11 June 2014

About College

This is something that cuts close to the bone of the purpose of the University. Is this purpose to impart “Wisdom”? Does it pretend to impart “Knowledge”?

A job lead? A 4 year+ vaycay with hot and cold running sex and drugs?

A nation of robots reciting the orthodoxy?

I will supply (as is my wont) my observations about the University system.

  1. the University is a relic of the time of Erasmus, the last man to have been acknowledged to “know all that was known at the time.

  1. Minority rule has destroyed the scientific AND critical methods

  1. that basic math at least to the extent of making change, and basic English, to the extent of being able to write a basic sentence, is no longer required.
This will not be easy. The success of the High School system is defined by the percentage of graduates who proceed to college. Basic skills and trades have no bearing in this, but FemStudies (pardon, Gender Studies) and Victimology have a high value added? The graduates must then be trained to operate Starbucks machinery and order processing procedures, but they are too much the special snowflake to run the cleaning ritual, which is why when I go to a Starbucks I get a glass of ice water and tip the counter person a buck (I'm using the free wifi after all) rather than getting a cuppa Earl Grey.

How about those High School graduates who don't make it to college? You know why you can't get a plumber on weekends? He's out on his boat with his wife and kids. Your mechanic? Working on his hot rod (“I was offered $60k for that T-Bucket, but it's my baby man!”). Don't get me started on electricians. Your HVAC guy? Off with the family at the lake cabin. Hell, the yard crews, the painters, the form carpenters, there all sending money home para los abuelitos y la familia.

But they're all failures, of course. No college degree. Nice house in a not too nice neighborhood (but their yards are well kept), boat or RV in the driveway, or maybe a Harley in the garage. Maybe they buy used cars rather than new, but that's smart, right? New car loses half its value when you drive it off the lot. Maybe they eat too much processed food, dammit the kids like Mickey D's on Thursday after practice. So they wear cheap clothes to work, but see them on the way out of Church on Sunday.

They do work hard, you know. Busted knuckles, smelly shirts, jeans taken off in the garage and deposited directly into the trash, boots that you keep in the back of the truck, and (horrors) dirty fingernails.

By all means, go to college, but make it work. If you want to do liberal arts, you are wasting your money unless you either (a) want to become a teacher, or (b) go to an Ivy. If you want to do science or math, you've got a limited menu: MIT, Princeton, Rice, Cal Tech, some few others, and you’d better be prepared to slog it out to a PhD unless your career plans are test-tube washing or calculating actuarial tables. There aren't really any truly bad engineering schools, though if you live in Texas Rice and TAMU have a local cachet.

And if it doesn't work out don't be too proud to get some dirt under your fingernails.

No comments: