Sunday, February 15, 2009

Disenfranchised with College

As I continue on in my quest for a four-year college degree I grow and more and more sarcastic about the quality of knowledge transmitted in this quest. Most of the work I do for my classes is busy work, and I feel that at the end of each semester the only thing that grades next to the course numbers on my transcript prove is that I can sit down and do a tons of pointless busy work for a sustained amount of time.

It seems hard to imagine that a rational person would be able to effectively argue the value of the information I am being made to learn to earn my degree. It really isn't even so much the facts in the knowledge that the class is suppose to teach, but the value of how that knowledge is taught. Most classes work like this. Here's some busy work. Thumb through the text book to find the line that has the answer for each question. Turn it in. Here's what will be on the test. Put your short-term memory to the test and then take an exam. Rinse and repeat the formula a few times each semester and you have what passes for a college class.

Let's compare this to what I do in my spare time. Once I was interested in tying some web pages on my website into a MySQL database. I asked someone who knew some PHP and he showed me a piece of paper with some examples. I used that to start and then used the help on mysql.com and after a few hours of fooling around I had it all working. This is real-world learning that has a practical application to my professional career. MySQL + PHP is not used in my job, but the ability to take a problem and solve it in a few hours is very relevant to my job, and probably to most any professional career. These kind of real-world skills seem to be the antithesis of the college experience as far as I have seen.

When I sit down to do my homework I really feel like I am just wasting my time. The only thing that really keeps me going is the ever nearing ability to put on my resume that I have a four-year degree in Information Technology.