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Old 06-02-09, 08:42 PM   #1
no1mad
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What's the point of college education?

Really.

I've been given the opportunity to have up to a Bachelor's degree financed for free (Vocational Rehab). After just finishing the second semester of the freshman year at a community college, I find myself second guessing my decision. I remember now why I've tried college before (3 times over 15 or so years) and didn't stick with it. I really only want to learn that which would start paying the bills the quickest.

I'm considering telling my case worker that I've changed my mind. I think that I would be happier just learning a trade, instead of earning a degree.

/rant.

Discuss.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:02 PM   #2
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Really.

I've been given the opportunity to have up to a Bachelor's degree financed for free (Vocational Rehab). After just finishing the second semester of the freshman year at a community college, I find myself second guessing my decision. I remember now why I've tried college before (3 times over 15 or so years) and didn't stick with it. I really only want to learn that which would start paying the bills the quickest.

I'm considering telling my case worker that I've changed my mind. I think that I would be happier just learning a trade, instead of earning a degree.

/rant.

Discuss.
When they say college isn't for everyone, they didn't just refer to dropouts and the academically inadequate.

To me, I saw university as a direct gateway to increasing my ability to find jobs that actually mean something. To me, "meaning something" involves working with computers and helping people. The farthest one can get without a Bachelor's nowadays is independent IT consulting, and that's if the person is incredibly lucky and has a deep network pool. However, even if you do reach that level of work, finding people that will actually pay you serious money for your work will be tough, since few people are willing to see beyond someone without college education. (Best Buy is far from serious money, unless you live with your parents and have minimal bills. But I don't think many people want to be there at 35.) The age of entering the corporate world by showing someone your skills is mostly over, at least in our vocation.

With that said, if you have not the slightest motivation to enter a corporate workplace, then college might not be that useful. Yes, college is a haven to enrich your intellectualism and become a more well-rounded person, but many of the studies available to students function more as pathways to graduate studies instead of assistants in landing them specialized careers.

If I were in your position, I would go, as the main detractor for many people wishing to go to college is money...
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Old 06-02-09, 09:09 PM   #3
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It's your chance to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to be come more well-rounded.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:17 PM   #4
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You have to work at a job that will make you happy. Sometimes that doesn't always involve a college degree.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:26 PM   #5
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I lost my full-ride when I elected to leave before getting a degree. I've lived a full and meaningful life. I've enjoyed it immensely. I've recieved accolades for what I've accomplished. I've recently witnessed several HR directors almost cry as they find themselves unable to employ me because of either, their corporate requirements or collective bargaining agreements and my lack of degree. I'm currently working with the third one who is attempting to create a new position in an effort to hire me. The first two failed. Not at creating and justifying the new positions they created but in getting them defined without degree requirements.

You can probably guess how would respond if I were in your situation.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:28 PM   #6
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College isn't just about studying. It's also about learning more than what's in the classroom, interacting with people you might not otherwise hang out with, and of course, partying.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:34 PM   #7
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I love college. I'll admit that my age and the fact that I haven't stepped into the "real world" makes it better. The social part of it might make it worthwhile, but there's more to it than that. Edification. I feel like college has honed my thought process, taught me reasoning. It has of course done wonders for my writing and speaking abilities. When I am surrounded by and talk to smart and educated people (eg. professors), I feel like I become smarter and a better communicator. I enjoy learning and feel the experience conditions my mind in a way that I like.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:35 PM   #8
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My brother never went to college and he's the sous chef de cuisine (2nd in command) for a hotel kitchen at some snazzy golf resort in Arizona. Free golf, all sorts of hotel discounts across the country with the resort chain, nice benefits. He's better off in his career than some of my friends who did go to college.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:36 PM   #9
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With that said, if you have not the slightest motivation to enter a corporate workplace, then college might not be that useful.
I know you know this, but I'm gonna say it anyway. College isn't just for those wanting to work in a corporate or office environment.

Edited to add, neither does a corporate environment always require a degree. (Wasn't it Gates that didn't finish college? Or am I thinking of someone else?)

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Old 06-02-09, 09:36 PM   #10
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I'm 30 and going to school. I spent 12 years working on things I enjoyed and decided I wanted the challenge of an education and I also didn't want to keep seeing my friends die. That sucked. There are some jobs that require an education, so that's what I'm doing, but if you're happy with something that doesn't require the huge amount of time and expense, then by all means, do that.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:37 PM   #11
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Oh, and having a degree is something that will always be with you, always helping you. It will make job searches perpetually easier.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:38 PM   #12
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I know you know this, but I'm gonna say it anyway. College isn't just for those wanting to work in a corporate or office environment.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:48 PM   #13
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I really questioned my 1981 Bachelor's degree when I was looking for a job, holding a B.A. in Psychology in a crappy economy. It did help me acquire a position in the military, and then, finally, in 1989, got me a foot in the door to what has become a respectably well-paying job. I figure I earn 2x or 3x what I would be getting now without it. Definitely worth it to me - even though I do have to put up with some really stupid crap on the job (like most folks do).
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Old 06-02-09, 09:57 PM   #14
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I love college. I'll admit that my age and the fact that I haven't stepped into the "real world" makes it better. The social part of it might make it worthwhile, but there's more to it than that. Edification. I feel like college has honed my thought process, taught me reasoning. It has of course done wonders for my writing and speaking abilities. When I am surrounded by and talk to smart and educated people (eg. professors), I feel like I become smarter and a better communicator. I enjoy learning and feel the experience conditions my mind in a way that I like.
Then why do you come here to ask such spectacularly rudimentary questions?
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Old 06-02-09, 09:58 PM   #15
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I know you know this, but I'm gonna say it anyway. College isn't just for those wanting to work in a corporate or office environment.

Edited to add, neither does a corporate environment always require a degree. (Wasn't it Gates that didn't finish college? Or am I thinking of someone else?)
Bill Gates didn't finish college, you're right. That was also 30 years ago. The atmosphere of corporate America has changed a lot since then. Jobs that were 20 years ago part of an emerging field are now commonplace and you have to compete for an entry level spot; just knowing your stuff doesn't make you a shoe-in any more.
Not that you can't get a corporate job w/o a degree, but it's going to be more difficult that 30 years ago. My uncle worked his way up to a high-level executive job over 30 years with the same company, and had wet-behind-the-ears MBA graduates under his command who were questioning his ability to manage the department due to his lack of an advanced degree (he actually had a 2-yr Associate's degree.) The company 1) had to explain to these kids that more years of experience in the company than they've been alive counts for more than an MBA, and 2) sent my uncle for night classes to get his MBA just to shut the kids up.
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Old 06-02-09, 09:58 PM   #16
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You can get your Bachelor's paid for, so why not use it to learn to do something you want to do?

That being said, I wholly disagree that a college degree will necessarily make your life better.

But then, I'm far from the one to ask about this kind of thing. I'm 24, have a Bachelor's degree in physiology (worse than useless, for the most part). I still don't know what to do with myself. Probably never will; I kind of want to do everything, but don't really do any one thing particularly well, and I've accepted that. That being said, I would really like to make more than 13k a year, and I'd like to have health insurance, so I really just need to pick something feasible and do it. Nothing's going to jump out and bite you and tell you what to do for a career. That's my opinion, anyway. If only I weren't a hypocrite.

Basically, I think you just have to pick something you can tolerate that won't dominate your life. I think it's entirely possible for someone to not ever be able to find a traditional job that suits them and still pays relatively well. You will never like everything about your job. As long as it's not your whole life, it's doable.
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Old 06-02-09, 10:04 PM   #17
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The year before I started school, my salary was around $9k. My first job after college... started at $45k. No-brainer.
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Old 06-02-09, 10:14 PM   #18
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So, by and large, the consensus is to go for the degree.

I'll concede that an education is important. What I'm studying and what I want to study aren't the same.

Before the Dr. told me I was legally blind, and that my vision could basically go overnight, I was preparing to go back to school on my own. I've been in the warehousing/logistics field for a little over ten years now, and love it. I was going to pursue an ISOCOM degree, but now I don't think that would be the wisest. Currently taking Psych/Sociology courses towards a Rehab Services degree, which means I'll be a counselor for people dealing with disabilities.

If I stick with the school thing, I just might try to pull off a dual major: the aforementioned Rehab Svcs and a I/O Psych (which is the closest I can get to an ISOCOM). It's gonna be rough while working as many hours as possible to try and keep a roof over the family's heads...
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Old 06-02-09, 10:14 PM   #19
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To quote Woody Allen, "Everything your parents told you was good for you is bad for you...sunshine, milk, red meat, college..."
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Old 06-02-09, 10:30 PM   #20
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When they say college isn't for everyone, they didn't just refer to dropouts and the academically inadequate.
Exactly. I just left school with an associate of the arts degree after going to school for 4 years, not because I'm a moron, but because general education is not for me. In order to sit in a classroom and actually pay attention (I bull****ted my way through high school and most of college with a 2.7-3.0) it needs to be a situation where I know I'm going to be applying that knowledge in a few weeks, not years down the line. Like, a couple weeks ago my boss had a few of us supervisors take a certified pool operator course and I aced the test after studying the book for an hour...because it's knowledge I use daily.

My only regret about going to college, is that I had to go there in order to find out that it wasn't for me. I had great times and learned a lot about everything except anything related to academia, but I don't think college is going to factor much into my life.
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Old 06-02-09, 10:52 PM   #21
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Exactly. I just left school with an associate of the arts degree after going to school for 4 years, not because I'm a moron, but because general education is not for me. In order to sit in a classroom and actually pay attention (I bull****ted my way through high school and most of college with a 2.7-3.0) it needs to be a situation where I know I'm going to be applying that knowledge in a few weeks, not years down the line. Like, a couple weeks ago my boss had a few of us supervisors take a certified pool operator course and I aced the test after studying the book for an hour...because it's knowledge I use daily.

My only regret about going to college, is that I had to go there in order to find out that it wasn't for me. I had great times and learned a lot about everything except anything related to academia, but I don't think college is going to factor much into my life.
I'm pretty much the same. I'd rather learn the specific knowledge for the job, and then take the gen eds at leisure later.
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Old 06-02-09, 11:12 PM   #22
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If someone else is paying, for goodness sakes go.

I have an A.A., one semester at a four year, $4000 in debt and no real job.

If somebody offered to pay my way I'd be back at a 4 year in a split second.
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Old 06-02-09, 11:28 PM   #23
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Then why do you come here to ask such spectacularly rudimentary questions?
About calc 2?
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Old 06-03-09, 12:05 AM   #24
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A semi-necessary evil/cog in the machine that fattens the wallets of couch potato, George Carlin worshipping professors. Thank god my degree was free. Anyone w/ any real world, thought provoking experience(s) should find college to be a step back in their evolution.
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Old 06-03-09, 03:58 AM   #25
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The bachelor's degree is what a high school education was a decade or so ago. No degree, and your resume gets roundfiled because its just a filter to weed out candidates. A degree means your resume will actually be put up to the keyword searches.

These days, a high school education gets a person a McJob, as Wal-Mart knows they will be able to read pay stubs and follow basic health rules when cleaning an aisle. A B. S. gets a person something that in a couple years, enough experience has been obtained, or a niche has been carved that a reasonable living can be made. For the jobs that actually will get you a decent car (or bike), a decent home, and other cool things, you either need to go back to college for a J. D., a M. D., a Master's, or carve yourself a niche in the field.

Another advantage is layoff time: Yes, your hiring manager may not care about what degrees or certifications one of their employees has because they are very good, but the HR guys and upper line managers don't know or care about how good someone is, and will hire and fire by how many pieces of paper someone has. During layoffs, if its not senority that is the main criteria, the people with the fewest letters behind their names go first.

What is ironic is that a M. S. opens doors. However, in some cases, a Ph. D. shuts doors because employers think that someone is too specialized.

To sum up my rambling: Now is a very good time to stay in school and finish up your degree. Unless you are very lucky or well connected, jobs are extremely hard to come by. By the time you get your B. S., the economy should have improved where you can get something that will pay the bills.
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