Compare two people from varying backgrounds: One works on Wall Street in a comfortable business setting, another one sits at home reading books, helping others learn how to read. According to dictionary.com, to be educated means “having undergone education, displaying qualities of culture and learning, and the reliance on some information and experience.
In the entire definition it does not say: “Anyone who has obtained a Masters Degree in a respective field.” Moving on from this definition, a person can be educated without a degree. The rest of society will look at Mr./Ms. Wall Street and exclaim that they are educated because of a piece of paper from Harvard or William and Mary, when in actuality only some careers require a degree: Banker, Lawyer, Doctor, Teacher, and so on. The person who is tutoring from home, or writing articles daily for web content, may be considered educated as well.
First, a person having “undergone education” may have a certificate, or a thirst for reading and asking questions. For instance, I took up Music Theory class in high school for two semesters, yet after that I taught myself music by going to bookstores and buying How to Play Piano books, theory books and doing Google searches on how to “hear” musical notes. After about a year, I was no Alicia Keys, but could play a note and read music just like an expert. I did not go to college for this; I simply have undergone education from my own home, on my own time and without taking out massive loans.
Secondly, a person who is educated should have respectable qualities. I remember watching the movie, Devil’s Advocate, and Keanu Reeves watches as the red headed business woman is on the phone, perhaps on a conference call and she seems regal, intelligent and she spoke more than one language. Those qualities make a person seem more cultural and well learned. People like that are well learned because they have to be, yet I know there are people who know more than one language, who enjoy travel, and are more personable as well. These people may dress in suits and carry their heads high and not even have degrees galore.
Sometimes, being educated simply means being resourceful and relying on personal experiences. I consider myself very resourceful, probably more so than a detective, or forensic accountant, yet I have no graduate degree and not a lot of money. What I do have is a laptop with an internet connection, plenty of self help books, a library nearby, experts’ numbers and emails, and years of experience. For example, I am an online tutor, and I cringe every time I visit actual home tutoring networks and find that in order to tutor for that company you have to have been a teacher “well educated and have credentials in the subject”. I have been tutoring for six years in my favorite subjects of Math and English because I have a passion for it and no degree, and have studied it. Does this mean I am less educated?
The standard for describing an educated person is by what a person displays in their character, not what society feels is the most popular look for someone who might be more educated, or how many plaques are on the wall. Educating oneself, carrying yourself well in all environments, and just relying on what you know is the definition of an educated person.