The World Is My Oyster: I’m allergic to shellfish!

Six years ago, I stood proudly with the class of 2007 and accepted my college diploma. An endeavor began at the age of 18, finally finished at age 34. That diploma was my key to success. The world was my oyster. I was ready to carve out not only a life for myself, but a legacy for my children.

The process of GETTING my bachelor’s degree, alone, was a lesson in endurance. It did not come easy. Nothing in life worth having seldom does. Or, so I am told. I hope my children were watching. I hope they saw me struggle, persevere, and ultimately reach my goal. Above all, I hope, it instilled in them, the importance of getting a college education.

If the world is my oyster, then I am allergic to shellfish. Diploma in hand, the struggle did not end. We are lead to believe, or rather, mislead to believe, that a good education will solve all of life’s problems. It does not. In fact, it can create all new ones. I wonder, sometimes, if I hadn’t been better off, just staying the course. Was my education, in fact, my selfish indulgence? I am not any better off now than I was before. What did I gain from it? The experience of having gone to college. An insurmountable debt. A beautifully framed, very expensive, piece of paper with my name written in calligraphy.

That is the legacy I’ll leave for my children. That is not what I had in mind when I went back to college. I hope they know that.

– J. Ela


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