Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Walking On Down to a College Degree

It is the dream, it is the end goal. Without it you are nothing, with it everything is easier for you.

Down this road have traveled the great minds of generations. A walk down this road brings the hope for a future: cleaner, brighter, better. Walk away from the road and life is bleak. A desertion of youth and joy awaits those who turn their backs to the world of academia.

This is the story we all know. I tried to get my myself into the head of those who think this way. College is overrated. For most, it is a tremendous waste of money and time. Why do we spend anywhere from $40,000 to $200,000 for 4 years of our lives to learn things that are of no use to our careers? Sure, I enjoyed studying the ancient Roman Empire and the history of Britain during the Industrial Revolution, but there is absolutely no reason that I should have been required to take these "extra" classes. At least, though, these classes helped my writing skills and argumentation skills. But what does a class in the history of hip-hop do?

This piece of paper, or at least one very similar to it, awaits me next month. It is the culmination of 4 years of study of chemistry, biology, physics, math, and other subjects. As I earn this degree, begin to work, and expect future degrees, I wonder what the future holds for those with other majors. A BS in molecular, cell, and developmental biology is something that I hope will serve me well in the future, but what of those with degrees in communications, Chicano Studies, performing arts, and other such soft majors? What future awaits them? Where do they go from here?

Four years gone and tens of thousands of dollars later, where is the benefit? This view of the intrinsic benefit of college needs to end. A degree is only as good as the knowledge associated with it that will be used by the person who earned it in the future. Four years of studying the history of Russia is worthless to the future middle manager. 

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  1. Completely agree college was a waste of my time. I'll go you one further; while I enjoy those subject, I did not enjoy studying them in college. I get far more from and afternoon of self study than and entire year of college.

  2. Obviously, Tony, they will all make perfect Democrats. What else?

  3. Yes, I fell like much of what I learned in my extra classes could have been learned with a quick trip to Wikipedia or a History Channel Special. Those are much more entertaining as well.

    Yes Jim, that is the attitude of most progressives. They do not understand comparing benefits and costs. They think that education is an intrinsic good and worth any price.

  4. The problem with college degrees is that the colleges have dumbed down so much a degree is virtually useless (unless you want to be an empathy bear and feel someone's pain.)

  5. Infidel, a college degree for many people who get it is now far too easy, more about sucking up than learning the material, and way overpriced. What everyone should learn when they go through college is how to write convincingly, argue effectively, and think independently (with specialties in tone and background information for the fields specific to the student). Instead, we are expected to memorize and do things by the book. I'd like to think that my major was at least something very useful to the world, but I know that I could have learned more about writing and argumentation and thinking. These skills are invaluable to a research scientist, and they seemed to be completely ignored. Whatever the value of a college degree is nowadays, I just don't see it.