UPDATE 3.30.11: I recently read this article that pretty much gets at the heart of my thoughts here College for all? Experts say not necessarily…
As I approach the end of my undergraduate college career and think about what in tarnation I’m going to do for the rest of my life, I really start to wonder about what means more: skill or experience? education or aptitude? Is a piece of paper (aka diploma/degree) really a reflection of my qualifications?
Is it better to be really good at one thing, or is it better to just be exposed to a variety of different experiences? Is it better to have a degree that may or may not represent your skill level than to have no degree but possess the skill? If I know how to make a kick-butt website but don’t have a college degree (I really have no clue how to make a website, but let’s just pretend here for a minute), will that speak more than if I have a PhD in web design but am not really that good?
Don’t get me wrong, I think education is very important. The extremely high price tag on colleges these days, however, makes me want to re-evaluate the real meaning behind higher education. It seems that potential employers really just want to see that you have a degree, but it doesn’t really matter what it’s in or what you actually learned to get it. How would they know the difference if I got straight A’s or just barely passed with a C- average? Does it even matter?
I also understand that part of the appeal of a higher education degree is the fact that you were able to make a commitment to something. Again, a noble notion, yet I’m still not convinced this is always the case. What if I just worked in a particular industry at a particular company for 4+ years? Isn’t that a commitment that could be seen as maybe more valuable since I would be getting hands-on training/”real world” experience? I’m inclined to think actual experience in a particular field can be a bit more useful than merely writing a paper about it.
Again, my point is not to bash higher education. I just think there are really not very many opportunities to bypass it and still have a decent opportunity for jobs. These days it is basically a requirement to go to college if you even want to THINK about making a decent living, and even community college can be pretty pricey. If the education itself is what is so important, why cant we have a public option like there is for high school? Right now I feel like I’m going to be paying for a piece of paper that will basically be a mere invitation into the career world. I pretty much owe my school my first-born child at this point, and I still am not guaranteed a job when I get out! Is it just me, or does something seems very wrong about this?
Ok, just had to get that off my chest.
Perhaps this rant is merely a result of my increasing anxiety over finding a “real” job. I’m still going to conform to expectation and get a degree. Such is life I ‘spose…