Today’s post is inspired by the most recent episode of Welcome to Plathville, which I watched yesterday afternoon. If you read yesterday’s post, you might know that I’ve been getting over a nasty cold. I got a late start yesterday because I had a touch of “medicine head” and was feeling kind of exhausted. Consequently, I did less writing yesterday than I might have ordinarily done. I only wrote one travel post, which is just as well, since not that many people read the travel blog anymore.
In the episode of Welcome to Plathville that inspired this post, the camera focused on Olivia Plath, wife to eldest Plath son, Ethan. I’ve found Olivia intriguing since I first started watching the show. Like Ethan, she was homeschooled as a child and raised in a very Christian household. Interestingly enough, many members of the Plath family seem to have evolved out of fundamentalist Christianity. They’re all kind of busting loose, drinking alcohol, getting tattoos, dressing more provocatively, and moving to new cities.
From the beginning of the show, Olivia has been influencing Ethan to try more worldly things, like drinking alcohol. When the show started, Olivia ran her own photography business. She’s obviously a very bright, intelligent, and attractive young woman. So I was very surprised yesterday when she was talking about how she’d like to go to college, but hesitates because she wonders if she’d be successful. She explains that she’s never learned in a group setting before. At one point, I even heard her say she thought maybe she was too “dumb” for college.
It’s clear to me that Olivia is certainly smart enough to succeed in college, if that’s what she’d like to do. I do understand that if a person has never been in a classroom setting, he or she might wonder how the experience will go. But I can speak from personal experience that plenty of people who probably don’t belong in college manage to go… and some of the manage to graduate. I have no doubt in my mind that Olivia could flourish in college. She probably has the money to go, too, since she’s been on Welcome to Plathville. I would hope she’s getting paid for what she does on the show. She doesn’t seem like the type of person that would blindly follow whatever the Plaths tell her to do. It’s not like being in the Duggar family.
When I listen to Olivia speak, I hear someone who is plainly bright and articulate. She might need to learn study skills and how to write papers. But I have no doubt that she could easily learn those skills and get through college. I think the experience would open up a whole new world for her on many levels… Of course, it might also doom her marriage, because I suspect that if she is exposed to other people and new ideas, she may decide that she doesn’t want to be married… or maybe she’d rather be with someone else. College might change her in profound ways. I still hope she’ll consider going, though.
Which brings me to the Duggars… I recently heard from Katie Joy that Derick and Jill Dillard were considering setting up college funds for their sons. Derick Dillard has a college degree and a law degree, and thanks to Derick’s job and Jill’s best selling book about the reality of being a Duggar on reality TV, they’ve been able to declare independence from Jim Bob Duggar. I hope Jill’s youngest siblings are paying attention.
Derick is a living example of why it’s a good thing to have the freedom to go to college, not just because of the actual courses, but because of connections to the real world. Jill and Derick clearly seem to value education beyond the dining room table, as they send their older children to public school. Likewise, Jeremy Vuolo, who married Jill’s younger sister, Jinger, also has a college degree and is working for an advanced degree. I won’t be surprised if Jinger and Jeremy send their daughters to an actual school, rather than trying to homeschool them. And I won’t be surprised if their daughters eventually go to college.
I hope that Jill and Jinger will consider going to college, too, if they’d like to do that. Jill has always struck me as someone who would be a really good midwife. I know she was getting some training in midwifery, but I think it would be great if she got trained as an actual midwife, as in attending a university and getting the appropriate training and licensure for that field. I don’t know what Jinger’s passions are, but she’s always shown herself to be more of a free spirit. She’s certainly bright enough to go to college. And, as smarmy as Jeremy seems to be, I also think he’d support her in that effort, if they had the financial resources for it.
College is oversold to a lot of people, and it can be an expensive “trap” for some. However, I think people who have been raised in oppressive environments can really benefit from the college experience. I hope they’ll at least consider taking a course or two, just to see if they like it and can succeed. My guess is that once they get a taste of learning in a freer environment, they won’t want to stop. It will change their lives, perhaps in a very profound way that may even make it more difficult for them in the beginning.
I’m all for women stepping into the light and taking control of their own destinies. Accessing a college education is a great way to do that. Olivia Plath quite clearly can flourish in college. Jill and Jinger probably could, too, if they set their minds to it. If they actually cared about my opinion, I would encourage each of them to consider stepping into higher education, as they step out of the “dark ages” of the fundie Christianity mindset chosen for them by their parents. It’s time more fundie Christian women became liberated from the life roles someone else has trained them since birth to accept.
I will also admit that as well as I think Olivia Plath could do in college, I would especially love to see some Duggar women go to an accredited university and kick some ass. I’d love it for them, and I’d also love to see Jim Bob Duggar’s reaction… which I’m pretty certain would be very bitter. I can’t lie. The idea of that is hilarious to me… this obviously narcissistic man already has a son in prison, but his daughters could end up taking the world by storm. Now that’s a reality show I’d love to tune into regularly!