Getting a PhD has had some interesting social ramifications. Some fab, some.. drab. #myrhymesareacrime
In many ways, getting my PhD has freed me to be much less guarded in what and how I communicate – especially to snobbish strangers. When I was majoring in psychology in undergrad, it was way more likely that I would be dismissed as another vapid college student who thought that her Psyc 101 course qualified her to give sage mental health advice to friends and family. So, I tended to be the quiet one who would wait until I had a read on people before I participated in whatever convo was going on. When I did participate, it was usually some rando sarcastic comment. People usually conveyed a sense of amazement when they found out I had some brainz. Now, I am free to make an idiot of myself by loudly saying whatever makes me lolz. I know that even if I’m being a cotton-headed ninny muggin, people will think “Well, she has her PhD, so she has to be smart…” and give me the benefit of the doubt. So that in of itself has made the last 6 years worth it 😉
BUT in different contexts, or at least with some people, getting my PhD has set up this expectation for me to have deep and well-developed thoughts on every aspect of the brain, anything remotely related to life-sciences, theology, politics, organic farming, and T-Swizzy’s latest attention-whoring bout of drama. People will say, “Hey, you have a PhD. What do you think?” Usually I haven’t thought about it at all, so I try to nod slowly, stare out in the distance, and say something vague, like “Well, I think both sides have merit, but I have heard some convincing criticisms of each position, too. It’s certainly a complex issue.” Then I smile winningly and change the subject.
I s’pose the point of this post is two-fold. One, although I appreciate people giving me the benefit of the doubt now, it annoys me that some of these same people would probably completely dismiss me if I had gone on to be a .. Idk, palm reader. Rando example, but my point is— it’s not really fair for people that don’t have their degree to have this undue burden to prove their intellectual worth. Just because someone is being silly at a party or dropped out of high school doesn’t mean they’re an uninformed buffoon.
Two, just because someone wrote their dissertation on the astrophysical epistemology of the Ornithorhynchus anatinus and never confuses “your” and “you’re” does not mean they have something meaningful to say about the science of climate change, or have great insight into international affairs.
KNOW WHAT I MEAN, GREEN BEAN?!
So.. yah. PhDs aren’t ignoramuses, but they’re not necessarily brilliant. They’re just people who chose to geek out on a subject for a few years. And uneducated folk may not be be brilliant, but they’re not necessarily ignoramuses. They’re just people who may not have had the opportunity or necessary masochism* to go into 20+th grades.
So.. yah yah yah — evaluate ideers for their own merit, and don’t be snobby.
— EDITORIAL NOTE —
*I mean this in the general use, DON’T BE A PERVO!
— ALSO — This post has some similar ideas to this other brilliantly written, amazing post.