Impact of Education on Relationships and Social Class

Within Alfred Lubrano's work, "Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams," an intriguing perspective emerges concerning the influence of higher education on personal relationships. Lubrano posits that college, while an educational milestone, can significantly alter one's connections with familiar individuals, such as family, hometown friends, and past acquaintances who did not pursue higher education. The crux of his argument revolves around the transformative nature of education, which can potentially create a disparity in shared experiences, consequently impacting relationships. Lubrano delineates the contrasting upbringing between lower working-class children and their middle-class counterparts, emphasizing the divergent perspectives they inherit due to varying familial environments.

This discrepancy often translates into a narrower worldview for the former, shaped by parental influences and societal norms, fostering a resistance to new ideas.

Distinct Upbringings and Educational Perspectives

The upbringing of individuals from disparate socioeconomic backgrounds plays a pivotal role in shaping their educational aspirations and receptiveness to diverse viewpoints. Children from middle-class families typically encounter an environment conducive to open-mindedness and intellectual exploration.

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Their upbringing often fosters an intrinsic motivation for learning, allowing them the liberty to form their beliefs independently. In contrast, individuals raised in lower working-class households are often entrenched in more rigid belief systems. Their exposure to a limited spectrum of experiences within their community confines their worldview, making them more resistant to embracing novel concepts or alternative perspectives.

While Lubrano's insights shed light on prevailing trends, it is important to acknowledge exceptions to these generalizations. Instances exist where individuals from working-class families, despite limited support for education, exhibit exceptional dedication, enabling them to access esteemed academic institutions.

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Simultaneously, individuals from affluent backgrounds may exhibit disinterest or overlook the value of higher education, choosing alternative paths. These exceptions challenge the notion that educational pursuits are solely dictated by social class.

Educational Influence on Relationships

Although Lubrano posits that education serves as a catalyst in eroding relationships, it is imperative to consider a nuanced perspective. While higher education may lead to a shift in interests and priorities, potentially causing some estrangement from old acquaintances, it doesn’t universally spell the demise of all relationships. Personal experiences often reflect this duality. For instance, upon transitioning to college, personal communication with family members may dwindle due to new commitments and routines, resulting in less frequent interaction. However, this shift in dynamics doesn’t necessarily equate to irreparable damage to relationships.

Furthermore, educational pursuits need not sever connections entirely; instead, they can serve as bridges for fostering shared interests. Individuals can leverage their newfound knowledge to engage and enlighten those in their social circles, potentially bridging the gap created by evolving interests. While my own experience of reduced communication with my mother post-college commencement aligns with Lubrano's observations, maintaining a strong relationship with my boyfriend, who shares a passion for learning, highlights the nuanced nature of how education influences relationships.

Divergent Paths and Personal Motivation

The narrative of Darryl Robinson, as portrayed in Darryl Robinson's article, "I Went to Some of D.C.’s Better Schools. I Was Still Unprepared for College," offers a compelling case study. Raised by his grandmother, presumably from a working-class background, Darryl defied stereotypical expectations by exhibiting a keen enthusiasm for learning. Despite facing prejudiced presumptions from teachers, his determination to excel underscores the pivotal role of personal motivation in defying societal expectations.

Darryl's story elucidates the notion that individuals, irrespective of their social upbringing, possess the agency to chart their educational trajectory. Moreover, his enduring connection with his grandmother, symbolized by daily check-ins and moral support, exemplifies the possibility of nurturing relationships while pursuing educational advancement.


In conclusion, while Alfred Lubrano’s observations regarding the impact of education on relationships and social class offer valuable insights, they necessitate a nuanced interpretation. Educational pursuits indeed possess transformative potential, influencing perspectives and altering interpersonal dynamics. However, exceptions exist within societal norms, wherein personal motivation and determination defy conventional expectations. These exceptions, exemplified through personal experiences and individual narratives like that of Darryl Robinson, underscore the agency individuals possess in navigating the complex interplay between education, social class, and relationships.

Updated: Jan 02, 2024
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Impact of Education on Relationships and Social Class. (2016, May 08). Retrieved from

Impact of Education on Relationships and Social Class essay
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