Do you really need that college degree?

Raoul Pascual
Trep Maker, Webmaster

Opinion by Raoul Pascual, WYNK Marketing

The times they are a-changing.

It’s no secret that Technology has been changing the world for centuries. It has created and killed whole industries and institutions. The once almighty print media is struggling for relevance because most people get their news digitally. The last time I looked at TIME magazine it was only 64 pages thin. Hardly anyone reads the Classified section of the LA Times anymore. Where is Circuit City? Where is Barnes and Noble? MySpace got rid of Friendster but Facebook got rid of MySpace. Netflix got rid of Blockbuster but Amazon Prime is eating up its market. Paypal is being threatened by Amazon Store Cards. McDonalds and Coke are at a crisis because their main product isn’t considered healthy anymore. Do you still remember Kodak? How about Thompson monitors? Still “got mail” from AOL? Do you still own a Blackberry? The music and the movie industries are worried as well. People still want to be entertained but they don’t want to pay for it. Once you’ve tasted “free” you expect everything else to be “free.” Not only is Mainstream Media accused of misinformation but they also need to compete with other sources of news. In fact, they can’t afford the hefty salaries of their good reporters that they also rely on the same free source of information — they only package them better.

When something newer, better, stronger, cheaper comes along, you either evolve or you die a slow death. I wonder if the sacred educational institution like colleges and universities follow the same rules of supply and demand. True, there are high-end technologies that require lab work that can only be learned in a well funded research facility but many of the other courses can be learned elsewhere.

Why pay university tuition for a course you can learn in a vocational school? Is the stamp of the degree really that important? Is it worth going in debt? Isn’t the true worth of a person what’s in his head rather than what’s in this framed certificate called a diploma?

Don’t get me wrong. If you have the funds, if you come from a military family with Education perks, or will not have to go to debt then college offers the discipline and the social network that alternate methods do not.

Another problem I have with colleges are professors who have no experience outside in the real world. (Sounds like some of our politicians who make up laws they are immune to). They never struggled for a paycheck. If they are so good at what they teach, why don’t they test it outside their university walls and see if their theories will make them rich? But basketball coaches are not better than their star players. True. But teachers are not in it for the money … they teach because that is their calling. Also true. But how many coaches and teachers do we really need? Someone’s got to “play the game.”

I don’t have the answer. I just know that education is evolving just like everything else. If you are struggling financially just to earn a degree, remember you DON’T HAVE to. There are other avenues to a career. To have a degree but be in debt for life is worse. Especially if it’s a degree that has no job positions open. Especially if what you earn from that degree will never pay off what you paid for college. Hmmm … is that why that professor is holding on to his profession? Is that why he and his institution feed the hype that they are important?

We have to realize that schools are businesses. They need to pay their staff, pay the rent, keep the lights on. They need people to enroll. They need to feel important and for people to believe that they are the only ticket to success. Notice that they never tell you that there’s an unemployment line waiting for you at the end of your educational tunnel. They never tell you that being a doctor or a lawyer means sacrificing your family life. They never tell you that there’s a glut in your industry. How can they? Many (again not all) teachers have never been outside!

Instead of colleges preparing people for a job. I think the emphasis should be to train people to create jobs — help people qualify for a job, then give them the mindset to build something bigger and better. When Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Stephen Spielberg, Elon Musk saw the line of educational relevance in a formal setting, they simply stepped off.

I guess I rest my case.

Related topic: College for the Masses


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