I always down played the fact that I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology. And only recently have been able to admit why. I worked in the counseling field for 3 years before the unit I worked on shut down and I transferred over to PNNL. To be honest, I was already feeling that typical counselor burnout after 2 years so the move was sort of welcome.
Feeling like the burnout meant maybe I chose the wrong field coupled with coming to work at a national lab like PNNL, I began to downplay the importance of my degree. When people asked about my college background I would laugh and say, "Psychology, not like it matters out here. " I said this more out of fear of judgment that others were wondering what I was doing with a Psych degree at a national lab and why I may not be in the field anymore. Also, I know more people without degrees than with, so I felt downplaying it made me safer and more relatable so they wouldn't think I felt any superiority. But in doing this, I not only weakened their view of myself, my intelligence, and education, but my own. Disregarding everything I learned and went through to obtain my degree to avoid judgment or to make others feel good was not true to what I felt. I really was proud, but afraid to show it. Over time this way of being starts to brainwash and steal your confidence. Which is not good for you or those around you. I have a lot of knowledge and life experience to offer the world from the last decade of my life, including my college education, and I was devaluing that and myself.
Over the past 3 years, I have settled into my position at PNNL and thought about what I've learned from this job versus what I learned from college and my 3 years as a counselor. What I realized is, the lessons and experiences from my early 20's have been far more valuable than I ever gave them credit for and I strongly regret any downplaying or devaluing I did. I am proud of my decision attend college and obtain a degree in something I felt passionate about and to serve in the way I was able. In addition to my education, I learned so much about myself, life, people, research, decision making, and other ways of being and will never devalue that again. It is a lie for me to do so. I think my education is one the greatest investments I ever made and I do not regret it. I would do it again if I had do it over. I still have that passion for Psychology and learning and I intend to celebrate it now.
In life we all take a different a path. No one way is the only or right way. For some that might mean getting a job out of high school. For another getting married and starting a family. To devalue our choices and ourselves out of fear of judgment or making others feel less is wrong. Be proud of who you are and the life path you took. Yes, we might make mistakes along the way, but often that is where the greatest lessons lie. If others can't handle who you are or the path you chose it's more about them than you. Pray for them and gently guide them. Sometimes people don't know there are all these choices out there waiting for them and they can do it, too.
So be proud. Share you experience and knowledge. And never let others inadequacies make you feel like you need to protect them. There is a difference between an arrogant pride and a confident pride. Shrinking yourself down smaller never made anyone else get bigger.