College and degrees

If I was in charge… college and degrees would be useful.

It used to be that you HAD to have a high school diploma in order to "amount to anything in this life." Well, it seems that most people now think that you need a bachelors degree to succeed in life. And eventually those same people will pronounce that you need a masters degree to be someone. With regard to all of those pieces of paper, I say those people are wrong.

Ages ago, when people went off to Yale or Harvard, didn’t they go to become a more well-rounded person? To be educated in the ways of the world? Yes – to learn about art, and history, mathematics and languages – but what was it all for then? It was probably intended more for the upper-class and socialites, but what those people were learning actually was useful and could help a person grow in understanding and knowledge.

Today we sit in college classes memorizing and regurgitating! What actual LEARNING goes on? Yes – there are degrees and professions that require specific learning and actual work. However – most of those pieces of paper (degrees) are nothing more than contracts signed by colleges stating that John Doe has successfully sat through 4 years of boring, pointless lectures, and received credit for sitting through those classes, puking up term papers and essays that most instructors probably didn’t even read.

Survey courses – otherwise known as the "general education classes" that are required before you move on to somewhat interesting classes, survey SO MUCH, that you cannot possibly retain what you are being fed. Reading 3-10 chapters in a week, as well as working on a paper or practicing for a test, means you will likely gain just enough knowledge from the text to be able to fill out the scantron form in a way that will return a passing grade. Except for those A+ students who will blow their minds trying to memorize everything that could be useful for that week, then more than likely forgetting 99% of it to make room for the next set of chapters that contain waaay too much information for a 1 week period of time.

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I believe that anyone with half a brain could be trained to do ALMOST anything that anyone else can do. Yes, attorneys, doctors and sometimes teachers do require ACTUAL learning so that they can recall information and facts later in their careers, but most other occupations end up being nothing more than "learn as you go" or "lookup what you don’t know."

When was the last time you actually used something you learned sitting in "Cultural Anthropology" or "History of Photography"? I will concede – sitting through those classes can be more interesting that re-runs of "The Love Boat" or "Beverly Hills 90210", but because you have to get a grade in the class, means you pay more attention on HOW to pass the test than you do thinking and pondering the things that are presented to you.

If I was in charge… people would go to school to learn – not just pass tests. Classrooms would be places of conversation between teacher and student – not just lectures. And students who did not participate in the conversations would be kicked out – there’s your F. If you actively participate and learn from the instructor – and others – you pass – there’s your A.