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College Graduates

College GraduatesOne year after our oldest daughter graduated from BYU, our son-in-law followed suit. Yesterday we watched him file in amongst the rest of the class of 2012 to Pomp and Circumstance and then, later, walk by the podium to receive his diploma.

I sat thinking back about 25 years, when I receive my bachelor’s degree from the same university and when my husband received his integrated bachelor’s/master’s degrees. Four years later, he marched again to get his hood and his PhD.

College is an interesting animal. It is fun, demanding, social, stressful. I can be the means to learn a trade or to know yourself. It can be the best investment of a lifetime or a colossal waste of resources.

So much depends on the student and the rest depends on the professors and the institution.

How much are linguistics courses in Los Angeles or graphic design schools in Miami really worth? Are large, prestigious, extravagant schools of higher learning really worth the big money? Or will a small, local community colleges fit the bill?

I know a couple of things for sure:

  • I’m a big proponent of college attendance (my oldest daughter is in graduate school and the next two are undergrads)
  • Kids take college more seriously when they are seriously investing in paying for it
  • Education is what you make it
  • Government loans and grants make college more expensive overall
  • Colleges require a lot of really dumb, non-educational stuff
  • Our current school system (including upper education) isn’t remotely the most effective, efficient way to educate people

If I had my druthers, I’d get government out of the education business entirely — from pre-school to post-secondary school. Then I’d engage in true reform that focused on no nonsense, no twaddle, no conflict of interest education. So much more could be done with so much less time and money.

If you could do anything, how would you reform education in your area?

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • DiNaRa April 22, 2012, 8:59 am

    If I could change the educational system in my area, I would make it more practical oriented and I would pay more emphasis on practical skills. But our goverment seem to know better as they reform school and university education every year and many graduates have no idea how to implement the knowledge in their life.

  • Olya April 25, 2012, 7:03 am

    I have to agree with DiNaRa, if I had the power to find a way to teach students how to apply theoretical knowledge in practice and try to create more interdiscipliary programs that draw on knowledge from different areas of study and make it applicable. Just to give a quick example, I did my Bachelors in Near Eastern Studies, and among program graduation requirements was a course in Biblical Hebrew. OK, Biblical Hebrew may be a good language to learn for someone who’s interested in the ancient history/anthropology/archaeology of this region, but for a student who wants to learn modern geo-politics of the region, a single course in Biblical Hebrew is more like an expensive waste of time.
    Olya recently posted…The Life and Styles of Retirement Homes in MontréalMy Profile

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