PDA

View Full Version : Value of a University Degree


El Barto
05-18-2004, 07:28 AM
What is the true value of a University degree?

If your field of study is one of the social sciences or liberal arts, can't you "learn" what you need to know on your own?

What true value is a university to you, if you are a disciplined learner?

I think I should get one of these degrees (http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,35068,00.html), but only because employers out there fall for the phony value of a real diploma.

Kurn, son of Mogh
05-18-2004, 09:44 AM
If your goals are purely financial, don't go to college. Be a plumber. You can make a ton of money and I don't see technology making the need for plumbing obsolete.

That being said, I wouldn't trade my 4 undergraduate years for anything. Over 30 years later I still look back at that as the best 4 years of my life. Of course, we didn't have AIDS to worry about back then.

crazy canuck
05-18-2004, 09:54 AM
Yeah I want to get my PhD. in online poker too! Then I can be a pokerologist.

toots
05-18-2004, 10:35 AM
Depends on what field you're looking at.

If you want to be a licensed psychologist or social worker, you'll need to get a graduate degree in specific areas of social sciences. Doesn't matter whether you can learn that stuff on your own; the sheepskin is a necessary checklist item for licensure.

At that rate, the degree can be worth your entire career, if that's the career you choose.

More down to earth, I'd be willing to bet that within the US, there's a positive correlation between level of college education and income, even among those who "just" have a social sciences or liberal arts degree.

Not that it matters a whole lot in any specific case. If you're sufficiently self-motivated, you can probably succeed without having the degree to put on your resume. I personally have found a distinct negative correlation between my income and level of education, although I in no way regret having obtained all the degrees I have.

El Barto
05-18-2004, 10:41 AM
[ QUOTE ]
If your goals are purely financial, don't go to college. Be a plumber. You can make a ton of money and I don't see technology making the need for plumbing obsolete.

That being said, I wouldn't trade my 4 undergraduate years for anything. Over 30 years later I still look back at that as the best 4 years of my life. Of course, we didn't have AIDS to worry about back then.

[/ QUOTE ]
If someone wants the social aspect of college, they can move to a college town, get an apartment and act like a student when "on the town."

If you want to learn the course material, go to the bookstore and see what books you should read.

But why not save the tuition?
No matter how good the college is, is the tuition really worth the cost, if you don't care if you get a diploma?

Cptkernow
05-18-2004, 10:43 AM
"If you want to learn the course material, go to the bookstore and see what books you should read.

But why not save the tuition? "


Would you rather read a book by Slansky or have a year long period of lectures and one on one tutorials with him ?

El Barto
05-18-2004, 10:43 AM
[ QUOTE ]
If you want to be a licensed psychologist or social worker, you'll need to get a graduate degree in specific areas of social sciences. Doesn't matter whether you can learn that stuff on your own; the sheepskin is a necessary checklist item for licensure.

[/ QUOTE ]

I agree. I was trying to exclude professions like law, medicine, and others that have specific requirements to hold a job. Although it should be pointed out that oftentimes these requirements are put there by the members of the profession as a barrier to entry (like the old guilds of the middle ages).

El Barto
05-18-2004, 10:45 AM
[ QUOTE ]

Would you rather read a book by Slansky or have a year long period of lectures and one on one tutorials with him ?

[/ QUOTE ]
If college was a one-on-one experience with the best in the field, I would agree. But lets face it, we just sit in a lecture hall of 500 people for a lecture that just goes over the material in the book - not the same thing.

Cptkernow
05-18-2004, 10:48 AM
Your college is obviously different to mine.
In the UK we have a system of tutorials where we spend time with the tutor alone or in small groups not numbering more than 5.

We aslo have lectures.

Gamblor
05-18-2004, 10:52 AM
The degree is as much proof of ability and discipline to learn as it is proof of knowledge, IMO.

turnipmonster
05-18-2004, 11:15 AM
It depends on the field, and your goals. in my experience, if you want to be a musician, no one cares if you have a degree. if you want to work for a company in a technical field, it's very important. it depends it depends it depends. it will certainly never hurt you to have a degree.

--turnipmonster

El Barto
05-18-2004, 11:16 AM
[ QUOTE ]
The degree is as much proof of ability and discipline to learn as it is proof of knowledge, IMO.

[/ QUOTE ]
So why not have a "bar exam" type test, and perhaps a one-on-one interview by an expert who can attest to your mastery of the subject, whether you are university trained or self-educated?

SheridanCat
05-18-2004, 11:34 AM
College taught me things, but most importantly, it taught me how to learn. People may think they know how to learn, but they usually don't.

Regards,

T

SheridanCat
05-18-2004, 11:36 AM
[ QUOTE ]
If college was a one-on-one experience with the best in the field, I would agree. But lets face it, we just sit in a lecture hall of 500 people for a lecture that just goes over the material in the book - not the same thing.

[/ QUOTE ]

You're going to the wrong school and/or taking the wrong classes.

Regards,

T

Bubbagump
05-18-2004, 11:53 AM
[ QUOTE ]
It depends on the field, and your goals. in my experience, if you want to be a musician, no one cares if you have a degree. if you want to work for a company in a technical field, it's very important.

[/ QUOTE ]

True to a point. I work have been working as a sysadmin for 10+ years and I don't have a degree in this field. I really don't think that there is anything about computers that a motivated individual cannot learn on his own via books or from other people in the field that you meet in your career. That said, my case is somewhat unique as I fell into this carreer by accepting a 'temporary' possition as a sysadmin at the college I had just received my Bachelor's degree in music from. Go figure. /images/graemlins/tongue.gif

I think in most cases there are very few employers who are going to consider somebody without that diploma, which I think is unfortunate.

Bubbagump

astroglide
05-18-2004, 11:54 AM
in most hard sciences it's a necessity (barring the occasional "physics supergenius" type scenarios)

Boris
05-18-2004, 12:14 PM
I have two degrees in Economics and if you can learn that stuff on your own then you are too smart not to be deep in academia.

turnipmonster
05-18-2004, 12:17 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I really don't think that there is anything about computers that a motivated individual cannot learn on his own via books or from other people in the field that you meet in your career.

[/ QUOTE ]

what instrument do you play? I agree that a dedicated individual can learn anything if they are motivated, but in my field (programming) in the many people I've interviewed/worked with, I can usually tell within 5 minutes or so if someone has a degree or not. Obviously there are many exceptions, but in this case a degree gives a basic theoretical understanding that practical experience might not. it comes more into play in learning new things, I think.

--turnipmonster

Gamblor
05-18-2004, 12:18 PM
So why not have a "bar exam" type test, and perhaps a one-on-one interview by an expert who can attest to your mastery of the subject, whether you are university trained or self-educated?

I think you missed my point.

The employer wants to know that you, the applicant, committed to something for 4 years (or more) and completed it fully. To an employer, the degree is proof that you are are disciplined enough to study and finish a degree.

The university exists because it's the cheapest way to educate thousands at a time. It shows the employer that you can get assignments done on time, can prepare for tests/presentations, and do advanced thinking beyond what the local gas-station attendant can do.

I don't think a one-off test like a bar exam is enough to show that - that's why the bar exams require a degree before you can write them.

To be honest, today, an undergraduate degree may as well be toilet paper. Without some serious graduate work, there isn't much available in the kind of jobs most people would really like to have.

turnipmonster
05-18-2004, 12:36 PM
[ QUOTE ]
To be honest, today, an undergraduate degree may as well be toilet paper. Without some serious graduate work, there isn't much available in the kind of jobs most people would really like to have.

[/ QUOTE ]

I disagree strongly. my undergrad degree (in computer science) allowed me to get experience by co-oping (working for the man) while still in school, and also taught me a very specific skill set which is a prerequisite in my field.

it depends entirely on the field as to whether or not this will be the case.

--turnipmonster

lunchmeat
05-18-2004, 12:47 PM
My degree was worth about -$30,000. That's how far I was in debt when it was over. College was a massive waste in terms of time & money for me. I've been out for almost two years, and my dreams and aspirations are still on hold because of the debt I incurred.

The only positive thing I got from college was the book list printed on each syllabus. The in-class activities were completely useless. The professors would always just reiterate whatever was in the previous night's reading, because almost none of the students would have actually read the material themselves. They saw no reason to because, for the most part, students realize that college is white collar trade school- a drunken step they have to take before entering the banality of "real life" (which means working 40 hours a week for a corporation you probably won't like).

There are also social aspects to college. But I already knew how to drink, snort lines, and [censored] before stepping on campus. I think most people do.

CrackerZack
05-18-2004, 12:50 PM
I'm with turnip here also. My undergrad degree got me in the door in this career which has expanded and paid for itself many times over. As for extensive graduate study, if CMU pulls their heads from their rectums and finds my damn transcript, I'll let you know how useful I find that too.

BeerMoney
05-18-2004, 01:13 PM
[ QUOTE ]
If your goals are purely financial, don't go to college. Be a plumber. You can make a ton of money and I don't see technology making the need for plumbing obsolete.


[/ QUOTE ]

VERY VERY WELL PUT. I agree with this statement 100%. Everybody goes to college now leaving no one to do our trades. Unless people stop taking craps, we will still need them.

[ QUOTE ]

That being said, I wouldn't trade my 4 undergraduate years for anything. Over 30 years later I still look back at that as the best 4 years of my life. Of course, we didn't have AIDS to worry about back then.

[/ QUOTE ]

I am considering leaving my present white collar job to go into the trades, bit I will never regret my undergrad and graduate degrees. I truly believe I am a more intelligent person by putting in the effort and studies. blahblahblah.

turnipmonster
05-18-2004, 01:32 PM
my entire college education cost 1/3rd of that (state school, baby!), and I was able to work (two jobs) and pay as I went. before I moved to nyc, I had no idea how much people paid for college.

--turnipmonster

BeerMoney
05-18-2004, 02:02 PM
You will get out of college what you put into it. Bottom line. If you decide to major in something cheezy, that's fine, but you should double major in something that will get you a job. Again, you'll get out of it what you put into it. If you are willing to work and study hard, you can get so much out of it.

Gamblor
05-18-2004, 02:08 PM
Okay, computer science is still a relatively new field and there is a good demand for those with the skills to manipulate the machines. The kinds of skills needed for such jobs are mostly built through practice, working on the edge of innovation. I don't think schools could possibly keep up with the speed of technological change. I don't know much about the tech industry's employee turnover, but I imagine it's high. Is there a lot of theory with real staying power in that field. Sure Von Neumann's paradigms are lasting, but for how much longer?

How about medicine, law, high sciences, finance (i.e. accounting/financial management)?

How far are you getting in the professional world without graduate school?

Oh, and CZ, I know the feeling - I was almost killed in a car accident a few years ago just before exams, and only in 3rd year did they finally recognize that I missed them for a valid reason - an extended hospital stay.

Bubbagump
05-18-2004, 04:00 PM
[ QUOTE ]
what instrument do you play?

[/ QUOTE ]

I play guitar though I don't get a chance to play very much any more. Juggling work, poker and the girlfriend doesn't leave time for much else unfortunately. /images/graemlins/frown.gif
After I got my degree, the thought of using my guitar to support myself took all the fun out of it for me and I ended up giving it up for a while. These days when I play, it's purely for my own enjoyment. /images/graemlins/cool.gif

Bubbagump

Duke
05-18-2004, 04:23 PM
[ QUOTE ]
College taught me things, but most importantly, it taught me how to learn. People may think they know how to learn, but they usually don't.

[/ QUOTE ]

[ QUOTE ]
You're going to the wrong school and/or taking the wrong classes.

[/ QUOTE ]

These 2 statements don't seem to fit together very well. The people who, as you say, don't know how to learn are likely the ones that will end up going to those state schools with a billion kids per course and zero time with the professor. The kids who can get accepted to the better schools are likely those who already know how to learn.

And seriously, don't kid yourself. I doubt that you know how to learn any better than you did when you were 2. You were likely far better at it then, as well. I believe that you learned how to work hard and memorize things that you don't necessarily care about. But that's surely not learning.

If you are an adept thinker, then I attribute it to you, and not to any school that you went to. I think it's more a process of conditioning your own mind in your own way to dissect information. For example, I think that Ed Miller is intelligent because I have spoken with him and I'm impressed by his ability to think. If I just knew him as an MIT guy and a Noted Poker Authority, I'd be forced to ask: but is he smart?

~D

Duke
05-18-2004, 04:43 PM
I'm sure that many 2+2ers who otherwise could be "deep in academia" are turned off by what it has become.

~D

bogey
05-18-2004, 06:04 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Okay, computer science is still a relatively new field and there is a good demand for those with the skills to manipulate the machines. The kinds of skills needed for such jobs are mostly built through practice, working on the edge of innovation. I don't think schools could possibly keep up with the speed of technological change. I don't know much about the tech industry's employee turnover, but I imagine it's high. Is there a lot of theory with real staying power in that field. Sure Von Neumann's paradigms are lasting, but for how much longer?

[/ QUOTE ]

There's a ton of theory with real staying power. That is why most of the top schools with CS programs hardly teach any "practical" classes, such as the syntax of a specific programming language or how to take apart and put back togethor a computer. That is for ITT tech. Instead, they teach the programming languages in theory and have you learn the syntax crap on your own, so you can adapt it. There is basic underlying theory to it all, and sure you can manipulate machines without understanding it, but you definitely cannot be an innovator in the field without it.

turnipmonster
05-18-2004, 11:25 PM
not sure what you mean with the emphasis on professionally. non of the board of directors at my company have advanced degrees. I've made a lot of career sacrifices because I am a touring musician, but competent people in my field make well into 6 figures, and generally come out of college making twice the avg college grad salary. is that good enough?

--turnipmonster

lostinthought
05-19-2004, 12:45 AM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]

Would you rather read a book by Slansky or have a year long period of lectures and one on one tutorials with him ?

[/ QUOTE ]
If college was a one-on-one experience with the best in the field, I would agree. But lets face it, we just sit in a lecture hall of 500 people for a lecture that just goes over the material in the book - not the same thing.

[/ QUOTE ]

you're assuming all colleges are like this..in fact the field that you are questioning (liberal arts) prides itself on the fact that the best education in the field are at small institutions (hence small liberal arts colleges, and small departments and tough admissions at ivy league schools).

if you don't want to go to school, then don't go. But don't try to make the silly argument that one can't get a good education in college. The question of whether it is necessary is silly as well. Nobody pursues a liberal arts degree because it is necessary.

Chris Daddy Cool
05-19-2004, 06:53 AM
My professor once told my class this, and I'm inclined to believe him, that by simply obtaining a degree you would have made at least a million more dollars in income during your life time than if you did not have one.

El Barto
05-19-2004, 08:17 AM
[ QUOTE ]
My professor once told my class this, and I'm inclined to believe him, that by simply obtaining a degree you would have made at least a million more dollars in income during your life time than if you did not have one.

[/ QUOTE ]

Is it because of the value you actually receive from the university, or because future employers are too lazy to assess your abilities and rely on a diploma as evidence of ability?

I think the latter.

Just get an "online degree" and you will make just as much.

ericd
05-19-2004, 08:48 AM
You are missing one important point. The employer has the job and you don't.

Assume that the job is a good one and many (hundreds) of people apply. The employer needs to narrow down the application pool in a timely manner. Assuming it is either an entry level or junior position (thus past job experience is not that significant) then the first cut is education. Is it possible the best candidate will be overlooked? Absolutely. Likely? Rarely.

In most cases filling a job is a distraction to an employer. It keeps them from doing their "real" job. Thus, effectively minimizing the time screening applicants is extemely important to an employer which tends to add value to a degree.

J.A.Sucker
05-19-2004, 12:13 PM
Even these "physics supergenius" types need the guidance of an experienced mind to approach problems correctly. They may finish their degree in 2 years and a PhD in 2 more, but that time is essential for them.

El Barto
05-19-2004, 12:23 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Even these "physics supergenius" types need the guidance of an experienced mind to approach problems correctly. They may finish their degree in 2 years and a PhD in 2 more, but that time is essential for them.

[/ QUOTE ]
The time spent with experts and getting a degree is not the same thing. All the benefits people attribute to a university could be attained without paying tuition and getting a degree. But the university wants to milk some money out of you, and future employers cooperate with this extortion by requiring a piece of paper as a show of worth.

elwoodblues
05-19-2004, 12:47 PM
In college, I took Japanese in a class with 5 other people. No way I could learn what I learned in that class from a book.

I took an Asian Politics class with 3 others. My professor was brilliant and the discussions we had were invaluable. Reading about India and the influence of language (for example) is one thing, speaking with an Indian who speaks 13 languages fluently is quite another.

I was a member of and chair of our debating society. Through this experience I met with and had great discussions with many experts in many different fields.

I was a co-founder of a college television station and dabbled in college radio --- both experiences that I wouldn't have had but for college.

I attempted to sabotage the college republicans by nominating a member of the college democrats at their elections to choose a group president...we also brought a bunch of liberals and members of the GLBT group on campus to vote our way(it was totally sophomoric, but a lot of fun). I went to cultural events that I otherwise would not have gone to. I read books that I wouldn't have known about. I explored ideas that hadn't occurred to me in the past.

I could have done a lot of this without going to college. The question is whether I would have. I know myself well enough to know that absent being in a location that fosters that kind of personal growth/development I wouldn't have experienced nearly what I did in college.

ericd
05-19-2004, 01:09 PM
Wow. You made me think of things I hadn't thought about in years.

I took a Shakespeare course. I was the only one who wasn't an English major. The others would all agree on the meaning of something. Since I had no idea how they came to their conclusions, I'd take detailed notes hoping I could pass the test. I think the C in that class I received was for effort not results.

The most fascinating course I took was an elective just to fulfill a requirement. It was an American History course from Reconstruction to present. What made it such a highlight was that the professor was a Black man born in the late thirties. The experiences he related having grown up under Jim Crow in the South are memorable to this day.

Thanks for making me think back to those times.

Eric

J.A.Sucker
05-19-2004, 01:50 PM
I hope that they want money, since the professor's time, the facilities, and the equipment in them costs plenty of it. Your statement makes less than no sense.

Look, if you don't want to spend a lot of money on a degree, then go to a state school. I went to undergrad at the University of Colorado, and got a terrific education. I spent 3500 a year on tuition, and easily got more than that value out of it. I had no debts when leaving. Now I'm in grad school and they pay me to go. In science, you don't really take a lot of classes (some programs require zero classes) for the PhD, but you have to do research. You still "pay tuition" to the school, but this is paid for by your research advisor, and these costs go to keeping up the facilities. Your advisor gets this money to pay you from federal and coperate grants.

Your inability to understand these basic economic arguments is amazing. You should never underestimate the value of your time, and this is probably the number 1 error that people make in life. If you are giving your time to help others, you should be compensated. Why is the university system any different? It's not like you can get these skills anywhere else.

Boris
05-19-2004, 02:48 PM
What's wrong with the academic life? I had the opportunity to pursue this career path but declined to do so. I basically realized that I wasn't smart enough or creative enough to be a really, really good professor.

Bubbagump
05-19-2004, 04:24 PM
[ QUOTE ]
It's not like you can get these skills anywhere else.

[/ QUOTE ]

This may be true for a science, law or medical degree, but I think there are exceptions. I have personally met a lot of people in my field (computers)with no degree who have their S**T together so much more than some people who have spent 4 years or more getting that piece of paper that says they know what they are doing. Unfortunately 'corporate culture' being what it is these days I could never hire somebody without that piece of paper.

Bubbagump

adios
05-19-2004, 05:06 PM
[ QUOTE ]
There's a ton of theory with real staying power.

[/ QUOTE ]

Could you elaborate a little? TIA for your insight.

Ulysses
05-19-2004, 06:09 PM
I agree w/ El Barto. I know this one dude who was like not into school and stuff, but he was really smart and really good at math. He was a janitor at a university because he didn't really care much about what society thought and stuff. Anyway, one time he solved this really badass equation on a chalkboard and later he got to hang out and learn from another really awesome math dude. And then he also got to bang this kinda hot chick and plus he kicked some college dude's ass so that was awesome too. All in all, he showed that it is pretty cool to be a genius and not go to college.

toots
05-19-2004, 06:24 PM
I spent a lot of my life being a college dropout.

Started with hard sciences in my late teens; dropped out to be a software geek.

For nearly two decades, I built my own self-identity around being a proud college dropout. Just about anyone who I worked with agreed that I was as good as/better at my job as anyone with a 4 year degree in anything. I mean, I was a software geek, and I'm good at what I do.

Would a 4-year degree in CS or related field have helped? Didn't seem like it, because as close as I could tell, everyone around me with a BS in CS wasn't any better at the work than I was, and if anything, I had a few years head-start on experience.

But, for reasons I don't want to get into here, when I hit my late 30s, I decided to head back to college. In a reasonable amount of time, I racked up a BA, MA and PhD in a field completely unrelated to software geeking.

And for reasons I don't want to bother with, when I was done with all that, I decided that even though I had all this education in something else, I'd return to the field of software geeking.

Getting back into the field was easy enough, although my salary advancement obviously stalled for a few years there. I'd probably be making more if I hadn't taken time off to go to school but I barely care, because I was perfectly happy with what I was making then, and I'm just as happy with it now.

From that, one might argue that college was, for me, a big waste of time and money, but to tell the truth, I feel otherwise.

The huge, unexpected outcome of that time in college was a lot of personal growth - dare I say maturation - on my part. I am now simply more content with my work and my life, and a much better employee for it. Outwardly, the trappings of my life (salary, possessions, finances) are less than those of a decade ago. Inwardly, my quality of life is vastly improved.

And, just as I discovered after spending time in the atlantic on a sailboat in a storm, everything that's happened ever since then has been comfortable by comparison.

I don't know if everyone would come out of college with that sort of growth. Maybe even not most. But, it worked for me in very unexpected ways, and in retrospect, it was worth every penny of money and day of my time.

El Barto
05-19-2004, 08:03 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I agree w/ El Barto. I know this one dude who was like not into school and stuff, but he was really smart and really good at math. He was a janitor at a university because he didn't really care much about what society thought and stuff. Anyway, one time he solved this really badass equation on a chalkboard and later he got to hang out and learn from another really awesome math dude. And then he also got to bang this kinda hot chick and plus he kicked some college dude's ass so that was awesome too. All in all, he showed that it is pretty cool to be a genius and not go to college.

[/ QUOTE ]
This sounds like a movie review for Good Will Hunting.

Diplomat
05-19-2004, 08:39 PM
Sharp as a tack! Or a potato.

-Diplomat

bogey
05-19-2004, 09:19 PM
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
There's a ton of theory with real staying power.

[/ QUOTE ]

Could you elaborate a little? TIA for your insight.

[/ QUOTE ]

Sure, I was refering to things such as automata theory (Gamblor referenced Von Neuman's stuff which is part of automata theory, but I don't see how it is going to be outdated), algorithm science (computing running times, designing most efficient, etc.), data structures. There's a lot more, and pretty much all areas of mathematics are incorporated into computer science in some way, from matrix manipulation to game theory to advanced logic. Its been about 2 years since I got my degree, and I don't do CS anymore, but these are the things I was referring to.

Gamblor
05-20-2004, 01:07 PM
designing most efficient

Bubble sort!! bubble sort!!

I stand corrected.

ResidentParanoid
05-21-2004, 10:57 AM
Wow, two years out of university and your dreams and aspirations are not yet fulfilled. If you don't get that done in the next couple of months you'll be way behind the curve. As a matter of fact, if you aren't the next Michael Dell before 30, you'll be a big disappointment to all of us. /images/graemlins/smirk.gif

Get over it, work harder, enjoy things more, stop whining.

ericd
05-21-2004, 11:26 AM
Well said.

ResidentParanoid
05-21-2004, 12:56 PM
A degree is a measure of ability, but more importantly, it's a measure of accomplishment. It indicates that you can begin something and complete it successfully. That is what an employer is going to pay you for. When the job requires specific skills as well as the getting something done, the employer looks for a particular major. It's really that simple.

baggins
05-21-2004, 01:33 PM
"in my experience, if you want to be a musician, no one cares if you have a degree."

true, but if you want to teach music, you have to have a degree.

and you can't just play any old instrument. I've played the guitar for 12 years, the bass guitar for 5, and have a decent grounding in music theory, but none of that qualifies me for entrance into a music program. I have to play, at a college level, an instrument they accept, such as Classical Guitar. which means I have to find an affordable nylon string guitar and pay $50 a lesson to get up to speed before I can start in a music program. it sucks, but it's what i have to do if i want to have a degree in music education.

it doesn't stop me from playing music, though. it just stops me from having the career i want. and forces me to take a shitty job until i can acheive the diploma.

lunchmeat
05-21-2004, 02:00 PM
I love a good ad hominem attack as much as the next guy, but you donít know what youíre talking about. What I was driving at was that a college degree is completely useless unless you plan on being a white-collar proletarian. Wasting 4 years of your life and going in debt for many thousands of dollars would only seem trivial to someone who plans on wasting his or her entire life by joining the workforce. And I never said that I expected my dreams to be accomplished by now. My point was that if I hadnít gone to college I would have been able to pursue them.

Your ďadviceĒ is also uninformed and incorrect. You tell me to work harder, but only the luckiest or most well-connected college graduates would make more money their first years out of school than a successful poker player. In fact, the inability of many graduates to find any work at all is a well-known phenomenon. So even if I could get a job, I would be taking a pay-cut.

You also assume that I donít enjoy things, but Iíve never been happier than I am now that I play poker for a living. Many people who play for a living feel the same way because we make our money playing a game, we donít have to answer to a boss, and can do almost anything we want with our time.

Hopefully you can see that I am not whining. My post was meant to show that for people who have no intention of going to white-collar trade school, a college degree has little use. Iím very much ďover it,Ē I just wanted to share my perspective so others wonít make the same mistake that I did.

The sad thing about your post is that you make light of the fact that I actually have the ambition to want to fulfill my dreams. I can only guess that a person who does that is someone who has given up on all of theirs.

turnipmonster
05-21-2004, 02:13 PM
just out of curiosity, where are you looking to get a job teaching music? you can certainly teach privately without a degree, I've done that in the past (I hate teaching guitar though).

I went to music school for a while, and they would let anyone in as long as your tuition check cleared. This is for jazz performance however, not music ed.

if you're doing classical, get a yamaha nylong string. mine cost $120, and actually sounds/plays great aside from intonation problems on the higher frets. several professional classical guitarists have played it and remarked what a nice instrument it is for the money.

good luck!

--turnipmonster

ResidentParanoid
05-21-2004, 02:28 PM
[ QUOTE ]
The professors would always just reiterate whatever was in the previous night's reading, because almost none of the students would have actually read the material themselves.

[/ QUOTE ]

First mistake: choose a better university or department where the professors/students match your ambition level. Or maybe second mistake, first mistake was not working hard enough to get into that kind of university/department. /images/graemlins/smirk.gif


[ QUOTE ]
Your ďadviceĒ is also uninformed and incorrect. You tell me to work harder, but only the luckiest or most well-connected college graduates would make more money their first years out of school than a successful poker player. In fact, the inability of many graduates to find any work at all is a well-known phenomenon. So even if I could get a job, I would be taking a pay-cut.


[/ QUOTE ]

I didn't suggest that you don't play poker. I do it all the time. Just work harder on achieving your "dreams and aspirations". Or, work harder at finding a job, if that's what you want.


[ QUOTE ]
The sad thing about your post is that you make light of the fact that I actually have the ambition to want to fulfill my dreams.

[/ QUOTE ]

Let me get this right, playing poker is what your dreams are about? Or is it making money so you can pursue them? So I guess that guy living the "banality of the proletariat white collar workforce" is doing that because he thinks XYZ corp is going to save the world. He's probably doing his 9 to 5 for the same reason you sit in your underwear all day and play poker on the computer. (Again, I don't have a problem with you doing that, as long as I don't have to watch /images/graemlins/smirk.gif).

[ QUOTE ]
I can only guess that a person who does that is someone who has given up on all of theirs.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hmmm. What was that about ad hominem attacks? /images/graemlins/grin.gif This post wasn't about me anyway, so I'll let that drop. I don't want to gloat.

lunchmeat
05-21-2004, 04:51 PM
I typically just let these personal arguments go, but I'll take one last stab at this one because you keep making statements about my life that are wildly incorrect.

[ QUOTE ]
First mistake: choose a better university or department where the professors/students match your ambition level. Or maybe second mistake, first mistake was not working hard enough to get into that kind of university/department.

[/ QUOTE ]

The school I went to had a very good reputation. I was a philosophy major, which isn't exactly known as an easy major, my professors were some of the smartest and accomplished people I have ever met, and I graduated Cum Laude. Trust me, I worked plenty hard, and got what most people would consider to be very good grades and a very good degree. But, as I said in my first post, the in class time was totally useless because hardly any students take college seriously because they know it's just something they have to do. This sentiment (that no one does the work so in class time is just the professor reiterating what was already assigned) has been echoed by nearly every college student I've talked to, including an ex-girlfriend who went to Harvard. Going to a different University wouldn't have changed this. So you're completely wrong in your assesment of me.

[ QUOTE ]
I didn't suggest that you don't play poker. I do it all the time. Just work harder on achieving your "dreams and aspirations". Or, work harder at finding a job, if that's what you want.

[/ QUOTE ]

My point was that I play poker for a living, which is more lucrative and more fun than most any job I could find. I'll spare you from elaborating on my ultimate goals, but it will take a good amount of capital to get started with it. Since I am in debt, I need to pay off my current debts first. Debts that I never would have incurred had I not gone to college.

[ QUOTE ]
Let me get this right, playing poker is what your dreams are about? Or is it making money so you can pursue them? So I guess that guy living the "banality of the proletariat white collar workforce" is doing that because he thinks XYZ corp is going to save the world. He's probably doing his 9 to 5 for the same reason you sit in your underwear all day and play poker on the computer. (Again, I don't have a problem with you doing that, as long as I don't have to watch ).

[/ QUOTE ]

Some differences, the guy working at XYZ corp. is having a lot less fun than I am when I'm "working." And that same guy is probably going to work that same job (or some varient of it) his entire life. I haven't met a single person who has just quit his or her job after 5 years or so and decided to do something on their own for the rest of their lives. I'm sure people like that exist, but most people hump their jobs until they're elderly or dead. Many workers are exploited outright, and many others work for companies that do far more harm to the world than good (marketing jobs, weapons industry, etc.). I know that playing poker for a living isn't the pinnacle of morality, but because I play poker for a living I am able to volunteer a lot of time to noble causes that I wouldn't be able to make time for otherwise.

All right, I'm done. Have the last word if you want it. But IMHO you should be a lot more careful about criticizing people's personal lives, especially people you know nothing about... and I'm sorry if I offended you with the last line of my last post. For all I know you could be the happiest and most succesful person in the whole midwest.

Ulysses
05-21-2004, 05:37 PM
[ QUOTE ]
I haven't met a single person who has just quit his or her job after 5 years or so and decided to do something on their own for the rest of their lives. I'm sure people like that exist, but most people hump their jobs until they're elderly or dead.

[/ QUOTE ]

Tons of people do that. You don't know any entrepeneurs? I know 100s of them. In many lines of business, especially those that require large amounts of capital and outside investors and those that require you to hire highly educated people, having a college degree (and quite possibly work experience made possible by that college degree) greatly increases your chances of success. FWIW, after college I worked about a year and a half "for the man" before quitting and going out on my own.

[ QUOTE ]
Your ďadviceĒ is also uninformed and incorrect. You tell me to work harder, but only the luckiest or most well-connected college graduates would make more money their first years out of school than a successful poker player.

[/ QUOTE ]

Many college graduates that are neither especially lucky nor well-connected make more straight out of school than all but the most successful of poker players.

Anyway, to each his own. I enjoy playing poker, but find it quite boring compared to jobs I've had which involve a lot more complicated problem solving and I find it a lot less fulfilling than doing something where you actually produce something that's somewhat tangible in nature. But that doesn't make any of these things better than the other. I have artist friends who didn't go to college. For them, doing what they love, college really would do little for them. The same can likely be said for a professional poker player. However, I see a lot of kids on 2+2 these days who think the idea of playing poker for a living is the greatest thing in the world. For some, that might be true. But others who go that route without exploring college and other career opportunities will be passing on a lot of options that might lead to much more interesting and enjoyable lives for them.

Let me put it another way. I know a lot of people who play poker for a living. The majority of those (and this sample is primarily B&M here) don't lead very satisfying lives. More specifically, they're pretty miserable about life in general and really don't enjoy what they do. But I also know people like Tommy Angelo who live great happy lives as a poker pro. When I compare the group of poker players I know to the college graduates working "normal" jobs, I definitely think the percentage of poker players who have an overall "good life" is much less than the percentage in the "normal job" group.

baggins
05-22-2004, 12:33 AM
yeah, i know i can get a cheap guitar. I'm just brooding because I used to have a really nice classical guitar handmade in Spain (probably worth $7-800) that was stolen by a former roommate. If I ever confronted her about it, I'd probably lose my temper and throw her through a window, and I doubt she still has it.

but yeah, I can get one. but i have no money. I haven't played real poker in well over a year. i work part time for [censored] pay.

anyway, I know I could teach lessons. in fact, I may just do that. I could advertise to teach bass/guitar lessons for a fair price. but, what I really want to do is teach music in schools. like elementary ed, and perhaps high school. Mostly I want to make money by living and breathing music. and I love children and have a fair knack for teaching. and for that, you need a degree. mostly, though, you need a degree to do anything worthwhile. at least that's how it seems. I have other prospects outside the education field in music as well. but either way, I want the degree. and i want the instruction and the discipline. i'm not dreading going back to school to finish. I just wish that my current skill set as it relates to music were enough to get me into a school where they teach me what I don't already know. if that makes sense.

ResidentParanoid
05-23-2004, 07:40 PM
Philosophy major: ok, that explains the tone of the thread... Not that this is the only reason to get a college degree, but getting one in Philosophy is not the road to a high paying job at graduation. My point at the beginning of this was that you can do whatever you would like by getting out there and working on it. I'm sure that if you do that, you will be very successful. Most folks that make good choices that are well aligned with their goals in life and work hard at things do just fine, and some do spectacularly. /images/graemlins/smile.gif

ACPlayer
05-24-2004, 08:19 AM
A good education helps you:

1. Understand that you dont really have the answers, even if you think you do.
2. Gives you tools to analyze and think for yourself.

I often wish I had a better liberal arts education. My education was all scientific.

It does not give you better earning power, though it opens doors to jobs. The best earning power comes from starting and running a successful business,not from a job.

GWB
05-24-2004, 09:32 AM
Going to Yale was very important for me. If I didn't go there, I wouldn't have been able to join a certain "friendly" fraternal society that has been very helpful to me over the years.

So go to college, go to the best one you can, and join the best "clubs" on campus. You won't regret it.

W

WiredPear
05-24-2004, 05:36 PM
There is some real value (dollars) in a degree. There are several studies that show people with degrees make more money.

I disagree with the statement that companies fall for the false value of a degree. It's not about smarts. Any idiot can get through college. But it's about the committment someone demonstrates by completing college. College isn't an easy thing. And to stick with it for four years demonstrates a level of committment and stick-to-it-iveness. That same more to me than how smart some one is. That is who I want to hire.

Finally, education shouldn't be a means to an end. College shouldnt' be about money. Gee, if I go to college, I'll make more money. Somethings in life are just good in themselves. Knowledge is one of them. It's just good to know things. That's the value.

As you can probably tell, I was a philosophy major in college.