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Old March 28th, 2014, 04:47 AM   #31

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Never give up! Instead of bemoaning the difficulties you face, seek instead the countless opportunities that present themselves to a motivated seeker. Unable to afford college classes, I quietly joined classes for the knowledge alone. If you do that, keep your mouth shut, your ears open and don't take the tests lest ye be caught. The Internet and libraries are almost boundless assets to even the poorest student looking for an education. Ah you will say, but without a printed diploma what use is it? Knowledge and maybe wisdom is the goal of education ... not a degree that will make you wealthy and powerful. No degree without the skills and knowledge that comes from careful intense study is worth much anyway. OK, so today's market place is a harsh mistress. Once you become minimally competent, take the tests and your degree by enrolling for a year. The degree will get you an entry level job ... maybe ... but success requires more than a monthly salary with perks.

It takes time to become established in any career. Your competitive peers have to gain respect for you and your contributions before your services command high rewards. Getting on that first step of the ladder is difficult, and perhaps today the difficulties are a bit greater than they were 100 years ago. Don't despair, don't quit. As we age and gain experience in this age, our interests and expectations evolve. What is important to a twenty something, may have almost zero interest to a fifty year old. Youth is a time for challenges and adventures, so embrace them and build fine memories for your rocking chair years. Adventures are risks almost by definition, so expect setbacks, to lose, to get hurt, and to fail utterly. It's part of your education, and the tuition is worth it usually. This notion that one spends a 4 or 5 years in an institution and is rewarded more money and independence than someone who has labored in the field for decades is bosh.

Live each day, each hour as if it were your last. Work hard and focus intently on what is immediately at hand. Take risks, but calculate them. Have clear and achievable goals, but remain flexible enough to change course 180 degrees if necessary. Don't define success in terms of your bank account, but don't scorn the small profits of daily business. Happiness and despair are transient emotions, so don't expect either to be a permanent condition. Be kind, and forgive easily the forces that seem determined to make you fail. Success and failure are more in our own minds than in the larger scheme of things. Rich is better than poor, so be rich in every respect. Love beauty, justice, benevolence and the endless variety of experiences that the universe has bestowed on us.
I absolutely agree. Although it is at odds with todays culture of 'I want it and I want it NOW!!!'
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Old April 1st, 2014, 01:27 AM   #32

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Nowadays, if a young person doesn't go to college and has a rough time making a living wage, they are told they should have gone to college.

If they get a degree, but it isn't in a STEM field, and can't make a living wage, they are told they shouldn't have wasted their time on something useless.

If they get a STEM degree and can't make a living wage, they are told they are "entitled" for "assuming that a degree guarantees you employment."

Basically the boomers were able to pay for a house, two cars, a wife, three kids and a dog simply by waking up in the morning and walking into a factory after dropping out of grade 10. They pissed away much greater economic opportunities than the millennials will ever see, and now want the millennials to fund their next 20+ years of increasing senility while complaining about how "lazy" the same 20-something are with their master's degrees, four unpaid internships in a row and 1000 hours of volunteer experience, because they work at Starbucks and make minimum wage. It's bullshit. You can't win nowadays.

With that said, I strongly disagree about there being "nothing to regret" about pursuing post-secondary education that one enjoys. Tuition is not cheap. $30-60k in debt with no prospects and no job leaves plenty of time to sit around your parents' couch and think about regrets. Better to have simply spent four years working in a warehouse and reading Cassius Dio in your spare time.



Perhaps it "ought to be" more important in our society, but it simply isn't. I agree with you about detesting the conditions that caused the attitude, but the attitude is based on realities. People need to adapt to survive in this world. Devoting four years to studying humanities is a luxury, not a necessity. And I think that the argument that post-secondary education is innately valuable because it teaches you how to think, while true to an extent, does not give proper credit for the ability of people to learn independently.
In fact every college degree is a luxury and not a necessity. Why would you need a physician if you need a doctor? And why would you need a doctor if you need more hands to work on your farm? And why do we need mathematicians when we got calculators? The usefulness of a degree is always relative.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 11:23 PM   #33

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If you want to make History your "career" I could see how a degree in History would be a waste of money...you are essentially limited to only 1) teaching and 2) writing. However I find History very interesting and could well imagine someone getting a degree in it simply for the educative value/fun of it.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 11:37 PM   #34

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If you want to make History your "career" I could see how a degree in History would be a waste of money...you are essentially limited to only 1) teaching and 2) writing. However I find History very interesting and could well imagine someone getting a degree in it simply for the educative value/fun of it.
Lol! Plenty of former history students has become "more" than simply teachers and authors of history books.
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Old April 7th, 2014, 11:48 PM   #35

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Lol! Plenty of former history students has become "more" than simply teachers and authors of history books.
What else can you do with a History degree?
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Old April 7th, 2014, 11:53 PM   #36

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Well, I know it is a highly dubious example but President of the United States? George W. Bush actually graduated from Yale university with a Bachelor in History.
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Old April 8th, 2014, 12:11 AM   #37
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Well, I know it is a highly dubious example but President of the United States? George W. Bush actually graduated from Yale university with a Bachelor in History.
LOL, surely not the most representative answer...
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Old April 8th, 2014, 12:15 AM   #38

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Well, I know it is a highly dubious example but President of the United States? George W. Bush actually graduated from Yale university with a Bachelor in History.
How exactly did his degree in History (and this is new to me, I thought he only had an MBA) play a primary part in his becoming President?
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Old April 8th, 2014, 01:00 AM   #39
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How exactly did his degree in History (and this is new to me, I thought he only had an MBA) play a primary part in his becoming President?
You do realize that an MBA is a Master's Degree (which is what the M in MBA stands for) and that in the vast majority of circumstances one is required to obtain an undergraduate degree (which for GWB was a history degree) first as a prerequisite, right?
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Old April 8th, 2014, 05:31 AM   #40

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Having a degree does not necessarily mean that a person has an education. I believe that most with newly minted Bachelor degrees are only minimally educated, even in their major. Some will live, perhaps even very successful lives without increasing and improving on the education that they got out of their undergraduate years. The majority will use their educational foundation to build upon, and over the years they will "really" learn what makes their chosen field of endeavor tick.

They will turn the vocabulary and primary skills they learned in college into a reputation for excellence, and some will be rewarded while others just as skilled will never be recognized. Some will be surprised years later to discover that the most important classes they took weren't related directly to any material advantage. None of the Arts program are likely to increase a chemist's bank account, but will make their lives richer anyway. Philosophy and History help us to understand the human condition, and give us the tools we need to effectively ponder the most fundamental questions humans have been asking for hundreds of thousand years. Literature not only kills time, it gives us insights into truths that often can't be found in non-fiction.

Post Graduate work is a lot more fun, and for those with a passion for education it is when our "real" college education begins. A Master's is very useful later in a career, but it doesn't guarantee that a person will have the skills the degree implies. While working on my MPA, I had a colleague who was struggling. I offered to include that person in a study group where she could get some help and support. Her response was, "I don't need it. I paid my money, go to class, so I get my degree". Though she was nearly illiterate, she did indeed get her degree. Now out there somewhere in the world that person is busy degrading the hard work everyone else in the class did. Why did she get the degree? Who knows? It just happens in life along with thousands of other mysteries.

Attending a university with outstanding faculty is a privilege that not all can afford. That doesn't mean that education is restricted to the wealthy. I've known people who never graduated from high school (our purgatory), who were better educated than the average college graduate. They somehow picked up a passion for learning, and they pursue it all of their lives. If for some reason college isn't within reach, they will attend a local Community College, or find a mentor to guide their studies. These folks tend to be big readers, and they can be found in libraries all around the world. Everywhere they find questions that need answers, and they are creative in integrating what they learn into their careers. It seems a shame that their opportunities are so limited, but those I've known are generally happy enough with their lot. They have found the key to their happiness, and it is thinking and learning.

But what about those who don't have the capacity for thinking? They may struggle to read and never master the written language. They can balance a checkbook, and pay their bills without error, but don't ask them to solve the simplest algebraic problem. Their happiness comes from sharing with others, loving their friends and families unconditionally. Their promise is better than any legal contract, and you can depend upon them to do their best every day. They may be simple folk, but they have their dignity and are patient in adversity that are hard for us to understand. They have character, and that is something that some university post-graduates never learn.
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