College Graduation – An Educational Privilege and Charge


Think of your thirteen or fourteen closest friends and family members. How many of them have college degrees or are pursuing a college degree? If you’re someone like me, it’s most of them.

As a recent college grad soon bound for medical school and graduate school, my world has been focused on those within higher education. This narrowed view has made me feel much less successful with my A- GPA than those who graduated with highest distinction and honors, and I feel much more capable than those with any lower GPA in my graduating class. Same goes for any other matter of comparison – test scores, experiences, etc.

But if those fourteen or fifteen people that you first thought of represented the world, only one of them would have a college degree. One.

That’s right, just 6.7% of the world has a college degree. Many more were likely accepted to college and didn’t finish and even more than that want to go to college but don’t have the capability.

While we may not be the top of our class, we are still learning and achieving something not a lot of people get to do, and it educationally sets us as leaders of the world. But to have the opportunity, the skills, and the determination to receive a college education is something so many of us take for granted.

Now a college degree isn’t required to be highly successful or to do what you are passionate about, but for many of us it helps us along a career path that can hopefully make a difference in the world if we use our education to its fullest potential.

College graduates, welcome to the 6.7% percent. What are you going to do with this opportunity? Will you accept the charge to use it to its fullest potential?

Hanna is a MD/PhD student at the University of Illinois and an aspiring physician scientist who aims to specialize in hepatobiliary cancers. She is also passionate about teaching, leadership, and advocacy. The energy she once used to pep up crowds as a college marching band member is now directed toward exciting and educating others about science and medicine, especially through her tweets at @MDPhDToBe and her blog at

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Posted in Pre-med

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