When working recently with an older college student, I was surprised at the negative messages they received from people in authority positions at their college campus. The student was almost thirty, and was being dissuaded from taking a course as anything but an auditor and was told to consider a different career path from her teacher.
When the student told me this, I said: this could go two ways; either I will LOVE your teacher for empowering you with needed information or I will be VERY disappointed with her for disempowering you and placing limitations on you as a person of color and non-traditional student. Do you feel empowered by this information or do you feel she is trying to limit you or is putting you in a box?
The student shared that they felt empowered with that information and that they felt that it was accurate. But I thought to myself, can we ever be sure?
When students are discouraged from continuing their education or are told to audit when really their time is valuable and they really cannot afford to audit, I show them job postings, drawing their attention to how requirements usually are based on education and different jobs would be closed to them in the future if they do not continue. We are mistaken if we as privileged people do not think that our education has helped us and when we bemoan our degree(s) in the humanities. We can apply to so many more jobs because of our undergraduate or graduate work, regardless of whether it actually applies to what we are doing.