Get Up, You Privileged SOBs: A Call to Arms

8 Sep

Seriously, I calculated it.

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’re well-educated.  I’m also betting that, as one of our readers, you may have questioned the meaning of your education, or at least witnessed some of our own struggles with elitism.  “Whoa,” you may have thought, “I went to a prohibitively expensive private school that’s highly ranked on U.S. News and World Report.  According to my calculations, that must make me smarter than the average early-20-something bear!  (Or maybe that’s something I tell my parents to justify their much emptier bank account.)  Regardless, how should I feel about this privileged elitism, and more importantly, what should I do with my top-notch education?”  Or maybe I’m the only one thinking this, and I’m about to project a whole lot of inner turmoil onto our friends, family, and unsuspecting strangers who’ve stumbled upon this site looking for proper career advice.

We live in a country where higher education is still very much a dream for millions of people.  Hell, we live in a country where finishing high school poses a challenge to many students, and if they do, they may not be reading a functional level.  Let us not then, dear readers, consider ourselves privileged, but lucky that we were born into zip codes that had good school systems, and into families who had the time and resources to cultivate us into good students.

I don’t need to tell you the value and the importance of a good education.  I don’t need to tell you the phenomenal career you can have, or the fat paycheck you can earn.  But, have you considered what life is like without a basic education?  I’m not talking about knowing why we have Columbus Day, or who shot President Lincoln.  I’m talking about skills that give you the ability to read and understand mortgage applications, road signs, or warning labels on prescriptions.  Those same reading, comprehension, and analytical skills you get from school, which allow people to get a job, hold a job, and succeed in that job.  The skills that you and I have, and take for granted.

23% of America's homeless are children. That's messed up.

Here’s my point, however sanctimonious it may be: it’s time to stop feeling bad about the fact that we were allowed to receive fantastic educations, and it’s time to put them to use.  Good use.

For those of you who feel guilty about your randomly bestowed elitism, there is only one solution: get off your ass, embrace your education, and leverage it to abolish the notion of “privileges” by making your lifestyle and education a reality for everyone.  The issues of illiteracy, poverty, unemployment, homelessness and countless more are going to be solved, for the most part, by people who hold post-secondary degrees.  The revolution will be televised Youtubed, and it’ll be carried out by bookish, idealistic post-grads like us.

So postpone Wall Street for a couple years.  Join AmeriCorps.  Be an advocate.  Volunteer.  Get down and dirty.    Realize that your work, from legislative reform to clerical drudgery, impacts your chosen mission in a big, big way.  And you should do this work, because only a few people can.  There are so many people who are counting on that big, fat, sexy brain of yours, so don’t disappoint them.


2 Responses to “Get Up, You Privileged SOBs: A Call to Arms”

  1. Ryan K. September 9, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    “There are so many people who are counting on that big, fat, sexy brain of yours, so don’t disappoint them.” My favorite line.

    I still think that a good liberal artist can do good on wall street. Not everyone needs to do peace corps to make good on idealism. The key is finding out how to do good and solve big problems wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.


  1. “We’ve Got Time to Help” « - September 12, 2010

    […] Sep I’m a huge advocate of volunteering, as I’ve discussed here and here.  I stumbled across an Oregon-based organization, We’ve Got Time to Help, whose members are […]

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