Disarming the College Degree Arms Race

Disarming the College Degree Arms Race – Politics – Utne Reader.

Although I found this article a little hard to read, I thought it made a lot of good points. Anyone thinking of going to college should read it through and really spend some time thinking about it. There are a few aspects to this issue that I haven’t seen come up anywhere else yet. I think we really should have some kind of national discussion about ‘credentialing’.

I noticed a long time ago how a high school diploma had warped into a bachelors degree. I mean, jobs you could get hired on for and do very well at with just a high school diploma back in the old days (before say 1990), now require at LEAST a bachelors degree.

I thought it must be because of how the schools have been dumbed down so much. I have a hard time understanding how/why a school would pass someone who failed all the tests. Someone who can’t either read or write. But apparently, the parents have demanded that their kids don’t deserve to fail. WTF???? If they failed the class, then yes, they DO deserve to fail!

The school systems gave in to the parents and pass pretty much everyone now. So a high school diploma has become pretty much totally worthless. I got a job tutoring people in college so that they could pass the remedial math and English classes, wow! Why were they accepted into college if they couldn’t pass BASIC math and English??? Now, anyone who wants a ‘decent’ job MUST go to college??!! So somehow we have to help them all get through it. Or at least that’s what we’re all told.

I have to disagree. I should NEVER have listened to my grandmother. She was one of those people who insisted “you’ll never be able to get a good job without a college degree”. I informed her that I already HAD a college degree (2 year AAS in Ocean Marine Technology). She insisted that “didn’t count”.

Why? I have no idea. I already HAD a ‘decent’ job. In fact, more than decent. It was a very well paying job, with way more than the usual time off, it had great benefits, and to top it off, I actually enjoyed it. I really looked forward to going back to work.

I was only a captain tho, and not on a cruise ship 🙁 Maybe if I HAD been working on a cruise ship instead of in the oilfield, my accomplishments would have been acceptable to my grandmother.

So, I quit my job as licensed master 1600 GT and went back to school. I started back at the local jr college where I got my AAS degree. I was going to go on to a university later for a degree in Chemical Engineering. Since I live in the middle of about a dozen chemical plants, I figured I would always be able to get a ‘decent’ job.

NOT the right thing to do!! I finally figured out that I was NOT going to be a chemical engineer after my 1st year at UT Austin! No way was I going to do that kind of work for the rest of my life! Now what? I had just spent 3 years in school (and a ton of money) and still no degree… I asked around and turns out that if I changed majors to math I would only need one more full year in school.

I was already BROKE again. I needed to go back to work. Back offshore where I could save some money again. So, I went back to the US Coast Guard only to find out they had changed the rules without telling anybody (which is against their own rules) and so I would have to start all over from the bottom.

I shipped out as an AB (on tankers) so I could start working my way back up again to only a 3rd mate unlimited license when the USCG had already given me a 2nd mates license (but then changed the rules and took it back). I did manage to earn my license and finally enough money to go back to school again.

I found that the University of St Thomas in Houston had a program where I could get almost all of my course work done without having to quit my job (offshore- 2 months on/2 off). I did have to quit finally to do one whole semester and got all my remaining math classes out of the way.

OK, so now I managed to FINALLY get an acceptable college degree! Whoo-hoo!! Did it do me any good at all??? NO!!! I have been on the lookout since I graduated (with honors) with a bachelors degree in MATH and I have not seen even ONE job advertised that would use it. Not even one!

Yeah, I could teach, but only if I went BACK to school for another couple of years for a teaching certificate! I’m sure my grandmother would love for me to do that so I could get a ‘decent’ job off the boats and live a ‘normal’ life. Get married, have kids and all that. She’s not around any more to tell me that so I do what I want with no guilt. 😉

Why in the world would I quit the job I have now to take one that pays only about 1/4 (or less), and works at least twice as much? It really doesn’t take a math major to figure out that equation just doesn’t work!

So, this whole idea of people having to go to college to get a decent job is a crock of sh*t as far as I’m concerned. Its too bad so many people (including me) have been suckered into spending so much time, effort, money for a piece of paper. People would probably be a heck of a lot better off finding something to do with their lives that they actually enjoyed doing. Maybe go to a trade school, or even ‘apprentice’ with someone. You don’t have to be in a school to learn something useful!

To anyone out there who’s thinking about college, take a lesson from me and don’t let anyone guilt you into something you’re not sure about. Take some time off- a gap year- and wander the world, think about life and what you want out of it. There are a million ways to earn a living, but you’re the only one that can figure out how you really want to do it. Go for it! 😉

0 thoughts on “Disarming the College Degree Arms Race

  1. Pingback: Charts: How Big Debt on Campus Is Threatening Higher Ed | Capt Jills Journeys

Comments appreciated here