Wednesday, June 29, 2011

College and its value

Lately several FB friends have posted articles that are critical of the value of college, at the same time several prominent blogs have been trashing the economic sense of attending college.  I think that even more than questioning the value of the undergrad experience vs the value of not starting your "adult" life in debt, some of these attacks are focused on if we are actually learning in college.  In that instance I am actually in agreeiance, as I was severely disappointed with a number of my undergraduate courses.  The material stale, the teachers on autopilot, and "knowledge" out of date.  Really the two best classes I had where from outsiders so to speak, professors that had just arrived fresh from industry.  Their current experiences really spoke to me more than one aging prof's long winded stories about the Kibbutz back in the 70's.  One of the newly minted professors had a side business that was leveraging the exploding commercialization of China by selling typewriters.  Typewriters, because then as now, the rural districts that where trying to modernize didn't have reliable electricity, so filling out forms on computer was not reliable enough for them.  He claimed to clear about $1 million dollars and had orders booked for the next several years, selling an antiquated technology to an exploding market.  The biggest lesson was opportunity is not where you might expect; sometimes large opportunities exist in where no one is looking for them.

I am conflicted about the college experience, as my position might not have been available to me without a degree and my wife's job as well might not have been available to her so on the one hand I absolutely believe I needed a degree on the other hand my coworker has an associates degree and has virtually the same pay and responsibilities.  Very little of my day to day job function can be tied back to my education and particularly my degree program.  Most of the things I took from college are social in nature, the network I gained from being there.  The friends, my wife, my time on the swim team are all tied to the social nature of the "full undergrad" experience.  I really enjoyed the social aspects of my time at college, and had it been fully covered by grants and scholarships I probably would be less bitter about my perception of the quality of the education.  That I paid for it, and continue to pay for the "education" I received makes me take the position that in dollars and cents my college didn't make sense for me.  My job and the way I started out in the industry would have been virtually identical, the difference is I got to make some mistakes in the relative safety of college, rather than loosing a real job.  I can say that I wouldn't do college over again, or at the very least I would have gone to a different college.

So I'll leave you with this.


  1. hahaha lol that guy knows nothing.
    too bad.
    +1 for you!

  2. College is only for your CV and for wasting some money and some years.

    You can visit my NEW blog here.

  3. I'm in college. By the time I graduate I will be over 100,000 in debt with no where to start. I don't know how this is going to work. I think a lot of people are just realizing this be a good kid and go to school gig is not all it's cracked up to be. I've had great experiences and learned a lot but my education is going to limit me from pursuing certain dreams immediately out of school. It's going to be sink or swim and well I just can't get behind consumerism and I have no competitive spirit - fits so well with graphic design pfft. Young and dumb and I want to change the world. I think that's where a good deal of people my age are at. We're really just tired of all of society's games.

  4. Depends on your point of view, and what kind of degree you wanna take. Taking any kind of arts degree probably isnt a good idea; it has limited potential at postgrad and isnt really worth the £9,000 or so a year it would cost (in the UK anyhow). But if you're taking an academic subject with links to many postgrad oppurtunities (like History or Law) then you may just end up hitting it big with the £25k+ a year post grad positions.

  5. Yea i know i agree with this college is kind of a rip off, nothing is guaranteed. "/