07 April 2008

College: what is is good for?

By and large today university education provides little to nothing of useful knowledge which we end up using in our professional working lives. Most folks learn much of that on the job, over the length of a career. College provides some knowledge which may be enriching on an intellectual or personal level, and leads to useful professional contacts for budding yuppie dickheads working on their MBAs, but otherwise....is it really worth the time and massive financial investment (literally, since most youth today borrow heavily to finance their tertiary educational endeavors)?

I don't believe it necessarily is.

A university degree by itself is mostly used a credential today. The type of degree and major is not entirely critical at all in cases, though certain degrees will carry you a lot farther than others. A master's degree is essential if you seek to work in anything else besides a traditional professional field like architecture or engineering.

For instance, the profession I work in is really only tangentially related to my university field of study, though it plays a support role for that original field. I use very little of what I learned at university in my daily working life. Virtually all of the technical knowledge that I am required to know to competently perform my job, I learned after I was hired. Of course, with every job outside of food service and sanitation, there is a certain amount of specialty knowledge and specific technical skills that need to be learned for individual positions. But seriously, I had scant background in my current field. But I also hold a college degree of a certain type, and that credential apparently trumped everything else when I applied for the position. (Not that I'm complaining there.)

I suspect that unless you chose a very specific and tuition-busting career (and I thought I had, to be honest!) such as law or medicine, or you decided to become an engineer - where there are more State-supported contractor job opportunities than you will ever know - this will be true for you also.

What's funny is that I enjoy my current field far more than I would have enjoyed working in my original chosen vocation. Life works out that way sometimes.

And then there is this sick need among educators to steer every youth, no matter his aptitude or desire for it, toward college. What a misdirection of resources and a waste of a number of precious years of a confused youngster's life. Excuse me, but isn't this why there are so many remedial courses offered at state universities nowadays? Not everyone is suited for college, people!!! There is no shame in vocational trades. Why should there be, anyway? Let me tell you, one can make good money in those areas. There are many construction contractors who live a whole lot better than I do, and I bet most of them have never stepped foot on a college campus, even a community college (except maybe to do building work).

So many people go to college who shouldn't, and then waste six to ten years of their lives trying to find a field of study they can actually perform competently, and interests them at the same time. All during the while they barely exist, living communally in seedy student ghettos (or even real ghettos) and making only marginal contributions to the economy (usually as low wage food service workers). After a long period they will eventually graduate, just barely knowledgeable in the field of study - and then find that their job prospects as anthropology or women's studies majors are no better than unemployed ghetto Blacks.

Or they wind up dropping out after two or three years and end up working at Wendy's, selling fries and shakes.

Trust me, I've seen it all. And it ain't pretty. What do you think kept me in school and on track to graduate in time?

But I digress. In any case, any Tom, Dick, or Harry who is literate and well-read can be trained for a well paying position if he is willing to learn a business, apply himself, and is at least marginally intelligent. This so-called need for (increasingly expensive) 'university education' is symptomatic of the credential inflation so rampant in America today, which is orchestrated and perpetuated by power elite scumbags who desire to raise the bar higher so that progressively fewer people - or more properly, people not of their background, skin color, or socioeconomic class - can obtain the brass ring that is success in this society.

After all, if there are fewer people coming into the professions, between the wildly inflated (and rising) expense of obtaining a degree (or degrees) and State licensing requirements for many well-paying fields, that reduces competition and allows for higher prices (and profits), now doesn't it? Gee, what a bright idea!

And of course, people without the requisite credentials have no hope of breaking the economic barriers that separate the powerful from the oppressed. No corporation in their right mind would hire them lest they lose their reputation among the privileged - you know, upholding the system and all.

That'll keep 'em low and dumb, like 'those people' should be.

Who are 'those people'? Ask a fascist.