Not All Smart People Go To College

And the college educated are not automatically superior

Shefali O'Hara


Photo by OPPO Find X5 Pro on Unsplash

We all love our high tech gadgets. But do we need them?

While some people can’t go for more than a minute without checking social media, the reality is —there are things we actually need more than the latest TikTok video. For example — what if our toilets all stopped working? Or we couldn’t get food because all the vehicles (buses, trains, cars, etc.) broke down?

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs puts food at the bottom of the pyramid. While having a safe place to poop is not shown on the pyramid, I think it should be.

Health care and safety are also near the bottom.

Some of these things do require people with advanced degrees, such as doctors and engineers. We need skilled health practitioners and we need to know that the airplanes and bridges we use won’t fall apart.

However, many of the occupations we rely on are blue collar.

Such as farmers.

One reason I try to support local farmers — it takes a skill set to be able to grow food. I grew a backyard garden several years ago with some success. However, it merely supplemented my diet. I didn’t have the expertise to grow all my own food. I need farmers. They do their jobs better than I could and I appreciate them.

I also appreciate the people who supply my gas and electricity, who haul goods from one end of the country to another, and who provide support services to doctors and nurses. Just because the tech at my hospital only has an associates does not mean that he or she is not valuable.

When I was an engineer, I was more educated than my technician and my administrative assistant. However, they could do things I couldn’t. I appreciated their dedication to their jobs.

Waitresses, mechanics, plumbers… they all provide value.

We need to show them appreciation.

Say “thank you”. Treat them with respect and courtesy. Pay them a reasonable wage. Support laws that keep them safe and stand up to companies that try to cheat people out of earned compensation.

Blue collar people work hard for their money. In large cities, they often have the longest commutes. They keep things running but are often not visible. They deserve to be treated with justice. They deserve our respect.

I am fighting stage IV cancer. If you can help with medical bills, I would really appreciate it. Or if you enjoy my writing and would like to buy me a cup of coffee, that’s great too. Maybe someday I can return the favor.



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.