Identity: Education


I took a class once that explored identity and one of the first assignments was to think about our individual identities and the borders we cross every day. I don't remember what I said exactly, but they were probably the obvious ones. This past week I discovered a new boundary that I cross, an identity that I was ignoring. One that has been very painful to discover and one I felt I had to apologize for, which was probably just as painful as the discovery. The identity, the border I cross, is one of education.

I put myself through school, both undergrad and graduate school. My parents took out loans that I now pay every month. I am the most educated person in my immediate family, the only other person related to me by blood, who is also as educated, is my uncle (I think). As for my in-laws, I am the most educated, minus a few of my husband's cousins.

I never considered this a border to cross, something that would cause problems. I've known most of these people since before college, do the extra six years of education really separate me and them? I wouldn't have thought so until it was brought to my attention. My husband and I discussed the first instance and we talked about how it was only one person. And now it's plainly clear that it's more than one person.

I apologized to my husband for causing problems. I know I didn't need to, and shouldn't have, but it's my identity causing these problems. This isn't a problem I would have thought would come with my education. I never thought critical thinking, reliance on facts, and an argument based on research would do something like this. I never thought I would be personally attacked during an argument because of my education.

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