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JLeslie's avatar

Do you feel proud of your diplomas and degrees from school? Proud of accomplishments in general?

Asked by JLeslie (47096 points ) February 8th, 2013

When I graduated high school and college I didn’t have a feeling of success that I think some people have. When I met my husband I didn’t even know if I had a copy of my college diploma with me, while he had his all framed and hanging on a wall. As I get older I have more of an appreciation for accomplishments. I kind of grew up with an absence of pride, I never used that word or heard my family use it. Recently I felt pride in something I did, and it makes me think if I had experienced this feeling younger I would have been more ambitious.

I’m interested to hear your thoughts about how you think of these sorts of accomplishments and pride in doing something. It doesn’t have to be related to education, it can be anything.

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33 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m not big on showing off my degree either. I think my diploma is still in the tube unopened in my sock drawer. Lately I’ve just been kind of empty. I want something really badly, but I can’t have it. So there isn’t much pride right now.

marinelife's avatar

I was proud when we completed and opened the dog park that I worked on. But it was fleeting. I don’t think about accomplishments for very long.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Not any more. My graduate degree is dated 1977. When I got my Masters, it was a cool thing to talk about and a credential I could tout with pride.

But it’s 34 years later, and the fact of a degree is essentially meaningless. My identity (my professional recognition) is based on the work I have done, not on a little piece of parchment paper that a university have me a generation ago.

Mariah's avatar

I guess I am proud that I graduated high school valedictorian, but not of the details of the situation. The fact is that I only managed that because my priorities were completely fucked in high school and I cared more about my grades than about making nice memories or even my own well-being. I was overworked and sick and grouchy all the time, and I don’t look back on those years with much fondness. It was a stupid trade to make for a title. I’m not proud of that at all, and I’ve fortunately sorted things out since then. I won’t be anywhere close to college valedictorian and that is so completely okay with me, because I’m healthy and having a wonderful time.

I don’t think I will feel very proud of my computer science BS when I get it, considering my plans once were to be become a physics Ph. D. I kind of feel like a quitter. I still hope to come back to school for physics someday. If I do manage that, then I will feel proud.

As far as accomplishments in general, by far my proudest is having gotten through 2011, which I have dubbed The Year of Many Surgeries, and the mental strength that it left me with.

Seek's avatar

I don’t even know where my diploma is.

bookish1's avatar

I’m more proud that I’ve made it this far in school, considering all the obstacles to my physical and mental health I’ve had to deal with, than of the degrees themselves.

bookish1's avatar

Dang 10 minute editing window.
I am very proud that I got into this particular grad school. Combination of hard work and luck. It’s such a crap shoot applying to grad programs because you can’t know anything about the internal dynamics of the department.

GracieT's avatar

I’m proud of my college degree mainly because of what I went through to get it. But, like @Seek_Kolinahr I have no idea where my diploma is (except I know it is in my house somewhere!)

SamandMax's avatar

I never really did do well academically. I did ok in English, French and Sociology but the sense of achievement I got from all of those were almost non-existent. Being English kind of negates the sense of achievement on that one. French was a bummer. I hated French, and much more so, I hated France because when I went there, I didn’t think too highly of the people, they were generally rude, ignorant and full of themselves – they may think the same of us but I don’t really ponder on that.
Sociology was kind of cool because it was something that wasn’t typically school stuff, but I already knew that it was likely I wasn’t going to be working in a job that involved practical application of what I’d learned in Sociology on a daily basis, so that killed that one off.

Never been really big on the achievements thing.

rojo's avatar

I have no idea where my hs diploma is, never kept track of it.
I think my wife has my college one in the closet or attic somewhere still rolled up and in the tube; as are several other awards or achievement certificates. Once I achieve something I feel that doing such is all the reward I need. All else is superfluous self-hype.

Had a great conversation one time with an extremely intelligent successful person who felt that because he had not gone to college he was somewhat of a failure. My take on it was that all college showed was that I could put up with four more years of bullshit and still maintain the majority of my sanity. Of course that could be because of my major and is not an indictment of the entire system.

gailcalled's avatar

I have no idea where my diplomas are. When I graduated both from high school and college, I took the accomplishments for granted. Why ever not?

However, I am comfortable in my own skin although I think that growing up in my particular family of origin did clip my wings. I was so busy trying to get my father to notice me that I let many of my skills and strengths lie fallow. And my mother neglected her considerable brain to concentrate on her and my sis’s and my appearance.

I am now having a long-distance battle of wits with my all-too-clever 9-year-old grandnephew. it is taking a considerable effort to keep up with him. So that makes me proud.

MY parents put too much emphasis on our academic records and assumed that perfection was the family norm. I got rewarded for being number one in my class for most of jr. and senior high school. Ditto for my brother, but bad news for my sister, who was an accomplished artist rather than an academician.

JLeslie's avatar

@rojo You kind of touched on what I am thinking as I ponder this question. I just did what was expected basically. I got through school, I didn’t really appreicate it, pursue it, it was more like I had to do it so I did. Like getting a shot at the doctors office. LOL. I also pretty much took school for granted and didn’t work very hard at it.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^It’s never too late.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled That is part of my thought process too. I think my husband was very proud of his educational accomplishments because one, he is the first in his nuclear family to have a degree. Two, he applied to school on his own, and when he was accepted his family said things along the lines of he would never last living on his own and made him feel he would not make it through. So, the accomplishment was from his mind, his work, his risk taking, his defying what the family believed could be done. He owned it. He worked at it. His parents always encouraged and paid for good educations for their children their whole lives (except a two year stint when my husband lived in America during High School he went to the local public school) so it wasn’t that college was never on the radar. His older sister had attended college for a semester or two and finishing school in Switzerland, which I don’t think she completed either.

Contrast myself where I didn’t like school much and my father had to push me to go away to a university. I absolutely loved attending MSU, but mostly for the social aspect. In hindsight I wish I had been more focused on my studies.

This recent little thing I did that I feel proud of. It was something I wanted to do, people told me it wasn’t a good idea, but when I finally did it it was very successful and people give me positive feedback all the time about it. I just see how I am not goal oriented at all, and how I don’t pursue my interests enough, and how that affects me in so many ways.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^At some point, you need to either make your peace with not being goal-oriented (although that is a cosmic concept and includes things such as getting to the grocery store on time to stock the larder ) or changing your attitude and direction.

You’re too old to continue to torture yourself.

Now, my goal is to get out for the last round of errands before the storm isolates me and Milo. He is practicing his Scrabble skills, I do see (no false modesty about him).

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled I don’t torture myself. I feel like I am just becoming more self aware, more aware in general, and learning more what I enjoy. I am also interested in how other people experience life and learning from it.

gailcalled's avatar

I retract “torture,” which is a very strong word. However, it seems to me you do mention that theme a lot in your writings here.

zenvelo's avatar

I am not proud, so much,as self satisfied that I made it through school and got my degree. I was someone who should have stayed out of school for a few years because I was too immature to gain as much from it as I could. I was actively alcoholic at the time, and way too strong on the party side at one of the premier part schools in the country.

It took some time to get my head on straight and start working on my studies for my sake. So when I graduated it was six years after I started, because of my poor grades earlier, barely had a GPA to graduate. But I did it!

bookish1's avatar

@gailcalled: I grew up with perfection being the family norm as well. I heard a classmate refer to it as the Asian Rubric. A’s were expected, and B’s were a serious problem. Oh well, it got me a scholarship to college. I wish I still had that work ethic but it’s much harder to give a damn about classwork once you realize that grades don’t matter in grad school.

gailcalled's avatar

@bookish1: In my generation (grandparents were the immigrants), it was also the Jewish Norm.

Now, speaking of work ethic, why am I still here and not heading for town to do storm-related errands? Perhaps because I can finally be sybaritic in my waning years.

JLeslie's avatar

Interesting, because I wonder if I had been pushed more as a child if I would have appreciated my accomplishments more.

At the same time, I like the balance and calm I feel in my life. Being more ambitious would have likely been more stressful.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Not really, no. I used to keep all my certifications nice and neat for display, but the older I get the less it matters. Seems to me that a lot more of the world could use common sense and manners more than certificates.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I feel kind of the opposite. The older I am the more I appreciate the accomplishments.

flutherother's avatar

I got my diploma in the early 70’s and thought I would like to roll it around some marijuana and smoke it but I lost it first. I am however proud of my kids’ achievements.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Any particular reasoning behind that?

rojo's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t know if pushing would necessarily have made a difference. I have known people who were and are of the same temperment and some who’s parents did not give a shit who, justifiably, were very proud of their accomplishments and displayed and spoke of them often.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Because as I get older and see young people finishing school I see it as a milestone. When I was younger it was just something I had to do. It’s not that I feel it in a boasting way like I want to dig out my diploma wherever it is in my house (I am really not sure where it is) and wave it around. I actually paid to have another one sent to me about 15 years ago because my husband was hassling me about it. It is still in it’s original cardboard mailing envelope somewhere. I know I saw it when we unpacked during our last move.

I did kind of just make my way through school with little effort, so I am not especially proud of it, but I just think if I had been more in the moment of what I was doing while at school I would have done better and had some pride about the work I put in. Being in the moment makes life better I think, and I am better at that as I get older.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you, I get that! I have and will continue to spend my life learning and trying to understand, but I guess I feel that in life, common sense almost always trumps book knowledge/ education.

A lot of smart people I’ve met in my life are so emotionally out of touch with themselves and others, and often seem to get divorced and basically just struggle. So to me, increasing my emotional knowledge and common sense is of more import dealing with life’s real issues.

wundayatta's avatar

Getting a diploma is no big deal for me. It’s not something I feel pride about. It’s not an accomplishment. Saving lives is an accomplishment. Getting health insurance for the uninsured is an accomplishment. Hell, even winning the superbowl is an accomplishment. But a diploma means nothing to me.

It might be a big deal to some people, but they didn’t have the advantages I had. It was the least I could do to get a diploma. I would have had to be a complete and utter do-nothing not to get one. I could have slept through college and still gotten it.

For me, the path to accomplishment started with my work. And I can assure you that not only did I do nothing in college, but I have also done nothing worthy of note since then. Which is why I have no awards or certificates hanging on my walls, and I have never won any honors. I am the least there can be, as far as that is concerned. In some ways that is a disappointment, but I try to pretend I don’t care.

Perhaps that’s why lurve matters to me. It’s the closest I’ll ever get to having a Sally Fields moment.

Bellatrix's avatar

I have a personal pride that I actually stuck with it and completed them but I don’t have my diplomas on the wall and I haven’t attended a graduation ceremony. I am waiting for my daughter to finish hers (I am giving up hope) because I would be far more proud of her completing.

choreplay's avatar

You know I definitely gave it more importance before I finished it. I was in and out of school over the ten year plan.

LuckyGuy's avatar

My graduation certificates are stored in a box someplace. I’m sure it is a safe place.
I am more proud of my patents. They are, and will continue to be, proof that I created something.

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, because it was hard work.

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