Since I started my Masters program in Arts Politics at NYU, so many people, even my loved ones, have been questioning my pursuit of such degree. They asks: "What are you going to do with that degree? "What are your plans afterwords?" I've learned to disregard other people's inquisitions on the validity of my life choices, specifically my academic and professional pursuits. "What am I going to do with my new degree?" I don't know. Be smarter? "Is my degree necessary?" It's necessary for ME, even if it isn't perceived to be necessary for the world. Often, people like to question my academic pursuits, as if elevating my intelligence is not reason enough. I'm so glad I believe in the exponential and infinite possibilities of my being or else I would dwell in a place of predicted ignorance and mediocrity that is not fit for my expansive nature.
To be personal for a moment...
In my experience, black people's general discomfort with academia stems from historic colonialism, systemic segregation and categorization that pushed our people into the learning of trades instead of the pursuit of intellectual freedom and the possibility of infinite expansion of the mind. "Get a good government job" is what our parents were taught--not a job that captured the full potential of our brains but a job that focused on monotonous skill and limited upward mobility. But as I delve into my dreams and seek greater understandings of purpose and freedom, I drift further away from the acknowledgement of others' discomfort with the infinite status of my ever-evolving brain. I aim to break away from the evidentialism of the pursuit of knowledge. "What am I going to do with my Arts degree(s)?" The same thing you're going to do with that law degree that you don't really want or need but that you chose to acquire after not knowing exactly what you wanted to do with your life. "Is my Arts degree(s) necessary?" As necessary as your business degree that led you to manage (I mean delegate in) a highly reputable marketing firm in which you spend most of your time dining with, and on the dime of, potential clients at Capitol Grille and Cipriani's.
With my acquiring and expansion of knowledge, I plan on living my life fuller and wider, without thought of proofs or receipts that are to justify my M.A., B.F.A, or possible Ph.D or M.Div. I am the embodiment of infinite possibilities, possibilities that are both proof of and a catalyst for my aptitudes and attitudes. This past year has taught me so much about perseverance and deliverance, but most importantly, it has taught me about definition. How do you define your life path and life choices without the interference of the view points of the world, your colleagues, your closest friends and family? I no longer feel the urge to explain or fit into the scripted roadmap of a society that has lost its intuitive creativity. The definition of my present and future is not dependent on previous blueprints that do not represent the fullness of my intellectual and spiritual capacity. The definition is in my being and not in the words that surround and sometimes falsify and exploit my visible pursuits.
My degrees are not a formula; they are merely a factor, maybe even a variable, in an ever evolving equation of my very unique life.