Low Opinion of Higher Education.

Ever since I dropped out of music school back in the early '90s, I haven't had a high regard for academia. To me, it's always been more of an obstacle one had to overcome to attain a specific career path rather than an education that provides the tools to prepare one for the real world. Far too much fluff. Standards that are woefully inadequate to reach basic competency in core classes. Instructors so far out of touch with the field that even with continued exposure through conferences they still fall back on long-held beliefs and prejudices. Nothing I've seen in the last 25 years has convinced me otherwise.
  
Of course, this has a direct impact on the level of effort I'm willing to put forth to get my "piece of paper". To get a good paying job for sitting around on your ass all day, you need a piece of paper. I could get into one of the skilled trades, make pretty darn good money, and have a high level of job satisfaction, but at this late date I'm a bit long in the tooth and broken down for it.
 
When I graduate, I'll get my piece of paper and be no more qualified for any given job than I was when I went in. I will be "certified" by a regionally accredited university to do something, and it's been a pretty low bar to get over. I put in minimal effort and maintain a respectable GPA. Even that has been a stretch to get motivated for. Just give me the piece of paper already.
 
For this degree, everything has been online. It's been quite a while since I stepped in a college classroom. Maybe my sense of accomplishment would be different in a face-to-face environment, although it would be harder to hide my disgust. Behind a keyboard, I can edit and rephrase comments. The "WTF?" look is obscured.
 
I hope my next degree, a more concrete and practical course of study, will introduce me to actual tools and approaches I haven't been exposed to before. I'm hoping to actually learn something useful, not just tricks to conform just enough to the academic environment to get by. Getting by is exhausting.
 
A couple more classes and I'll have a piece of paper. Somehow I just can't muster any enthusiasm. It will go in a drawer somewhere with birth certificates and car titles, to be produced only when required. It's certainly not going to be framed. None of my degrees or certifications are. They're just pieces of paper. Kind of a sad way to view higher education, the institution everyone seems to thinks separates the ghetto from the suburbs, but there it is. I'm not impressed.
 
Stay in school, kids.

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