An education, by definition, is the process of acquiring knowledge in order for a person to develop skills that involve reasoning, judgement, and the ability to apply them in actual situations. Nowadays, an education almost always refers to an institutionalised form of learning – a lot like high school (taught in big buildings, uncomfortable classrooms, the occasional crappy group projects, etc) – which we call college. Apparently, everything you ever learned in the days before college is moot compared to the so-called real world education offered by universities and the working smarts of these teachers called professors.
Don’t get me wrong, all of those professors in their respective fields have earned their titles and they can surely back up their credentials, spewing out extensive information that SparkNotes and Wikipedia envy. And of course, college is an absolute necessity if you want to be working in fields such as law, medicine or engineering. Not only is it plain stupid for one to think they could learn to perform cardiothoracic surgery through Youtube, degrees in these select fields are badges of honour awarded to those willing to log in countless hours to their craft.
For students yearning to learn about creative writing, or cultural anthropology or music theory, though, this is when it gets a bit complicated. All of these subjects are great to study and great fields to aspire to work in. At the same time, these are majors that incorporate many books, but that can be learned differently by every student. People who choose these majors can transcend into a number of different careers when, in a lot of cases, training is provided on the job. So why is a university education becoming such a staple when many companies teach their potential employees how to do the work anyway?
Plus, why is college automatically spread out over four years of undergrad work? That first year and a half to two years where students are, ahem, encouraged to take certain elective classes that they do not need are unnecessary. A person wishing to become an elementary school teacher does not need to take a course on astrophysics.
At this point, this notion has transformed into a rant about the glorification of the college experience, since its superiority complex then creates a stigma to those who are not as fortunate to receive a formal education. An education does not exist solely to provide a clean step-by-step guide to navigating life and career, since it all comes down to every individual’s set of priorities.
One thing I did learn in school very early on is that a quote is a great way to start an essay, end a conclusion, and convey a thought more poetically than lazy language can ever muster up. A quote also adds words and pages to that paper you should not have started on last minute…
I have never let schooling interfere with my education
- Mark Twain
Think about it. Educate yourself from what you have learned outside of the classroom. Did you really need to pay someone to tell you to read Shakespeare’s greatest works? Did you really need to take a drawing class and a biology class when you’re striving to be an accountant? College is a wonderful thing. But it should not be the be all and end all to achieving certain dreams.