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Old 03-18-2009, 04:23 PM
Location: USA
4,980 posts, read 8,220,171 times
Reputation: 2506


Today, everyone is urged to go to college and have a college degree. I have two, so before anyone gets on a high horse and claims I am anti-education, I am not.

But there seems to be a real problem with what is going on now. Kids are urged to go to college or be poor. They are told if they don't go to college, they won't have a decent job. They will wind up working at McDonald's or Walmart. And yes, this is quite true.

In the past, many didn't go to college. They just weren't college material. I think this is still true, evidenced by the amount of people who go to college, but do not complete or finish their degree.

Suddenly, college is about being a job mill, pouring out students to work in jobs, etc. But many times, people study one field, and wind up working in another. Now, their education never goes to waste. Learning is never a waste.

But many smart people never went to college. There are different forms of "smarts". The guy who can take a car apart and rebuild it has to have some smarts. So does the person who can grow his own food or survive in the wild.

But today, we are told if someone doesn't go to college, they just can't get ahead. And this is true. Long ago, a person could work themselves up from being the boy who swept the floors to the VP of a company. My great uncle did that. No college degree, but sharp enough to learn the business from the bottom up, and learned the stock market too. He was quite successful.

So, many people now are stuck having to go to college, in order to avoid poverty. But in the past, people went to college to become educated, to have a specific profession or trade. Now, it is supposed to be a ticket to avoid the low-wage service sector jobs.

We were even told by President Bush that we "need education" to get jobs. But there were plenty of IT people who were educated and they were losing jobs! More and more HB-1 visa foreigners came in. So, it wasn't really about education. It was about money. And, had it truly been an issue of finding qualified talent, companies have always taken it on themselves to train people when they are desperate. But they weren't desperate, when they could bring in people for less.

So what has happened to us? Is the future about stock traders, attorneys, doctors, managers, bankers, and those at the top with those at the bottom just servicing them? Waiting on their tables, cleaning their homes, watching their children, walking their dogs? Is this what the mantra about getting an education is about? Avoiding being at the bottom? There WAS a time when not having a college degree didn't mean a lifetime of poverty at all. People who worked "other jobs" had homes, cars, vacations, even sent their kids to college. A college degree wasn't a ticket to success, one basically had to prove oneself, just as the nondegreed person did. Some people used to go to college just to be educated. But now, the focus is on being able to fit right into a specific profession, not "wasting one's college degree" by making it worthwhile. And one has to, with the costs now of college...

Going to college was great. I would not trade in my education at all. But I think the idea NOW, that going to college is avoiding being at the bottom is a joke. The very top paying professions only have so many openings. Many educated people don't find work in their professions.

Businesses no longer want to train anyone. They want you cheap, and ready to go. Their ideal candidate is 21, no diseases, no debt, knows everything (sic), will work 12 hours every day, including weekends, has no life at home, and won't challenge the boss in any way.

Some of the best inventors were not highly educated. But they were smart. So being smart and being educated no longer go hand in hand, and they never did. But that is the implication now, that those at the top are smart, and the low wage income earner is paid less, because he is not educated.

What happened to the middle?
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Old 03-18-2009, 06:49 PM
Location: Up in the air
19,126 posts, read 25,816,754 times
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well, considering a friend of mine went to college and he's a complete idiot, I dont' put much stock in a simple college education anymore. All he did was go to keggers, party, put the minimum effort in and HE got a college degree.

I received my degree and I'm now employed in a COMPLETELY different field... I went from a music theory/composition degree to being in the aeronautic industry.

Who knew?
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Old 03-18-2009, 07:29 PM
Location: So Cal
38,783 posts, read 37,977,338 times
Reputation: 39647
While learning and education is important, some of the most sucessful people I know don't have much formal eduacation.

Life is what you make of it.
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Old 03-18-2009, 08:20 PM
Location: MA/NH
16,488 posts, read 33,459,114 times
Reputation: 15221
Going to college is a good way to finish your childhood and enter young adulthood. Many people do K-12 in the same area, so they end up only knowing the same classmates for most of their lives. Getting into college gets you to meet a whole new group of people. That's good for developing better social skills, plus ones college contacts are a better help for networking later on. College can help you steer you towards a major that you only touched upon in high school. Going to a college away from home is a good way to get out of ones parents house and hometown, and into experiencing a new locale. It's a shame that college got so expensive.

Or going to a respected trade school can also be a smart move if one can't find a decent apprenticeship with a local tradesman.

I suppose another positive aspect of going to college is putting off entering the workforce fulltime so young. And it causes young people to put off marriage until after college graduation, which is a much better move than getting married right after high school. The more personal growth, the better imo.
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Old 03-19-2009, 12:16 AM
3,553 posts, read 6,790,764 times
Reputation: 2304
jetjockey wrote;
well, considering a friend of mine went to college and he's a complete idiot, I dont' put much stock in a simple college education anymore. All he did was go to keggers, party, put the minimum effort in and HE got a college degree.
And then became President of the US and really screwed that up.

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Old 03-19-2009, 01:20 AM
706 posts, read 3,358,924 times
Reputation: 340
I think a college degree is better than none.

I don't have stats, but I'd still bet dollars to donuts that the number of people who rise above poverty with college degrees is greater than those who don't.

College is never harmful and the learning goes beyond academic.

That said, a young person who can work entry-level anything with a minimum income, get benefits and tuition refund is in a good position to learn theory, practice application, AND gain valuable work experience (experience is certainly better than none).

Also attending college for a marketable skill and getting a j-o-b, then going back later for the childhood career dream is a good move for high school graduates.

Trade schools can be great but tricky as some of them have issues such as false promises of the learning that will take place and job placement and/or limited, broken or inadequate equipment, bad reputations which render graduates unimpressive to employers.
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Old 03-19-2009, 06:41 AM
Location: Nebraska
4,179 posts, read 9,124,999 times
Reputation: 9523
Going to college to satisfy your parents' ideals doesn't work.
Going to college to get out of the house doesn't work.
Going to college 'to get a good job' doesn't work.

But going to college to further your interest in a field of study that you love and want to explore is worthwhile.

My daughter went to college with a bunch of know-nothings who went because of the first three reasons. There were 'nurses' dropping out because they 'wanted to help people' - and found out that sick people don't care about their high ideals, they will bleed and vomit and poop all over you. There were IT people who just knew they were the next Bill Gates - who couldn't even understand the basics. There were instructors who were so liberal that no one even had to show up to class, they graded across the board instead of on work done. There were students in my daughters' labs who couldn't even write a decent thesis or document a proof - who paid my daughter to do them for them. There were students who had sports scholarships who (literally) could not read, or write a coherent sentence. And then there were the ones who went for their "MRS" degree...

College does not necessarily demand or increase maturity. In the immature, it is simply an expensive time-waster. But that is pretty much true of any field, or of life. Those who choose to be productive, are. Those who choose not to be - are not. Life is hard, whether you go to college or not. If you choose not to take advantage of every experience and learn from it, it is YOU who are at fault.

I have never graduated from college; I merely took the courses I needed to, at the time, to get the knowledge for the jobs I chose. My DH never finished HS yet taught others in his field, was a respected and sought-after trainer and instructor. Nevertheless, we encouraged our children to seek education, knowledge, and experience - and if they felt that college was the place to find it, that was where they went. Expecting college to be the mecca of learning, understanding, and maturing is like expecting God to save you from your choices - it might help if you are open to it, but if you continue to make poor choices, nothing can save you.
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Old 03-19-2009, 09:44 AM
5,273 posts, read 11,925,150 times
Reputation: 5750
I disagree 100% with the original poster's thread. I've never felt that there was any pressure for kids to go to college more than at any time in my 52 years. Either white or blue collar paths are fruitful if one applies themselves.

It simply depends on what one wants out of life.

My best friend's son wanted to be a ski bum. His father patted his a$$ and told him to try and stay out of troube. Off he went. Everybody was happy with the whole thing. Then, at age 28 or so he decided to go to college. That was fine as well and now he's in college. Everybody is still happy.
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Old 03-19-2009, 11:01 AM
Location: Portland, Oregon
7,091 posts, read 10,495,682 times
Reputation: 4104
Being through the programs and being involved in hiring processes at a few jobs, it seems like college has become kind of a passage instead of an education. If some one can survive 4 years of college they play well with others, have general knowledge/learning aptitude, and have stood above the pack in order to pass the examinations to get through.

My own personal experiences too is that people did tell me and my classmates college is the only way to go to get a good job and a good life. Then going to college people experienced life and figured out what they wanted to continue to work at for a good portion of their life, because no one really knew when they got out of high school.

I don't think college is for everyone, though I think it's a good experience to have in order to try different things and find what that is. Only one person I know has continued in what she started out in college as, the rest have tried at least 2 things...if not more. Without the college experience many would not have known, especially if the option was for trade school or college.

The problem is that standards are lowered in high school, most educators just want to get people out the door with the least fuss, and as cheaply as possible, then have honors classes for those who really do well. Without that base of knowledge you get there, you need to get it some where else...like college. Now those costs and time have switched to the student instead of the tax payer. The other thing is that there is so many things to know, you can't possibly teach everyone everything in a general degree...just the most well known. Say IT work, there are at least 2 dozen different languages you can go nuts with...and honestly you need to have at least a semesters class to know the basics.
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Old 03-19-2009, 01:13 PM
372 posts, read 761,264 times
Reputation: 126
A college education is merely a tool. Just like giving someone a hammer doesn't guarantee that they can build a home, handing someone a college degree doesn't guarantee that they'll live a richer, more fulfilled life or earn more money... In the end it comes down to end user's ability take that tool and apply it to a task.
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