What’s wrong with the university system

Since the dawn of time, the goal of all man kind has been to go to University.

Just kidding, that’s not true.

But our society makes you think it’s true, doesn’t it?

Since kindergarten, I remember being told that we needed to learn certain things “because you won’t succeed in high school/university/life if you don’t.”

In fact, teachers, I definitely did not need to know to calculate variable XYZWKRT (seriously, once the alphabet was introduced into functions I knew I was doomed) to succeed in journalism.  Nor did I need to completely understand the exact definition of existentialism.

People might be giving this a funny look right now, thinking, “This girl’s wack, understanding the practical use of a covalent bond totally helped me get ready for criminology,” but my guess is many graduates of the public school system will agree.  We did our time, were ecstatic to graduate, and completely forgot everything we learned.

Sidebar: Don’t get me totally wrong here, some of what I learned in high school was actually interesting and good for general knowledge (like the origin of the black plague, remind me to never have a pet rat).

And just like the government wanted me to, I continued my educational journey at university.  And, unexpectedly, I got it wrong the first time.

Dropping out of Carleton after 3 weeks made me realize a few things about the brainwashing that occurs in our school system.  We’re taught that we need to have a goal in sight, and if that goal isn’t higher education, we won’t succeed at life.  Because the next step after university, if the chain of preparedness continues, is a career, then retirement, then death.  Lovely.

But how does that make sense?  If we don’t spend thousands of dollars on a degree, we aren’t valuable citizens?  If anything, university graduates pay just as much in taxes and have just as much trouble finding a job as everyone else.  There’s no elite class of citizenry that gets to do only wonderful, affluent, privileged things.  Most of us, anyway, are just trying to get enough money to pay for our pizza and beer.

What is especially brow-furrowing are those who decide to drop thousands of mom and dad’s dollars on a degree they don’t even know what to do with, or isn’t applicable in our vocation-oriented economy.  That’s right, philosophy majors, I’m looking at you.  Congratulations on being able to spit the definition of consequentialism in my face while you keep checking job databases for “philosopher wanted.”

Another sidebar: Again, I’m not trying to imply that our school system, including university, is completely backwards.  Many people who do get applicable, job-oriented degrees have a very successful careers (and therefore, in the government’s eyes, a successful life because the two are synonymous).

What I am trying to imply is that our society has produced a bunch of average people.  Average in brain function, knowledge, aspiration and success.  Because if the ultimate goal for everyone everywhere is to get a degree, get a good job, buy a house, get married, have kids, retire and then die, how does anyone stand out?  How does anyone truly have the possibility to better themselves when these common goals and paths have been entrenched in our everyday lives for years?

What I want is for everyone to look at themselves and really think, am I where I want to be?

Just don’t let the brainwashing institution lead you on a life path that won’t bring you happiness.  I got a second chance to choose what makes me happy, and I am more healthy and feel less average after making that change.  I’m also not trying to be a hypocrite.  I’m currently enrolled in a university degree, but it’s because I truly want to be a journalist for the sake of being a journalist.

When you look around, everyone is the same.  Find something that will make you different.

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One thought on “What’s wrong with the university system

  1. I recently wrote a very similar blog on this, and I definitely agree with what you’re saying. Higher education institutions are a form of brainwashing; and our society almost gives us no choice in the matter. Check mine out if you’re interested! (It’s called “This is how I feel about Higher Education”). Cheers!

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