just procrastinating

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Higher Education
James Joyner at Outside the Beltway picks up on this post by Dean Esmay about the value of higher education. James talks about what you ultimately remember from college:
Most of what I specific things I learned in calculus, chemistry, and literature are long forgotten. But, theoretically at least, what a college education does is train the mind. My analytical skills are far sharper, my ability to do research and shift credible information from junk is greatly enhanced, and so forth.
I think this is about all a college education did for me. In addition to the social learning and growing up that takes place between 18 and 22, which was more important, but probably would have happened anyway, the classes really just taught me how to learn. I was an econ major, so not much of that had any practical applications, it just served to develop my analytical skills.

The whole educational process takes too long and much of it is redundant anyway. I think that you can cram high school into 3 years, which would be ideal because by 16 or 17 most kids are ready to get the heck out of the house. It would have made my parent's lives less stressful. Four years of college is plenty, but maybe it could be spread out by doing more of a work/study type thing, to allow more time to mature. From what I can tell, all professional schools (MD, JD, MBA) are about a year longer than necessary.

I do think that I learned a lot in my MBA program, but I went with a purpose: to learn more practical business skills, to change careers and to force myself to overcome my fears of public speaking. All of which I accomplished (I think), although these could just as easily been accomplished by replacing the MBA with a program of self study, networking and going to Toastmasters. The MBA program was just a way to wrap all of these up into a package that cost $45 grand.

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