Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Charted Path

I hate school. I always have. I imagine I always will.

If a person aims to earn a secondary degree (something that is tremendously encouraged in college) they will likely spend a third of their lifetime in school. They'll spend a third of their lifespan figuring out and preparing for their life. Does that strike anybody else as absolutely ludicrous? Couldn't that person just start doing whatever it is they hope to learn about? Even if they're more interested in the esoteric aspects of the discipline, that's great. They'll understand it better if they've gotten their hands dirty with real-life fundamentals first.

I'm retaking a class right now. I failed it the first go through, didn't complete the final project. I got burned out jumping through hoops like an Afghan Hound. Thing is, I know the material. The teacher asks me questions in class. It's not because he wants to make sure I remember from last time I took the class. It's because he's aware I'll know the answer independent of the class.

Grades are necessarily a distraction from actual learning.

I hate bureaucracy. It's a poor excuse to not trust or care about a person or group. Most institutions are a necessary evil because people don't care enough about each other. An imperfect solution for an imperfect creature.

Schools supposedly increase achievement. I think that's only true some (not even most) of the time. They help some, but hold others back. A person may have otherwise thought, grown, created, and achieved in any number of original ways. At school, they do things the prescribed method, or they're a failure. "You did it wrong". Different is wrong. The predominant methods of education are a product of the Industrial age. It's a factory to produce factory workers. Conform, consent, comply, produce, repeat.

I'm too angry about it all to think clearly on the matter. I've tried to be logical, but really this is a reaction to my just hating school. I hate it.

All that being said, I'm not dropping out any time soon, though the thought will continue to nag me till I graduate. The only reason I'm still here is societal and familial expectation. Of my own ambition, I don't care about the degree. Just the highest hoop to jump through so I can get a certificate saying I'm a heck'uva'good hoop-jumper.

I have more to say on the subject, but I'll leave you with this video from TED on how conventional school systems stifle creativity and problem solving.


Pickett said...

I wholeheartedly agree with everything you are saying, except this statement:
They'll spend a third of their lifespan figuring out and preparing for their life.
While yes, the undergraduate years are mostly spent on figuring out what you want to do with your life, by the end you should at least have a general idea of how you want it to go--I mean, you are getting a degree in something if you finish--but if you're going to grad school to "figure out and prepare for life" then you're doing it wrong. Why commit to hundreds of thousands of dollars in tuition and up to 7 extremely hard academic, and not to mention extra, years of your life if you don't know what you want to do?

Also, I know you're counting primary education in your tally, but any normal person (meaning no-deferments-for-missions and finishing a bachelor's in less-than-or-equal-to 5 years) is done with formal education by the time they're 22-23. And let's face it, until you hit puberty and start thinking for yourself, your life really doesn't count. When did any seven year olds change the world? Oh yeah, never, I remember.

rogeber said...

The flip side is that school does increase achievement for those who wouldn't be able to do it on their own. It gives them a degree that qualifies them for a job - which they might not never learn how to do successfully on their own.

In short, if you have no skills and little hope of developing any, school makes sure that you can get a decent job.

Wow, that's pessimistic.

Jasie said...

*sigh* I still don't believe familial and societal expectations are enough to keep you doing what you dont want to do, especially when you talents are most certainly better used elsewhere. Ha. How many times have I told you to drop out of school?

Anonymous said...

Your first graph belongs at the front of every economics textbook. Maybe it should be posted as a Surgeon General's warning on the outside of all campus buildings.

Nancy said...

trust me, when it's all said and done, you'll be glad you did it, familial expectations aside. It will give you relief from the recurring nightmare you'll undoubtably have where you have a final and you've never even been to the class. You'll say, hey I already graduated, and you'll go back to a peaceful slumber.