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I’m curious Mike…

From the MRW Water Cooler

Q. What are your feelings on education? Did you start school with an idea of what you wanted to be or a degree you wanted to pursue? It seems you are a well-rounded individual and I’m just curious if there was anything you had ever considered pursuing as a career. You are obviously a gifted writer and enjoy reading; well versed in literature. Also you seem to have some historical knowledge. You have musical talent as well. My point is that you’re a pretty smart guy and could have done anything. I also think you’d make a great teacher. Do you feel you would be as successful with a college degree or white-collar job/career as you are with DJ? I’m finding it more difficult to stay motivated about my own college education, which is something I want for myself and in some weird way wouldn’t feel totally accomplished without, simply for the fact that I know I can do it. There are many areas of study I enjoy (as mentioned previously) but it’s hard to decide. It’s also a matter of following through. I don’t really know what my point is, or even if I have one. Just interested in your thoughts on the subject. Anyone else please feel free to contribute. Thanks.

Clemance

A. Hi Clemance,

When I finished high school, I was completely lost. Absolutely no idea about what I should I do, other than a certainty that I would not make my living fishing, farming, teaching, or working in the trades. I grew up surrounded by such professions, and decided for many reasons to go another way. So I enrolled in a community college, and studied Acting. Then I studied Music. Then I studied English. When I got my AA Degree, I transferred to a four-year school, and kept taking courses that interested me. History, Philosophy, Literature, more Drama, and a bunch of other stuff that satisfied my curiosity but did little to assure me a job when I graduated. Point is, I didn’t stay in school because I wanted to graduate; I stayed because I remained curious. And I’m really, really glad I did. So I guess what I mean to say is, stay curious Clemance, and if you get your degree, let it be a result of that.

Mike

PS It occurs to me that a lot of people might expect a guy who is trying to build an on-line resource that celebrates the trades to take a more skeptical view of the default wisdom typically associated with getting a four-year liberal arts degree. That’s tricky. I would never discourage anyone from gaining as much knowledge and skill as possible, in whatever way makes the most sense to their brain. For me, college worked. However, the real-world payoff of getting a college degree has been the beneficiary of a very effective PR Campaign in play for the last 50 years. Consequently, a lot of viable alternatives have been neglected.

It’s hard to criticize an education, and I would never try, but I would say the road to happiness is not necessarily paved with sheepskin. Too many kids are enrolling in college with no sense of curiosity, chasing a degree for reasons purely mercenary, graduating with great expectations, and even greater debt. Now they’re waiting – often back home with Mom and Dad – for someone to give them a job. Education without Wisdom. Knowledge without Smarts. That’s never good – degree or not.

Mike