The Stupidity of Higher Education

(Disclaimer: I am a big believer in higher education, and a supporter of making it more accessible to all.)

I think it’s ridiculous that it’s common for people to expect that an eighteen-year-old should know what she wants to do with the rest of her life when only a few months beforehand she had to raise her hand, wait to be called on, and ask and be granted permission to go to the bathroom. I’m referring to the tradition of choosing a major upon acceptance to and/or arrival at college.

When I was eighteen I thought I wanted to be on Broadway. When I didn’t get into a musical theatre program, I enrolled in college to study vocal performance, because I was going to work to get what I wanted.

Now I’m an English student, but I don’t think I want to be a full-time writer anymore. Or maybe I do. So far, I think I want to get a master’s degree in finance.

I think it’s ridiculous to expect someone who has most likely always lived in a parental figure’s house under their rules to pick their own career path and stick to it for the rest of their life.

I don’t think college majors are unnecessary. I think they should be less stringent, and that higher education should be more comprehensive. Especially in modern America, where it is incredibly common that a college degree is required for any upward mobility job-wise, education should open many doors, not limit a student to one. If someone wants to be highly specialized, graduate school should be an option they can choose. Someone with a college degree is likely older and arguably wiser than someone with the ink on their high school diploma still wet, and should therefore be more capable of deciding in what field to specialize. Why pressure the very young to make their beds and lie in them when they’re still figuring out how to put it together?

1 comment

  1. I believe I’m right in saying that universities began, many decades ago, with the idea of sending students out with a liberal arts education. With such in hand, the graduate entered the work world with an understanding of how to solve a problem, not with a specific knowledge of how “things” work. We’ve lost that concept. Your point, therefore, is well taken.

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