Why Go To College If You Have No Intentions Of Using Your Degree?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by MainerMikeBrown, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    You said its worth it if you could afford it. I said "you mean if your parents can afford it"
     
  2. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    And then I said my parents didn't pay, I got loans.

    But... what is the point you're trying to make now?
     
  3. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Ok so you couldn't afford it, technically.
     
  4. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    If she's paying the loans, and still has a roof and food and clothes and shoes in her feet and paid-up utility bills and and and..., then she could afford it.
     
  5. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Yeah, I could afford it. Just like I can afford my house, even though I've got a mortgage.
     
  6. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Well now we're just arguing about the definition of afford, which I guess I started.
     
  7. Fitzroy Zeph

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributor Contributor

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    I'm sure someone mentioned here already, but ignorance is not cheap.
     
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  8. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    True. It puts you at the mercy of so many unknown unknowns. Known unknowns can be tackled, but an unknown unknown can sideswipe a life. Learning how to look for questions of which you are unaware is even more important than finding their answers.
     
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  9. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    I wonder how much College has changed in the last ~100 years? Currently, it just seems like an extension of high school, with the primary purpose of being a business, rather than an educational institution. Was college always like that? Or is dumbing down something that becomes more accessible just part of the grand plan?
     
  10. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps that and our ever greater sensitivity to the idea that all be included. Also, at least in America, we have a fucked up lack of respect for certain career trajectories that creates a missing counterpart to the traditional "college route" that is equally respectable in the cultural POV. As I mentioned earlier, my diploma from DLI is the paper that opens doors for me, not my degree from U.F. In my career field, people know the DLIFLC and respect those credentials, but when you talk to someone from outside the field and you tell them your story of going to DLI and they ask you if that's an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree and you respond by saying "neither, it's just a diploma", you see the light go out of the person's eyes as if you've mislead them as to what you were presenting as educational credentials. In those moments I always want to scream "You know what? Fuck you and your liberal arts degree living in your mother's basement. My "diploma" (mock sarcasm) has employed me steadily for decades."

    But of course, I bite my tongue. America needs to get on the stick and respect electricians and plumbers and interpreters and all the other people who make life possible and comfortable for everyone. And we need educational routes for these people that are respected and thought of as dignified. We don't have that right now.
     
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  11. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    Whoops, that wasn't what I meant! I blame the wine!
     
  12. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Does "using a degree' include listing it in a resume? Many jobs require a degree just to get the resume read. It doesn't mean you learned any significant skills you didn't already have.

    I ran into that situation about a decade or so ago. I had never completed my degree previously, but had years of experience in my field. Also, I'm always studying to expand my skills anyway. But I took the financial hit and took evening classes to complete my degree. During that time, my own studying suffered as I focused on the required papers and projects. But with the degree, I had a much higher response rate on my resume.

    There were some "soft skills" I did improve in the process, but I wouldn't say those skills justified the expense. On the other had, increasing my response rate on resume submissions was worth the time expended, of not the tuition.
     
  13. Christopher Snape.

    Christopher Snape. Member

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    There's the other elephant in the room: some of us aren't in the USA and are therefore not impacted by deregulated fees.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  14. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Good point. My loans were mostly for my living expenses from taking seven years out of the workforce - the tuition wasn't a big chunk of the cost!
     
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  15. Christopher Snape.

    Christopher Snape. Member

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    That's true.

    I argued constantly with my mother with the whole 'return on investment' shtick; that I should pick a degree that offered a clear pathway so I wouldn't waste my money, rather than the topics I truly enjoyed.

    She was having none of it. Essentially she stated that I go on ahead and pick what I truly enjoy, and that would lead to a job if it was my passion.

    After a while I shrugged my shoulders and went with it. Though I am starting to regret not picking Journalism before the selections closed. Oh well!

    EDIT: I'm sorry if my previous post sounded condescending. I didn't mean to sound uppity or anything. The U.S. is a great place!
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  16. Wreybies

    Wreybies Arroz Con Admin Operations Manager Staff Supporter Contributor

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    LOL :-D No worries. It's the truth, education in America costs a fortune. Welcome to unregulated capitalism. :rolleyes:

    Viva la resistance!! ;)

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. HelloImRex

    HelloImRex Senior Member

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    This is going to sound condescending, but when asking if college is worth it the degree matters. Some degrees are useful and some are useless. A science or engineering degree is useful because of its difficulty to get. Sure, its not that hard, but if you manage to get through you learned how to manage your time at least a little instead of partying everyday to the point of not studying. That's ignoring the possibility of getting a job compared to some of the other degrees. Of course, if you want to do something very specific and you need a very specific degree for it there is no reason not to go for it. However, if you don't know what you want to do and you pick an easy degree, in my opinion its a waste of time. I feel like I can learn about writing more efficiently from reading and places like this forum than I would from getting a creative writing degree at a university. If I was getting a creative writing degree I imagine I'd have no reason not to get drunk all the time and just bullshit my way through course work since failing is harder than getting an a.
     
  18. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Any degree is going to be worthless if you get drunk all the time and bullshit your way through course work. And going to a crappy school (where, apparently, failing is harder than getting an A) would probably be a mistake as well.

    I think the most valuable part of university, regardless of major, is the time you have to work on improving your brain. You can learn about writing more efficiently here or by reading? I don't agree, actually, but maybe that's true. But the difference is that society won't give you approval for spending four years reading random stuff and posting on internet forums. Going to university is a formal declaration that you're in the business of learning, at least for a few years.

    Do some people waste their time at it? Sure, just like some people waste their time on internet forums. But that's down to the individuals involved, not the degree chosen (or even the forum).
     
  19. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Have you gotten a creative writing degree, or had detailed day-to-day discussions with someone who has, while they were getting the degree? This sounds like a rather large assumption.
     
  20. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon.
     
  21. HelloImRex

    HelloImRex Senior Member

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    If you are getting a job directly related to a creative writing degree and you know you want it then go for it. That's using the approval. If you are trying to be a writer or haven't decided what to do, I don't see the point. Ultimately, you get approval by what you write and if an audience likes it.

    If I did does that automatically make my opinion valid? I feel like that question is just there to set me up where I have to say no but doesn't really mean anything beyond that. There are better ways to get a picture of what classes are easier than others. You could look at the pass/fail rates or the amount of people who get A's or survey people on how much time they spent and how hard they thought the classes were. Obviously, each way of trying to measure has problems, people fail introductory science classes to make their parents mad, college students notoriously complain about college taking more time than it does, specific classes have better or worse teachers. That said, everything put together can paint a reasonably accurate picture on what type degree is harder to get. Also, its kind of absurd to think that two degrees would be of the exact same difficulty. As for those statistics, I don't have them, someone does, they probably back me up.

    As for experience, since you wanted to know, I needed some random upper division units so I decided to take some classes in areas outside of my major. They were online classes, though they were still through the university. There was one class in particular about Russian writers, Tolstoy and those guys, where I took the class because I genuinely wanted to read the books and subsequently improve my writing. The first paper I started a little late on but figured I got a reasonable B considering the amount of errors. I got a 98. By the end of the class I had read nothing and was debating whether I should start my 8 page final at 10:00 or 10:30 when it was due at 12. I got an A on it ended up with a high A in the class. Not all of the classes were bad to that extreme, but its not like the best and the worse had that great of a range. So no, I didn't major in creative writing, and no, I don't listen to friend's complaints about school often. Also, a valid criticism is that class was about Russian literature as opposed to creative writing. However, from my experience I conjecture that a lot of degrees are about twice as hard as what I found in my experience if I want to give reasonable possibility for error. That isn't saying much, a science or engineering class is simply graded where a student can objectively be wrong more often. If a class is based on handing in papers rather than taking tests it is very possibly a cakewalk. Think about it, a multiple choice test where you know nothing is a 20% if you have 5 options. A paper you have a couple of days to do with a search engine at your disposal is easy regardless of what its about.

    Of course, now in explaining my view I come off as more condescending because I sound like I'm bragging about my grade in some class of which I don't remember the exact name. I'm not, I'm just trying to point out that if here I had posted any essay I had written in that class it would've gotten torn apart and I would've learned much more for free.

    Congratulations to your grandmother on her 110th birthday. I guess I don't get why she couldn't be a train, they had those before 1910 too. But who am I to question odd, dismissive expressions?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  22. chicagoliz

    chicagoliz Contributor Contributor

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    There are two aspects to this issue:
    1) So many people have college degrees, and in many industries there aren't enough jobs for all of the people who need/want them and are capable of doing them. Particularly with the demise/destruction of our manufacturing sector and the resultant scarcity of middle class jobs, many degrees that did not previously require a college degree had so many applicants who had college degrees that it became a "bonus" for the employer -- for the same money and same job, may as well hire someone with the degree. So then the degree became a de facto qualification for the job, even though the necessary skill set did not require a degree.

    2) The growth and learning takes place as much, if not more outside the classroom during college as it does inside. Fully taking advantage of extracurricular activities gives you great skills that are more directly applicable to most employment situations than knowledge gleaned from a book or lecture. (Which is not to say that those are not important as well.) I would say, though, that people who harbor the misconception that a college degree is purely for the knowledge gained via lectures and books and view it only through that lens are probably better off not going, unless there is a particular field they want to enter that requires that particular degree.

    I don't believe that the benefits college brings are quantifiable. Are there economic benefits? Certainly there can be. (And I know very well that those have been quantified.) But the larger benefit comes from fully immersing one's self into the college experience.
     
  23. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    OK, I'm going to resist the urge for sustained sarcasm and just say that your statement

    makes no sense. I assume that it's just silly hyperbole, but it's too silly to make any sense. In your easy classes, you wrote the papers and took the tests and got As; that was obviously not as easy as doing nothing and failing. It's not as if you would still have gotten the A if you refused to write the paper or take the test, and failing required that you drive out to the professor's house and shout obscenities at him.

    It's there to because someone who makes assertions that denigrate the efforts and accomplishments of a lot of students and degree holders should have some information to support those assertions.

    No, I'm not one of those degree holders; my degree is in mechanical engineering.

    Those may or may not be applicable. A program that has a stringent application process may sucessfully filter out most people who aren't A material, before they set foot on campus.

    Now, you may protest that it's wrong for everyone to get A's! But if everyone is genuinely highly talented, because the not so highly talented were turned away at the door, is it so wrong?

    With a technical degree, you can fairly easily force a normal A-B-C-D-Fail proportion because you can usually transform the material into a numerically scoreable test, and if anything below 92% is a failure, so be it.

    It would be more artificial to force a certain proportion of failures with a less-scoreable subject, and it might be counterproductive. I know that the one graduate course that I took as an undergrad was essentially A, B, or fail, at least for the "real" grad students--if a grad student's work was below B quality, they didn't want them there any more.

    Again, if the people for whom it is hard are filtered out, that will skew the results. A school with not-so-smart students could easily "look" like a better school, because those not-so-smart students would struggle with basic material. If that school continues to serve the same students, but serve them with better and more effective teachers, it will be a better school but look like a worse one, because the students won't find the learning as hard.

    But you can't use that as a gauge for all creative writing degrees in all schools.

    I once took a Shakespeare class, showed up for class without realizing that a test was scheduled that day, and got an A on the test despite not having read the play since junior high or high school.

    That doesn't mean that non-technical degrees are worthless. It doesn't mean that I'm a genius. It does mean that I'm reasonably smart, that my junior high and high school gave me a decent grounding in Shakespeare, and that that particular class was pretty fluffy. It might mean that English and literature classes at my school were pretty fluffy in general--I'll move on to that in a moment.

    Sure, some degree/school combinations are harder than other degree/school combinations. At my school, drama and architecture were sheer unadulterated hell, and extremely well regarded. Technical and science degrees were pretty hard and quite well regarded. English, literature, etc., were relatively easy and probably not all that well regarded.

    I wouldn't have pursued an English degree from my school, because it wasn't sufficiently difficult or well regarded. I wouldn't have pursued an architecture degree, because it was too difficult despite being well regarded, and because I believe that you don't need to be at the absolute top of your profession to work as an architect. (Though I could be wrong.) If I wanted to go into drama, I would have fought tooth and nail to get into that school and survive, because I'm pretty sure that you do need every advantage you can get as an actor or other theater professional, if you want to even earn enough to eat and live indoors.

    I believe that there are creative writing degrees that are both difficult and well regarded. Those degrees don't come from my school, and they probably don't come from yours either.
     
  24. Jack Asher

    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    ...so you, as an upperclassman, took course that had no prereqs, and assumed that the entire department was run exactly like that? And not that the whole class was a gimme for out of major's just like you? Every department has them, all they are there to do is pad a transcript. And then you felt fine denigrating an entire academic institution, based on one, gimme course by an associate professor?

    I don't understand what this is. I think you're trying to be glib, but it fails in every direction. Please stop trying.

    Edited to add: And just for fun, here's a link to the Dunning-Kruger effect.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015
  25. HelloImRex

    HelloImRex Senior Member

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    Failing weighs on the conscience. Failing an easy class is harder than writing the papers simply because of how you feel while you're doing it.

    The other points are valid, but at the beginning of this I stated that if you have a specific goal in mind that it was best to go for it. Everything after was about people who pick a degree not quite sure what they are going to do with it. I said at that point it was better to pick a degree in science or engineering not only because they offer more jobs, but because the classes train you to manage your time better.

    No, someone asked for experience, so I gave experience. It wasn't a great experience I admit. It doesn't take much to assume a schedule of ochem, genetics, cellular neurophysiology, evolution of infectious disease, and a couple of labs is harder than what a person majoring in creative writing would be taking. Sure, I'm having more trouble than I thought I would providing evidence for my point, but does that mean I'm wrong? I should have refrained from babbling about the experience, you're right. It was a bad idea bringing up personal experience without adding emotion to it because personal experience never seems to have the right qualifications to mean anything on the facts alone. There I was arguing on a front that wasn't possible to win without some sob story for which I don't don't have the skill to provide. I argued badly, so I don't know if I have to concede my point now, retract my statement entirely, or just say I argued badly and continue saying what I think. I'd like help from the audience on this one.

    I didn't really denigrate a whole academic institution either, I just said the classes were easier than in some other majors. If you're going to college with no specific goal in mind, why take easy classes? That just seems like a good way to get distracted and not learn anything.

    Yeah, I was all over the place with this argument and I came off sounding bad because of it. The way I wrote it I could've been arguing the world is round and had valid flaws in my logic pointed out. Maybe I'll come back here when I get better at this sort of thing.

    As for sounding glib, well shit. I'm not trying to be pompous, I actually learned a lot from this thread. I learned pathos works better with personal experience than ethos unless it is sharing someone else's personal experience. I learned some people think its wrong to say some majors are easier than others, I probably should've known that one but in real life I'll say that less now. I learned a new odd dismissive expression and that it makes people think I'm pompous when I call it an odd, dismissive expression. I still want to know why they picked a wagon and not a train. Or is it not the type of wagon that sinks in rivers on the way to Oregon? That just occurred to me. In that case why not a wheelbarrow? I just want to know who came up with it and why in the world it stuck as something people say.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2015

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