Earning an academic degree is certainly a worthy and fulfilling accomplishment. By engaging in that degree program, the student has amassed a wealth of new information and insight about the subject matter. This is empowering to the graduate, and it should be. On the other hand, it can be detrimental if the graduate fails to retain a sense of humility.
Bill Nye (The Science Guy) spoke last month at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell graduation. He offers a simple reminder about the need for humility to saturate the new degree holder (Erin Zlomek, ed., Commencement Speeches 2014, Bloomberg Businessweek, 6/2/14–6/8/14, p. 23):
“Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t.”
Nye’s words are simply and purely spoken, yet so very powerful and important. The moment I stop respecting the knowledge within everyone around me, I start hindering my own personal, professional, and intellectual growth.
Academic credentials are rich, marvelous, growthful, and empowering. However, never let them be your license for the loss of your humility.