There is a thread going on-line now about education

Some people are reverse snobs when it comes to education.
i am what i am and that better be good enough for anybody.
i dropped out of school and then went back and got my GED.
Good, for you.
Now, answer this question.
Are we supposed to fall all over you just because you did that?
i went back after 18 years, got the BA and the MA and would you like to know why?
Because there was an emptiness inside me that craved to be filled. As i got older the desire for what i wanted to learn changed, but never once did i decide i no longer wanted book learning. i still want it, and do as much of it as i can when i can but that is beside the point.

Three questions were asked.

what/who are you paying for?

Paying for university
i paid for the privilege of talking with some of the most brilliant minds in their particular fields.
i paid for the privilege of being able to pick their brains and be given the freedom to take what they had to offer and apply it to my ideas of the universe.
i paid for the privilege of being able to be in a place where all of the new ideas are spawned.
i paid for the privilege of being able to be a part of that, to be on the cutting edge of any new idea.
i paid for the privilege of being able to sit in a building full of books written by people who are admired all over the world.
i paid for the privilege of being educated by more than just books.
One thing i learned very early on in my university career was it isn't only how much you know, its also about learning how to get the information you don't know. A university education isn't just about book learning. It's also about discipline. It's learning how to discipline your thoughts so that something new/unconventional can come from them. It's learning how to think outside the box.
With the help of the people who helped me acquire the knowledge i learned the theoretical aspect as well as the practical of my areas of interest.
If you have to ask what it is and why you are paying for it, you must not believe that a person's mind has much value, because that is probably the most important part of a university education.
The student is given the opportunity to expand his/her mind. She is given the opportunity to pick the brains of people who have already been there done that and are willing to share what they have learned in the hopes that the next question will come from someone who will take that revolutionary idea to its next level.

Sure, a university education isn't for everyone. Just like coffee isn't for everyone. Just like owning a truck isn't for everyone. Just like living in a relationship that involves whips and chains and collars and cuffs isn't for everyone. But, and this is a big one, there are people who crave it, for whom continuous book learning is like a drug. There are people for whom a baccalaureate degree is enough. Just as there are people for whom there is never enough education. Just because one person doesn't see the need for it, doesn't mean there isn't one.

What will this education do for you?
My education is helping to make me complete. There is still a hole inside me that needs stuffing. Perhaps it will get smaller and smaller with the more studying i do. On the other hand, it could expand more and more as I learn how much there is i don't know. i'm not even talking about stuff i don't know i don't know. i'm talking about in my particular area. And once i get a better handle on what i know i don't know, i will move on to things i haven't even thought of yet.

What goal do you have in mind?

My goal isn't financial security. i know factory workers who have better financial security than i will ever have. The course i have charted to become the complete me has come at a greater expense than mere money. i recognize there are many things i may never have. i have friends who have far more of the material world than i will ever have. i recognize that i may never own my own home again. i may never have a new car. My clothes may come from consignment stores, And i don't care.

My goal is to become complete. That may never happen. i don't believe it's wrong to continue the process. Some may choose to do it through practical hands on experiences. i want both. i want the theoretical as well as the practical. i want to learn, and i want to apply what i learn to other situations.

One important thing i have learned, or at least have accepted is that a degree isn't necessary for me anymore. But i know i must continue to be a student. And university is where i want to be.

There is something innervating about being on a university campus. i feel most alive there. i look at the faces of the students and see the future. It is a rarefied atmosphere, i admit it. And sometimes i forget.
Back when i was working on my graduate degree i read an interesting piece of information. In the U.S. only 16% of the population had completed a university education. Of that 16% only 4 % went on to complete a graduate degree. Of those 4% only 2 % ever completed a post graduate degree. There aren't many of us. And that's ok. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things there aren't supposed to be. i don't know.

But i do get weary of hearing about people who have a snobbish attitude about the particular level of formal education they have received.


Julia Klein

September 2017

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