July 4, 2013, 6:00 am

My Biggest Issues With College

by: MD    Category: Career
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“If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the library.” — Frank Zappa

I’ve been thinking a lot about college lately. I’ve been living with my cousin, a bit outside of Toronto and we have lots of friends that are still students. Some of them are in graduate school and some are still undergraduate.

The idea of college has popped up a lot lately and has been a hot discussion. I have friends that swear by school and will likely be in school for the next 10 years. Then I have other friends who got out as soon as possible and never looked back.

In all of this discussion, I’ve come to realize that I have a few huge problems with college in general. And luckily I have a place to voice my opinions where we can have a mature discussion.

What are my biggest issues with college right now?

It’s so inflexible.

You just have to accept everything. You can’t challenge anything. You can’t deviate at all. You either take it or leave it.

There’s no flexibility at all.

When I was in school, I always tried to work full-time hours. As a result, I took summer courses often. This was never easy. Courses wouldn’t be offered at certain times or I couldn’t take over a certain amount of courses.

There was just no flexibility in terms of courses. You have to take the courses they want you to take, when they want you to take them. I was a huge fan of taking the difficult courses in the summer to get them out of the way. For some reason, my college always made this so difficult for me.

Another point on flexibility — school takes up a lot of time, energy, and focus. This is time or energy that you could be directing at so many other projects. You could do so much more with your time and energy.

And it takes four years just to earn a basic undergraduate degree. Specialization? Another few years.

One person determines you results.

It’s scary how one person is in charge of your future. You get one bad grade on an assignment or a professor doesn’t agree with your thesis, and you could get a grade that brings your average down.

Isn’t it scary how one person determines everything? I think it’s pretty damn freaky.

Even worse is your thesis. It gets graded by a panel and only a few people will ever read it. Every blog post you can write online will be guaranteed to be read by more people.

One size does NOT fit all.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” — Albert Einstein

We all learn differently. We all react differently. So why is everything so standardized?

I saw friends receive horrible grades (by their standards) in classes because they messed up a presentation. Guess what? Not everyone is charismatic. Why should the introvert suffer because they got nervous during a presentation?

School isn’t for everyone.

I have a friend who is only in school because his parents are forcing him to be. The problem is that he honestly doesn’t have the skill-set to be in school. He’s very handy and could build anything. Instead of getting into trades, his parents forced him to attend a big university. He doesn’t like his program and has no interest in any of his classes. Yet, his parents won’t let him drop out because they want him to get that degree. He wants nothing to do with the degree. He has failed a whole year. His parents have lectured him. Still, he spends his summers making good money in his trade. Then suddenly when the fall rolls around he’s forced back to college where he hates it.

My point here is that college isn’t for everyone. We can’t assume that every single person needs to go to college. Some folks are more skilled in other fields.

You’re avoiding life.

You need to stop avoiding life and hiding behind college.

Real life isn’t that scary. It’s actually pretty fun.

I see far too many of my friends hiding behind the whole college system. They stick around in school because they don’t want to look for a job. They love the student status.

The school loves it because the means more revenue. It’s far too easy to hide in college until you’re 30.

Oh and worst of all…

You don’t make money.

I know, I know. Money isn’t everything. Knowledge is power. I agree with that. That’s cool.

But who’s to say that you can’t acquire knowledge while working or doing something else? You don’t have to be a formal classroom to learn a thing or two.

Learning is great. Being flat broke in your late-20s sucks.

Those are my issues with college right now. Did I come off too strong? Do you agree or disagree with any of them?

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Comments

I agree with you 100%. One of the great follies of are time is how everyone is led to believe they have to go to college. Not only does it not play to everyones skill set, it is leaving our young people with an unprecedented amount of debt. When yo combine that with a declining economic situation the prognosis for the future doesn’t look all that good for America.

One person determines you results – This is a huge problem for the PHD program. My brother gave up after 5 years because he wasn’t getting anywhere. That sucks.
I still think an undergrad degree is good. It’s a good place to learn and network. If you get a good job afterward, then it’s not that hard to pay back the loan. If you couldn’t get a job……. That would suck.

@Jennifer You’re right. College is definitely not for everyone. We all have our own unique strengths.
@Joe Sorry to hear about your brother. Undergrad is awesome for networking because you’re all in the same boat. The only problem is when your field of study doesn’t lead you to a job.

Did you work full time in a job relative to your studies? And how did you balance school and work each semester? I am in uni now and can barely handle a part time job!

@Connie I worked many jobs in school. My recommendation is to get a job on campus. They pay well, have flexible hours, and you’re forced to be at school.

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