My degree is hanging on the wall, but every time it enters my field of vision I am reminded of a post-secondary education spent dreaming of building something real, something with my name on the cover. I have always hated school, but not for the reasons you might expect.
I love learning new things, but learning on my own or in the workforce has proven to be much more effective than a formal education. The vast majority of my daily activities are informed and guided by knowledge earned on my own time, in my own way, for a fraction of the cost in dollars and days, relative to my university education. Other than mainstream recognition and a feeling of achievement as I framed that ridiculous $20,000 piece of paper, university education for me has proven to be a colossal waste of time.
I did well, but I did well mostly regurgitating and repeating ideas and processes developed by other people for other purposes. As I wondered from lecture to lecture, I was confident I already knew enough about my discipline to enter the workforce because I cared enough to learn on my own. Hanging around for all those years just to rubber stamp my knowledge was incredibly frustrating.
Exposure to a broad base of material is obviously necessary to build a solid base of understanding in any discipline, but it’s painfully useless for people who have no interest in jumping through the various bureaucratic educational hoops required to get the societal acceptance associated with a degree, which is unfortunately required to get one foot through any door.
When students have no interest in a certain topic, even if they manage to pick up a few useful pieces of information during a course, they will likely forget everything a few weeks after the exam anyway. And if by some miracle they manage to retain a tiny bit of knowledge, the likelihood it will be useful in the workforce is quite low.
People need a broad base of understanding to be competent in many disciplines, I get that, but I am posing a much broader societal question. If the people who are likely to absorb that knowledge would have done so with or without a formal education, and those who will not absorb that knowledge never need it anyway, does it make economic sense to send millions of people in their prime to educational institutions that will leave them with a negligible net increase in knowledge and ability? Wouldn’t it make more sense to concentrate more resources per student on the few students who actually want to be there and will actually benefit from the experience? Do we really need to educate everyone as though they will enter academia? How about some more projects and hands on experience?
I’m not arguing against education. I am asking if it makes sense to educate, often at public expense, millions of people who will achieve no more with a degree than was possible without a degree. People who are as healthy as they will ever be, as energetic as they will ever be, as mobile as they will ever be, and as willing to work for less than they will ever be. If you want find a primary reason manufacturing has moved abroad, maybe you should start here. Imagine how many cars and televisions we could have produced with an army of university students working happily for $10/hour, full time, in shifts around the clock.
The socialist idea that everybody should get an education is destroying this country and it’s destroying the universities. The infrastructure required to give an equal opportunity to millions of first year students has a cost. In order to pay those bills, educational institutions around the country are forced to either lower standards or pass undeserving students to continue the stream of tuition dollars a little longer.
Honestly, if I felt as though my degree actually certified that I learned something, maybe I would have cared. There was a time university graduates actually knew something, those days are gone. In time, as more people are exposed to our army of educated morons the mainstream recognition once associated with an undergraduate degree will disappear altogether, and people will then be forced to waste even more time in post-graduate studies just to begin their careers at the bottom.
What a waste.
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