Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What is College Worth

Last night I was recording a school board meeting. The first hour and a half of it was student recognition. Due partially to boredom and vindictiveness (I couldn't stand student awards when I was a student and wouldn't have even gone to my own graduation had my parents not forced me.) I was becoming a wee bit frustrated. A lot of that is because I am well... a douche, but part of it was a legitimate concern.

I kept getting the impression that that the people involved viewed college as an endgame. I am living proof that it's not.

Not long after graduating from college I had a conversation in the kitchen with my mother. She was attempting to persuade me into returning to school. While there are practical reasons why I declined achoo. Ultimately I told her that I was tired of being a student. I told her that if I had a chance to do it all again, I probably would not have gone to college. For the past two years I've felt that I've sunk too much time, effort and money into college not to get a degree but if I had to do it again I wouldn't. I went into college without an idea of what I wanted to do and why I wanted to do it and at the end of the day feel that before making such a huge life investment you should know exactly why you're doing it. People don't treat college like the life decision it is.

The conversation continued with my mother asking me what I got out of college. I said academically very little. Most of the classes I took I knew were inapplicable to what I wanted to do. There were a few classes that changed my perception and taught me something, yes, but those were the minority.

What I really obtained from college was not academic. It was a general shift in paradigm. Being away from my parents for the first time in my life I was able to discover what portions of my world view I inherited from them apply to me and which ones don't. Here they are.

Division of Labor
Just because you work hard doesn't necessarily mean your skills will be comparable to others. There are other factors involved. It's okay if you're not the best at something. Find what you're good at and for everything else find someone else to help you.

What makes people smart
When I was in high school I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder because I thought I was smarter than everyone else. Then went to college and found out what real talent is like. You know what I found out. There was no difference in personality. The difference was that the gifted kids had found their thing. When I was doing homework I would do it, but in my head there would be stuff I would rather be doing. These guys had found that thing they would rather be doing. The math wizes got a kick out of solving problems and would do it even in their off time. The musicians loved rocking out on the weekends. They had all found something they like and care enough about to learn about and work hard at without prompting. All that made me want to find my thing and for right now it's writing.

Don't Ask Permission
What I hated about college is that for the most part nothing matters. If you do well on an assignment the only people who care are you, your parents, and your professor. This is what made me so nihilistic about the whole damn thing. College on its own is meaningless. Students need to find ways to make it matter. I did it by starting a blog. Someone else might do it by trying to get published or competing. You need to find a way to make what you learn in the classroom applicable to outside of it.

Not everything people think is important is
Every professor expects you to work hard in their class, but here's the rub. Not every class is equally difficult or valuable. The key to success is learning when something is literally not worth your time. If you're getting an A in one class and can afford to skip it to work on a project for a class you're getting a C in maybe you should. People talk like it's all a matter of cutting out the fun stuff, but sometime it's not. It's a matter of learning what you can afford to put off or not do and what you can't.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Facebook Comments

Note: These Comments are from all across this blog.