Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Thing I Occasionally Give Thought To...

From the Culture Ghost:

...Look at the way we refer to learning: "I'm going to get an education." Not "I'm going to become an educated person." There is a huge chasm between the two. Frank Zappa was right: If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want to learn something, go to the library...

This from a guy who works at a community college. Apparently, its library isn't brimming with students.

I'm pretty sure it isn't just the community colleges, though. Going to Harvard for a year may cost ten times or more than spending one year at a community college, but don't tell me you end up ten or more times as educated at Harvard as a result. Harvard University is as much a high-recognition brand name as it is an Ivy League school. Except for Yale, every other American college wishes it was Harvard, because that is where you want to go if your ambitions include helping to run America one day (unless you go to Yale, which you would do for the same reason).

I've never attended Harvard, but I've visited Harvard Square a hundred times or more, and thus been in direct contact with more Harvard students than I care to remember, and you know what? They made no impression on me at all. Nor did the one time I visited the university itself, many years ago. It was no more, no less amazing to me than the lowly Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, which I did attend for one year. In fact, I liked Muskingum's campus atmosphere a lot more than I liked Harvard's.

Then again, I was never much into the idea of trying to run America. I guess you have to be a Larry Summers or a Robert McNamara for that. Or a guy who lives in his father's shadow, like George W. Bush did for decades. I learned so much more about the way this world works in factories, subways, and Greyhound men's rooms than I ever learned in school...


  1. I have a computer science degree from a mid-tier state university. Which means nothing at all, actually, because I knew my **** when I left there, I'd actually designed CPU's and microcode for them and built hardware and written programs in microprocessor assembly language *for fun* while the guy across the street with the 4.0 GPA knew nothing except what was on the test. So yeah, it's all about what use you make of things there. I spent as much time in professor's offices talking about my latest projects as I spent studying, which hurt my GPA, but (shrug). I'm still employed in the computer field today. The guy across the street? Nope.

    Point being: Education is something you *do*, not something you *receive*. And sadly, America seems to have ceased being a nation of doers and become a nation of passive receptacles. Or, as we call them elsewhere: sheep.

    - Badtux the Observant Penguin

  2. Bartkid sez,
    Jim's right.

    BT's right.

    And, I will add my two cents, probably lifted from J Edgar Hoover: It's not what you know, it's not who you know, it's what you know about who you know.

    As for me, everything I need to know, I learned from my fridge:
    1. Keep cool.
    2. If you open up to somebody, shed some light.


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