Educated By Our Choices
Article written by: Mac-Z Zurawski
As the big “40” approaches I continuously get waves of emotions over my past life choices. A million things I should have done… thoughts and questions throughout the past year. When I ponder upon my education I really have many more questions. When I entered my M.A. program I wondered, what will this education do for me? Will I finally get my dream job of teaching college courses in Political Science and Sociology? Will an epiphany overcome me when reading a textbook on a new theoretical approach? Or will any of this happen at all?
Well, it’s been a little over two years since graduating with my beloved M.A. in Political and Justice Studies and I’m still pounding the pavement for that “better” career. A few interviews and trainings have taught me a world of first-hand knowledge. However, my first step on the moon has not occurred. Has it all been in vain? There are probably close to 1 million Americans asking themselves that every day. Many people have rushed back to school since the inevitable “great recession”. Enrollment flourished with over 37 million people returning to school by 2010 (IES.com). At the same time unemployment has also flourished staying around the median of 8% (BLS.com). One door closes, another opens?
I may not have lost my job but I did lose my security in my profession. Being part of a union, I have felt the heat of anti-unionism closer to my skin than ever before. Several friends and family said they felt the heat of technological innovations changing their positions. As the country has changed so have our perspectives about education. Many people claim we are in an “education bubble”. It seems a very negative phrase for the wonderful enlightenment we now share on a wider level with each other. Conversations have changed from talking about television shows to Hunger Walks that can spread not only food, but also social justice. People are forming a greater awareness of their government, neighborhoods, neighbors, environment and family structure more than ever before. We are becoming more civic minded as we share our newly attained knowledge. We have theories not just thoughts. We have discussions on LinkedIn, not coffeehouse gossip. We have bitten the bullet and taken on the behemoth responsibilities of educating ourselves as protective shields against unemployment now and later. Pursuing further education has not been an easy choice for many. We change with our world. Our world is not a bubble, rather, it’s a surging ocean current full of ideas that continuously branches into the rivers and lakes we call society.
No, I can’t say that that the current has been easy to manipulate without drowning in doubt. I, along with my fellow Americans, have not seen my “career dream” come true. However, I have seen my dream of unbridled education taking over our society. Yes, we can have the best of both worlds through education. We can continue to change while sharing adult art lessons with political science theory to create non-profit organizations to serve communities like Project Orange- Detroit, Demolition, Disneyland and many more.
Should I have gone back to school for a degree that I’m using in non-employment professional ventures? Yes. I hope that my neighbors will continue to do so as well. The more we learn, the more we change and give back to society as a whole.
Mac-Z Zurawski is an adult educator in Political Science (M.A. and B.A.), sociology and justice studies. Her active goals are to bridge the gap between dreams and reality for her students, neighbors and nation through education.