One of the greatest pieces of advice I have ever received from uni came from my Anthropology 111 tutor, Anja Reid. She once said in class, with a mischievous smile, that for a clever person, reading the introduction is enough.
Thank you Anja. Your words have carried me through many an assignment.

The proletariat

You know? I often thought it was wasted how much my parents sacrificed in order to give me a good education. I would have been happy in a public school so they could have saved thousands of dollars over the years. What different does a private education make in the long term? Really it’s just about who you know rather than what you know that gets you a good job, ne?

But I’ve started reflecting on the purpose of my education. I acknowledge that I would not be in the same place I am now if not for where I have studied over the years of my life. I know in my heart I don’t need a degree to be good at what I do. I’m not at uni for the piece of paper, I’m here to learn. But I realised today that that piece of paper makes life tremendously easier. Mum came from a family of relative poverty- they sometimes struggled to find food for the day, sometimes eating rice and potatos from their own back yard. Mum managed to move to England and study, sending what little she earned home so that some of her other eight siblings could study, and they all got educations and jobs that led them to be millionaires. When my parents moved to Australia, it was Mum’s qualifications that allowed her to work as a nurse, and she carried my family through its early stages of starting out with close to nothing. Although I’m confident I’m smart enough to know exactly what I’m doing, and to be damn good at it too, the qualification makes a huge difference if I’m ever out of work and needing somewhere to start. If for some unforeseeable reason I’m ever unemployed and can’t get a job, that degree will be my passport and save me potentially months or years of poverty.

It seems so sad that the world I live in is fuelled by money. Good, hardworking people can die poor and impoverished just because they didn’t have enough plastic to swap for food. Survival requires money, and money requires a job or searching for a job, even one you hate, just to perpetuate your existence. For those privileged enough to have the qualifications and training for easy access to employment, that’s all well and good. But for those that don’t… It just sucks.

Screw industrialisation. Screw agriculture. Go back to the hunter gatherer days, where people lived in tribes of 20 and we never expired the land’s resources. I wish I’d told Ange to press that button.