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The Ethics of getting an undergraduate degree


I never doubted that I would eventually get a college degree even if I had to go into debt to do so. It was one of those rites of passage that I had set as a goal for myself early in life. The primary admonition given to me by my father about obtaining a degree was to keep in mind that you don’t get a degree in order to find a job. This bit of wisdom (and it is wisdom) flies in the face of the idea of rational progress. But it remains a liberal arts truism as most any entrepreneur with a college degree can attest.

I will end up with a Bachelor of Science which is a compromise I made in order to graduate in a reasonable amount of time, given that I dropped the academic ball about four years in. I am now a fifth year senior and my senior year is what my fourth year was not – academically sound. I have been on the Deans List and plan to be on it again this semester. But obtaining a degree that allowed me to think for myself was important enough that when I saw the opportunity embodied in interdisciplinary studies I had to go for it.

I had to make a decision about the summer semester that  ended up being a choice between two classes. Introductory Ethics or Religion and Politics. It was a challenging choice. I know that not all my readers are American and if you pay any attention at all to our politics, you may, like me, have thought now is as good a time as any to take a class on the latter. But with so much drama about American politics in general, I elected to go with ethics if for no other reason than so many people and many Americans are pissed about politics because of the supposed absence of ethics. That said, the religion and politics is an interdisciplinary course in keeping with my major and my real concern about not taking it was that I would miss out on sound knowledge about how religious groups behave in political situations.

The fact is I can most likely afford to buy the textbook for the Religion and Politics class and read it toward the end of the summer on my own time. The professor of this class may even be available to answer a few questions should I have any. But wrestling with the question of what class to take has made me aware of just how practical ethics really is. I initially signed up for it because I thought it would be the right choice if I end up back in a Spa environment in a Resort or Hotel setting. But having a penchant for a Romantic literary view of the world as I do, corporatism often becomes a point of departure into unknown territory and if you aren’t paying attention, a set up for someone else’s ideological platform whose ideas don’t necessarily mesh with your own. I am hoping that a course in ethics will approach the subject of corporatism in a way that will allow me to find new resources to seek out in answering my questions about why’s of corporatism. To be blatantly honest, I don’t expect anything other than the traditional capitalist narrative to be covered in the class, if it’s covered at all. I fully expect to encounter things like abortion, gun control, the death penalty and ‘social issues’.  It’s the categorizing of economics as a social issue that is at the root of my reasons for taking the class.

Economics is defined as a social issue in some poltical discourse. I tend to think of it in classical terms that fall under the broad brush of liberalism but many conservatives balk at this suggestion. The case is then made for all the reasons why Roosevelt was a traitor to his class, how liberalism is a social evil and everything smacking of liberalism is torn asunder in their quest to root out the evils of the twentieth century in the name of restoring a golden age that has passed my generation by. Education has become a conspiracy theory in its own right in the past fifteen years and I don’t expect that to change. Understanding this conflation of influences is why the idea of a class on politics and religion appealed to me. To be honest, when I google ‘interdisciplinary jobs’ I came up with a number of jobs related to government in one way or another. That was actually heartening because it showed me that there is an avenue beyond corporate spas where my degree would be useful. I have voted Republican in the past two elections and I am keenly aware that voting Republican this time may under cut my dreams of being self-sufficient if the only other alternative route to being self-sufficient that I can find is working for the government. Romney has recently let it slip that he is giddy about the prospect of cutting the size of the Federal Government. Not that the popular vote matters in American elections because ultimately, the people don’t elect the President, the electoral college does but I digress.

I also found out that according to the new rules for Federal Pell Grants that I will reach my lifetime limit this summer. This means that I will have to come up with the difference for the fall semester before I graduate. I am not upset about it. I made it thru massage school and five years of undergraduate classes thanks to Pell Grants and for that I am grateful. I hope to start knocking out my student loans as soon as humanly possible after graduation and I am definitely interested in the Master’s program in Integrative Health that my University will be offering in the fall of 2013. I believe that the master’s program could be completed in one year and if it does turn out that Health Care is the next Bubble that may soon pop, a master’s degree in Integrative Health may turn out to be very meaningful.  But for now, I still have a paper that is due in three weeks, a certification test to take, and this semester to finish. Onward and Upward!

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