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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Advantages and Disadvantages of Attending College (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Anand Khalsa
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There was discussion of this topic in a separate post in which I was the OP and was requesting this particular topic be tabled, and I created this thread for those who wanted to continue to discuss it.
Terrible Wizard
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Advantages:

Required for certain professions
Likely increased earnings
Can be lots of fun
Hopefully gives you a decent education and a greater appreciation of life


Disadvantages:

Can saddle you with lots of debt for very little benefit
Might get you stuck in a job you dislike
Might be a miserable 3-10 years
Might be a waste of time that you could better spend pursuing somethig else

Not all college education is equal. There's a huge difference course to course, college to college, student to student. An awful lot depends upon what you actually want to do in life.

I'm not big on the whole: get a degree as a safe option or because of parental/teacher pressure thing, if it isn't really what the student wants to do.

I think it highly likely that whatever one decides then you'll end up wishing you did something else. Regret is inevitable. The grass is always greener, you can't put an old head on young shoulders, and hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Basically, I think it mostly boils down to: "What do you actually, really, in your heart of hearts, want to do with your life (especially before you have responsibilities)?"
Kabbalah
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"Long may magicians fascinate and continue to be fascinated by the mystery potential in a pack of cards."
~Cliff Green

"The greatest tricks ever performed are not done at all. The audience simply think they see them."
~ John Northern Hilliard
TonyB2009
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Advantages: It furthers your education and broadens your mind.

I don't think anything more needs to be added.
Kyoki_Sanitys_Eclipse
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Furthering your education and broadening your mind is good bUT is it 50 to 150 thousand good. You don't have to broaden your mind to be happy. My field is in education and I love learning. I will one day get a phd. However it's not for every body and my cousin would rather farm and be happy than go to school. Am I right and is he wrong in his choice? Also any mathematician knows that the mean of a set of data is unreliable with large outliers. The median is usually a better test of the data
Terrible Wizard
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To be fair, college doesn't always lead to a good education or broaden the mind. I say that as a college lecturer.
imgic
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Quote:
On Apr 8, 2015, Terrible Wizard wrote:
To be fair, college doesn't always lead to a good education or broaden the mind. I say that as a college lecturer.


No offense, but not sure I'd want to sign up for your class.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
imgic
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Quote:
On Apr 7, 2015, TonyB2009 wrote:
Advantages: It furthers your education and broadens your mind.

I don't think anything more needs to be added.


I concur. But would also add that it doesn't need to break you financially.

I completed undergrad and graduate degrees with only $2,500 in loans. During undergrad I worked every vacation and did the RA thing in dorms for room and board. Also, whole not a great scholar and not athletic, I did get scholarships. I did not have help from my parents as they didn't have money (though that did help me qualify for Pell Grants).

My grad degree was 75% paid for by US Air Force, rest out of my pocket as I went thru.

My wife and I did incur some loans as I earned my PhD. For the year of residency required we took extra money to live on so I wouldn't have to work. Otherwise the degree was paid for by company tuition reimbursement programs and extra money I earned teaching.

It's not always easy, but if one wants to go to school (though it's not for everyone, which is fine) they can.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Terrible Wizard
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Who says I was talking about my class? Smile

And who says I'd accept you as a student?

But regardless, it's a truth that many college courses at all levels are neither educational nor value for money. I've been a student and teacher in these types of courses, and I have multiple qualifications that aren't worth the paper they're written on.

I also see, every single year, students who are studying without purpose, or with false expectations, or who have signed up for the wrong course or for the wrong reasons. I see the misery of them failing, developing a hatred for education, getting stressed, developing depression, forming drug and alcohol problems, dropping out, and messing up in one way or another - sometimes drastically.

Some had been told that they should go so as to earn more, some were told that they could become a 'blank' (vet, doctor, architect, music journalist, whatever) when they had no realistic chance at all given their profile, some had gone to please parents or emulate an older sibling, some (many) just drifted ...

There is no one-size-fits-all advice regarding someone's educational future - what is right for one, even many, might not be right for someone else. Students must be considered as individuals, and education (esp liberal and academic) shouldn't be seen as some sort of financial solution or stepping stone to a better life in every case - for many it is a bad choice, and one that can have serious negative consequences.

In my personal experience (for whatever that's worth), I've met very, very few people who were satisfied with their educational choices and who would make the same decisions again if they had their time over. Many picked wrong routes, bad courses, bad subjects, bad colleges. Those who went to university often regret some aspect of it (wrong subject, wrong location, wrong level, wrong classification etc) if not the whole thing; those who didn't go likewise regret their choice and wish they had. People are generally awful at making good life choices, Imho, especially at 16-21 years old. 'Education' (ie, what is sold as education but in reality is often meaningless surface learning and hoop jumping to get a bit of paper, not the real stuff) is often wasted on the young.
imgic
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TW. Apologies. After reading your post I understand where you're coming from and agree with you.

Some most painful things I've seen happened while picking up adjunct teaching gigs at proprietary colleges. These for profit institutions would target kids who did poorly in ACT tests and lure them into classes with promises if good jobs and spiced with excess loan money giving them spending cash during their schooling. I'd see kids finish a two year degree as a medical assistant with $30k of debt and their only prospects being $9 per hour jobs.

Your post is spot on. I think your students are lucky to have you as a professor.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Andrew Zuber
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I am one of the fortunate few, I suppose. I enjoyed my education (for the most part) and while I don't work in broadcast journalism, which is what my undergraduate degree is in, the program is what led me to my first job at NBC, and what got me where I am today. And the MBA really just adds to the strength of my resume. While I work in a creative profession where resumes are used differently than in other careers, being a well-rounded person is a must. To me, that absolutely includes my college experience. I meet very, very few people in my industry who didn't go to college.

As my parents (both educators) put it, college isn't necessarily just about what you learned in class - it's about demonstrating that you put your mind to something and followed through with it. That's a big deal in a competitive workplace.

Admittedly, I didn't have student loans to deal with as my parents planned very well - and very early on - for my education. That said, I'm guessing I would still have the same feelings about getting a college education even if I was paying for it now.
"I'm sorry - if you were right, I would agree with you." -Robin Williams, Awakenings
Terrible Wizard
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No worries imgc Smile - I think we're on the same page Smile. My first post was too abrupt and it was easy to misunderstand.

And I wish I was a professor - I'm not that high ranking! I'm in the UK, mostly teach pre-degree level, with some undergrad degree stuff. But same basic issues at all levels (though post-grad is pretty self-selecting). The UK education system is ... Messy. To say the least.

I just wanted to avoid blanket 'college is good/college is bad' statements - it really, really varies.

If I lived my life over would I make the same educational choices? No way! And neither would my wife, nor most pekple I know.
Wabojeg
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As someone who earned a masters at the tender age of 50, I find this conversation a bit pretentious. I worked full time and sent money home to help support my parents while trying to do my undergrad, thus the eleven years it took me. You talk about going to college as if it is a choice for everyone. That is a bit silly given that there are many people for whom it is not a choice given the cost. There are many incredibly intelligent people who were very stupid in that they chose to be born to parents who were not very good bread winners.
Terrible Wizard
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Indeed, money is a major factor. It's certainly held me back, and I've come across many students who were unable, or very hesitant, to pursue their education further because of financial constraints - and a host of other issues (health, family etc).
stoneunhinged
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Here's the last time we covered this exact same topic: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=32

In that thread I refer to this one: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......&start=0

Recently we got into the subject in this thread, too: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=32

I used to argue that revisiting old topics in new threads is viable, because Internet forums have duscussions--they aren't reference libraries. But in this case I think that there were good thoughts posted in each of this threads, so I think they would be worth reading before re-hashing the same points.

But I can summarize: it's up to the person and the particular college or university. Generalizations are disingenuous.
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