That’s right. Fuck School. College might be for some people, but it’s definitely not for me. For example, my wife is a journalist. She absolutely needed a degree for that. Not only did she need a degree, but what she did in school actually prepared her for her career. Somewhat. I also have friends who are engineers. For the most part, they also use stuff that they learned in school. However, like most degrees, the only use for that little paper is to show that you have the stamina to finish 4+ years of college. That is bullshit.
Here’s my story: My parents were all about education. ALL ABOUT IT. They were both teachers for most of my younger years. Later, my dad got into administration. He was a principal of a small K-12 system then a Super-Intendant of a different district. He moved on to work for the state’s Department of Education and is now the Assistant Super-Intendant for a large school district on the west coast. Since my parents were so into school, they pushed my brother and I to always be doing more. I understand that they were just trying to help, but I got burned out on school pretty severely. I had to take classes every summer, not becuase I was behind, but so I could get ahead. At one point, I was in a small school (13 in my class) and I had finished the curriculum available at that high school so I had to start taking math classes in a long-distance learning environment. If you don’t know what that means, I basically sat in a conference room with TVs and cameras in front of and behind me and took part in math classes that were being broadcast from a local community college. This is when I was a sophomore. After my sophomore year we moved to a bigger city where I could take AP classes at the high school. I scraped by my last two years of high school by doing the bare minimum. My atittude was just to finish, I wasn’t interested in learning anything.
After graduating from high shcool, I was accepted into a fairly well-reguarded engineering school. I decided to go to make my parents proud. This was the wrong reason to go but it turned out to be a great decision. The school dorms were full my freshman year so I was forced to find an apartment (damnit!). Through this apartment I made some of the best friends I’ve ever had and still the only group of people that I keep in touch with. However, those people are all very intelligent. By far, the smartest group of people that I’ve ever met. Because of this, they didn’t really need to study much or even go to class. Because I was still in the “I don’t give a shit about school” mindset this was a bad group of people to hang out with. I spent most of my days drinking and playing Mario Kart. Needless to say, I failed my first semester at college. I almost failed my second semester and actually had a pretty decent third semester. However, after that semester I decided that I didn’t want to be an engineer. Something about sitting in an office and staring at a computer all day did not seem appealing to me. I tried a semester at a community college to take some basic classes and see if there was something else I liked that I could continue on with. There was nothing.
I dropped out and started selling cars and working construction and a few other things that college drop-outs do. I met a girl. She seemed to have her shit together pretty well. She graduated college in a mind-boggling 3 1/2 years. She got a job in Idaho on TV and I figured that somebody on TV was probably going to make pretty decent money. Between that and the fact that she put up with my shit and my roomates shit, I figured she was a keeper so I moved to Idaho with her. I was wrong about her making money, but she turned out to be pretty cool so I married her. In Idaho I enrolled at a state school in the education program to be a high school math teacher. Why? I have no idea. I think because I was fairly decent at math and I liked the idea of having summers and major holidays off. And maybe becuase being a teacher is ingrained in my blood. Either way, I decided that I didn’t want to deal with parents or their shit-head kids so I changed my degree again, this time to Business. While in Idaho, I had several more jobs that people do when they’re college drop-outs. I cut carpet, delivered pizza, worked at a payday loan place, a hotel, and my wife’s tv station. Then I got a job selling life insurance. That job will make anyone want to go back to college. Since my wife was not sure how long she wanted to stay at her current job I thought I would try an online school because I wouldn’t have to worry about transferring or living somewhere long enough to get in-state tuition before re-enrolling. This led me to the University of Phoenix. I like to refer to UoP as the “degree factory.” If you’re not sure what the University of Phonix is, it is a private school that offers classes, mostly in education and business, in online and on-campus forums. The University of Phoenix is where people go if they want to “buy” a degree. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are a lot of people that get a good education there, I just haven’t met any of them or heard of any. Let me tell you why the University of Phoenix sucks:
-First, there are NO admissions requirements.
-Second, the professors are all “experts” in their field. UoP does a great job of finding people who work in the field that they teach. However, just because a person knows how to do something doesn’t mean they know jack-shit about teaching anybody else how to do it.
-Third, 30% of your grade at University of Phoenix comes from “learning teams.” Fuck that. I’m sick of dealing with these god-damned learning teams. In every class that I’ve had, at least 50% of the students in my learning team can’t write a fucking complete sentance. And these are the people that are going to get the same degree I am? How does that make me look? I’ve carried every single learning team that I’ve been on and it’s just not worth it. UoP’s mentality is that you have to work in “teams” in the real world. While that may be true, if some asshole at my job isn’t pulling his weight or has no idea what’s going on, he isn’t going to last long. Not the case at Phoenix. For example, my latest class was RES341, also known as Statistics I. Since everyone failed the final, they had to curve the average up to a “C.” So, everybody in the class ended up passing a class that they should have failed. Now, everybody is in Statistics II but has no idea what is going on, including myself. So, because everybody learned nothing, and failed, everybody passed. Does that seem like a good system to you? This has been my experience in the majority of my classes, both online and on campus. If these people all graduate and are running around the workforce with UoP “degrees” I don’t want to be associated with them.
-Fourth, UoP is fucking expensive.
-Fifth, I’m pretty sure they lied to me when I enrolled about how many classes I had remaining when I started my program with them. They told me 18 when I started and now, 1 1/2 years later, I have 16 classes left. Seriously? WTF.
-Finally, I did two years of a very intense engineering program that included such math classes as Calculus I, II, & III, Physics I & II, Differential Equations and Statics. Now they’re telling me I have to take an Algebra II course because I don’t have enough math & science credits. In what universe does that make sense?
For the first time in my life I’ve realized that I don’t need a degree. About a year and a half ago, I got a job at a junk yard with a really good company. I really enjoyed the work and I believe that it showed because I was able to perform well. This company saw something in me and promoted me several times. After only eight months, I went from being an hourly employee who found a job on craigslist to a mid-level manager responsible for a six-figure monthly budget. This shows me that if I want to succeed, all I need to do is find something that I’m passionate about. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know there are many fields that do require a degree. Nobody can become a doctor or a lawyer just because they really work hard at it. That requires a degree.
Unfortunately, it’s taken me a few years to figure this out and I have the student loans to prove it. I’m not going to regret going to school though because all those different schools and my terrible experience at the University of Phoenix helped me come to this conclusion. I’ll still see those monthly student loan payments as payments towards a lesson learned.
I guess I just wanted to share this with you all in case you are struggling with what you want to do with your future. Don’t just go to college because you have nothing else to do or because you’re not sure what else you can do. Take some time to figure out what you enjoy and see if you can make money doing it. The only exception I would make to this rule would be if somebody else is going to pay for your college. Then, go for it! Just don’t waste your own money if you aren’t sure it’s something you want to do.
It might be corny, but “live well, laugh often, and love much”