Thursday, June 27, 2013

Read an article, last night.

It basically made the argument that a college degree isn't an investment but an opportunity.  Said that everyone, especially those pushing college as the only method by which to haul yourself up out of poverty, were looking at it the wrong way--instead of being a full-on investment like bonds (which come with a disclaimer that past results don't predict future performance) , it was a chance to increase your own value by adding to your knowledge base.

I think the author, George Leef, is spot on.  I've seen students who came in ready and willing to work hard, greedily gathering information and knowledge to themselves--those were the successful students, and the ones I could see succeeding later.  I've also seen too many of the other type: the ones that skate through on the minimum, the ones that refuse to try, the ones that expect everything to be handed to them because they sat through their women's cultural studies degree.

Leef ends by saying (and illustrating) it's not the degree, it's the work you put into improving your own value by whatever means suit you best, whether that's a degree in a useful discipline or a set of professional certifications and foreign language fluencies that combine together to make you an attractive proposition to a non-traditional career. 

4 comments:

  1. Unless you look at those who go to college and work hard as putting sweat equity into their investment. Think of that hard working undergrad as a self-employed entrepreneur, who is sinking current and future income into something that should pay off if she works her tail off and gets the most out of it.

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    1. That's the way to see it, not as "this piece of paper guarantees me a corner office."

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  2. And I suspect those "greedy for knowledge" types would succeed more or less anywhere, and the ones who want to sit on their cans and be fed stuff, and who believe that the piece of paper entitles them to a job and a $70K salary, won't.

    And I get really tired of the people who expect maximum return for minimal effort.

    I have a friend who likens going to college to joining a gym. You can join a gym and go and work out regularly, take classes, get pointers from the trainer, and you will get stronger (or slimmer, more flexible, whatever you want). Or you can join a gym, rarely go, and bitch about how you're still weak and fat and how the gym is no good.

    I'm not sure how many of her students pick up on what she's saying there, sadly.

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    1. Probably a few (the ones already putting in the work), but not many.

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