Name: ChunHun Kevin Wong
Blog #: 2
People think that going to college is a crucial process for a person to earn a good future with a decent job and income. Parents do their best to educate their children by sending them to nursery classes at a very young age. Their ultimate goal is to prepare their children to get into prestigious universities. They invest a huge amount of money and time to prepare their children. Then they invest even more on paying the tuition of the university. In my opinion, when you compare the things you earned after a college degree with the money and time you invested beforehand, it is not worthy at all. I will elaborate on my standpoint with the use of Louis Menand’s “Live and Learn” article.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average cost to raise a child until they get into college is approximately $245,340 (The Huffington Post). Then it costs another $120,000 for paying the tuition in college. In other words, it costs $365,340 to actually purchase a college degree. Everyone has a different definition on what they think a college degree could bring them but there is so many other ways to earn what you got out from college at a much lower price. There is one sentence in the article “Live and Learn” that hit me very hard and made me think more deeply about the true benefit of having a college degree, “how many of them (students) are actually learning anything?”
I would agree to Louis Menand’s first theory on why we are going to college. He claims in his first theory that the society needs a mechanism for sorting out smarter people from the not so smart people. According to him, there are basically 2 simple filters: one is before college which better students get into more prestigious colleges, and the not so smart student gets into mediocre colleges or community colleges. The second filter is what Louis Menand refer as “a four-year intelligence test” which basically means the competition between student in the same school to differentiate the even smarter ones. What is the next step after everyone is filtered and placed into a specific “intelligent category”? Does this determine how success you will be in the future? Let me tell you something. Steve Jobs, the most successful businessman on earth, did not graduate from college. This is what he said during a commencement address (or click here for the script) to the Stanford graduates of the class of 2005. He said,” After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it (college). I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life.” I think what Steve Jobs said is very true because we are taking a lot of classes that we are not interested in but just to fulfill academic requirements. So why not take just the classes we are passionate about and interest us? Steve Jobs dropped out of all normal classes in Reed College and dropped in to a single calligraphy class. He claimed that it was the best decision he ever made because the calligraphy skills all came back to him when he was designing the first Macintosh computer (Steve Jobs). Success does not lie on how many books you read. Success does not lie on how many A+ you get in college. Success does not lie on which college you go to or if you even have been to college or not. According to Steve job’s speech, in order to be successful in life, we have to do what we love, to follow our heart and the things we are passionate about.
There are a lot of famous people who did not complete college but turn out to be very successful in life later. Most of them are entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. One thing in common in them is that they chose to do what they love instead of choosing what they are “expected” to do. People are expected to go to college and graduate with a degree, but they spend way too much time on reading on books and notes they do not like. “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking (Steve Jobs).” Below is a meme I fount pretty funny but is kind of deceiving. Those 3 guys dropped out of college to pursuit something they think is much bigger than college, they did not drop out of it because they just decided not to study.
(A meme about dropping school downloaded from Google)
Moving on to theory 2 in Louis Menand’s “Live and Learn”, I disagree to Louis that “students and parents are over-valuing the sticker price of Princeton or Stanford” because there are a lot of “cheap and plentiful” substitutes. However, I agree that college tuition is generally overpriced, but Princeton and Stanford still holds a higher value to other colleges. They could be the same in academics in terms of what book they are using to teach a certain class but they are never the same in terms of alumni network and outside connections. People would tend to hire someone from Princeton rather than some unknown colleges because Princeton built themselves a brand to be good, just like people would buy Apple products over Nokia or Sony even though Apple products are much more expensive and considered over-priced.