I am fairly upset with the American education system. No not because of its poor quality and how it is quickly falling behind other nations, but because it has become a necessity to go to college. There has been a trend in the past couple decades that the US has decided a college education is a right and a necessity, not a privilege and a choice. Yes it’s hypocritical to hear this from a kid who goes to one of the most expensive and privileged universities in the nation, but ignore that for a second. All across America kids take out insane loans in order to go to schools that teach them arbitrary facts across such a broad range of subjects that it is insanely hard to recall that information a couple years down the road. Last summer I interned for the Club Monaco (a Ralph Lauren subsidiary) finance team. My tasks were eclectic, but most had essentially nothing to do with what I had learned in school. I looked at income statements, sure, but they had their own accounting system which I learned on the job, not in a classroom in Taylor. The ironic thing is that I needed to sit through those classes and memorize all this information in order to even get a chance of getting that internship in the first place. Obviously this isn’t true with all majors. The hard sciences and mathematics majors should probably ignore this post (that means you, Matt), but for me and my career, the classroom is not the best place to learn.
Let’s stop pretending that college is something that it is not. It is a transition and development period in a young adult’s life. It gives us four years to find out who we are and what we want to be. A couple weeks ago Professor Comas wrote in a blog post that we take grades too seriously, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. I have learned tons at Bucknell, but the important stuff that will help me in my future cannot be written on a test or graded by a professor. The classes that I have learned from the most are the ones that we debate topics whose roots stem far away from a textbook. These conversations are not limited to an 8 and half by 11 sheet of paper and are founded in the real world. Is Bucknell worth the price? Perhaps, but the majority of its value is located outside the classroom.