Archives for category: College

I’ve been listening to Say Anything a lot recently. The music is magic. Apparently they’re not big fans of college either…

I can’t work
There’s too many wars over seas
There’s too much creative juice in me to focus in on that
So I’ll pace around, I’ll chat with your answering machine
As my thoughts drift into the unclean
I have to take a bath
You know, I know, they don’t know anything about you and me and all our kind 
Reasonless, meaningless superiority 
Slaughtered symphonies in our mind 
This college cattle call 
Ships off a hundred herds of young and wealthy work-horse mules
The teachers labeled all the dreamers fools 
“You’re not their fucking tool!” 
You and me can set them free together 
With one hand on each others,
And the other on our weaponry, Read the rest of this entry »

Ken Robinson’s ideas are the kind that make me ashamed for not assuming. The gist of the talk is that (1) you need to be okay with being wrong to innovate and (2) intelligence is diverse, dynamic, and distinct.

Robinson provides context to create an interesting perspective when looking at our system of education. It was created in it’s current form around the time of the industrial revolution and to serve that revolution. This means that the most ‘useful’ subjects are given priority and that academic ability is the only form of intelligence we recognize in most people.

There’s a problem with our definition of ‘useful’ now. We don’t need as many people who are willing to follow directions perfectly now. Math and science are important, but creativity trumps them every time. Nowadays people are less likely to be rewarded for being a good computer programmer than they are to have a creative idea. More now than ever, the people who win are those who can solve problems.

The thing about problem solving and creative thinking is that it requires that you be wrong often enough to come to a solution. We go through school learning that mistakes, not knowing, and being wrong in general is unacceptable. We’re tested to measure how well we can remember what they told us and regurgitate it in a specific way. If you don’t do well, if you can’t concentrate on exactly what want you to, in the way they want you to, then process it in their specified way, you’re not intelligent. You get thrown on a medication so you can win their game. You may have been a brilliant artist or a hyperactive, manic-depressive serial entrepreneur, but now you’re focused on long division. And that’s worth something, right?

It’s widely recognized that there are serious problems with our system of education and there’s a lot of great talk about how to fix it. What I don’t understand is why so many parents and kids realize this and still submit to themselves to it. It’s tough to get around the system in place up until high school graduation. Then there is a question to be asked, one that I don’t think is considered a legitimate question often enough, “should I go to college, and should I do it now?”.

I never let my schooling interfere with my education – Mark Twain

This post has been sitting unfinished and unpublished for about two months. With the release of new studies showing that 45 percent of students “did not demonstrate any significant improvement in learning” during the first two years of college I thought it was time to finish it up.

My purpose for this post is to (1) show that college is not always the right way to go and (2) give ideas for alternatives. Essentially that the question isn’t always “where”, but should also be “if”. You’ll see that I don’t believe college is useless for all people or for all reasons, but that there are a lot of better ways to get an education. Ironically, the University of Florida will be giving me my degree in Economics this May. What might make that slightly less ironic is that I will have spent just 2.5 years in classes to get that degree. Nearly every person I’ve told this thinks I’m crazy, they think I’m giving up some of the greatest time of my life. I’ve enjoyed my time here and have had fantastic experiences, but if I were to graduate high school again there’s no way I would go straight into college. Read the rest of this entry »

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