This blog post will likely touch on a few things, including education, life experiences, the state of the United States economy, spirituality, identity, society, and my disdain for doing anything that does not completely fulfill me.
I’ve always been someone that would rather do something hands-on than read about it in a book. From what I’ve experienced, it’s possible to learn a lot more in a few days of DOING SOMETHING than in a whole semester of reading about it. The words in a textbook really mean nothing until you are LIVING THEM. I always say that the true power of any lesson lies in its application. At least, that’s MY opinion on it, and it’s an opinion that has often hurt me in the realm of academics… During my second semester, I realized that I’d rather be out there kicking ass and DOING THINGS than spending my time getting 15 more units out of the way just to be one semester closer to some crappy office job that I’ve never wanted to have. I really believe that there’s no reason that I, or anyone else for that matter, should have to waste their time doing ANYTHING that does not lead them directly toward achieving their dreams. I suppose that in some cases, there’s no way around that, but currently, I’m fighting to prove that there IS; that I don’t need to get a piece of paper with a college seal on it to EARN the life I want to live. I simply have to gather the experience necessary to live that life.
I also would like to take this moment to say that I absolutely hate the way that college has become an indicator of anything other than one’s propensity to learn. Going to college should be simply about wanting to learn more. That’s what it was for me… It was never about going being able to claim that I was smarter or better than anyone else. I actually left because I realized that, for the majority of people, school was about getting a degree that led to a job that could maybe give them more experience and hopefully get them ANOTHER job (or two) that would potentially give them a shot at doing what they love… you know, when they’re thirty years old or whatever. When I’m thirty years old, I want to be famous for something… I want to have some money, too! Not out of greed, but because I worked hard for it, and I want to use that money to help those who were beaten down by this system of ridiculous tuitions and fees.
Education has become a business. They sell you a diploma for four years of tuition, oh sorry, I meant to say “HARD WORK”, and then get you addicted to it. In a few years, that diploma starts to lose its value and you’ve now got to become a graduate student for a couple MORE years of tuition just to stay competitive in the job market. Higher education has become a socially-required, corporately-run winding path that extends your journey toward your dreams by throwing general education courses and prerequisites at you as if life was some sadistic version of Dodgeball. I don’t want to be a part of that system… EVER.
It’s so silly that employers think sitting in lectures for four years has ANYTHING to do with being qualified for a job… You know what makes someone qualified for a job in MY eyes? Having relevant experiences such as actually working in that field, a similar position, or having certain talents, but the way things are right now, you can’t get relevant work experience without having relevant work experience or a degree… It’s the biggest Catch-22 ever! And, the way that higher education has taken such an indisputable hold on defining people’s credibility and capability, apprenticeships and mentorships now seem to mean nothing in comparison to an “education”. Considering all this, I sometimes wonder why ANYONE would even try to get a traditional job. There’s an overwhelming lack of work out there, AND for most people, prerequisites serve as a way to keep people from ever moving up the corporate ladder… Do people really want to kiss their boss’ ass forever, begging for scraps at the edge of the table? People are working harder every day and get paid less each year! Awesome, you got a 17 cent raise, WOOHOO , but we both know that it’s going to be overtaken by inflation soon enough! So what’s the point of working anymore? I’m honestly wondering if people in my generation will even be able to retire! :( It seems the only way to get by anymore is to sell your body, become an artist, or invent something that’s honestly going to change the world! Haha So, what I’ve been thinking for a while is SCREW being a victim of the system! There’s a lot more merit in starting your own business or building something from the ground up with a dedicated team of people who want to succeed than there is in working at some job for years, being underpaid and under-appreciated. The thing that bothers me most about the job market is that someone can have all the qualities and experience that and employer is looking for, but still get overlooked solely for the fact that they don’t have an “education.” That seems silly to me.
A person’s knowledge (apparently what people think we’re receiving in college) does not define them… As members of society, we carry two definitions… One is the definition that we have of ourselves, and the other is placed upon us without our consent by society; our true definition lies somewhere in between. I’d also go a little further and say that you can’t truly know yourself without striving to discover that sense of self-definition. Without it, you are only what others say you are and forfeit all control of your identity and your sense of self, as well as your potential. Most of the time, especially if you’re particularly rebellious or “deviant”, as I have been labelled before, society’s definition of you is NOT going to be pleasant.
Something I love to hear about is other people’s experiences. If you spend an hour with me, there’s absolutely no way that I won’t ask you a few questions, especially if I sense that you’ve had powerful experiences. Experiences are important to me because they help us learn about ourselves and grow. I would personally rather have four years of amazing, eye-opening experiences than four years of college under my belt.
Going to school has been made so important for some reason… Our society erroneously believes that the only way one can be considered “smart” is if they went to college and wrote a bunch of essays and read a cargo plane of books… As I’ve made pretty clear up to this point, I don’t agree with that at all, but if we’re talking specifically about how one can develop experience and intelligence during college, it would be through the adventures and discussions you have while you’re drunk at college parties and all the friends you make that end up exposing you to things you’ve never even dreamed of! It’s the adventure of being a college student as a whole that leads to experience, not all the schoolwork. You can sit through a million lectures and end up forgetting the vast majority of the content, but what you don’t forget is all the fun you had and all the hard work you put in during your time there. You become stronger because of your experiences, and while that alone might not get you a job in this economy, it WILL give you a broader perspective, IF you’re looking to expand yours instead of simply getting a college degree for the sake of getting a job in a few years.
If you’re a college-goer, I hope you can agree that the true power of a college education is in everything you put into it! The connections you forge, the memories you make, the rigor you place upon yourself… that’s what makes a difference! I’ve got nothing against people who choose to attend college, but I’ll be honest, when you graduate and have that degree in your hands, it won’t mean anything to ME when it comes to my perception of your possession of experience. If you want to prove your intelligence and experience, tell me a story. If I hear your story and know that you’ve spent your life well, then I’ll believe that you possess those qualities. If you can’t do that for some reason, and you think that waving a degree in my face is proof enough (people have done this), I will likely burn it or use it to wipe my ass… just saying.
The world we live in is begging for a new way… for justice, for change. There are many who look around and see only struggle. As someone currently learning and practicing the art of perception, I look at this time of financial hardship, uncertainty, and lack of jobs as our society’s opportunity to change the way we perceive and define intelligence, experience, and worth. Let us all see that a person’s experiences and accomplishments are worth more than any piece of paper could EVER be. Let us never again be held ransom by any requirement of society… Higher education must give up its monopolistic hold on the definition of those qualities we must redefine!
I’ll leave you with a thought that I had last night while reading a lot of dead people’s Wikipedia articles. It’s kind of along the same vein of thought:
“Society is a playwright so proud of his work that even the slightest deviation from the script drives him to retaliate with the force of a natural disaster, judging blindly and killing all in his path.”
– Tommy Maverick