we do. For me that means, writing until I get bored with it and decide I would rather do something else.

If you are like me, and you're doing a job that you enjoy, one that may have fallen in your lap and you don't have the necessary letters to make you "official", don't worry about it.

Do the job. If you mess up, relax, so do people with degrees.

The difference is, those with degrees are just too smart to not know it.



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