If it’s in the New York Times it must be true — real He-Men and He-Women are too smart and vigorous to subject themselves to four years of (LOL) college:
“The idea that a college diploma is an all-but-mandatory ticket to a successful career is showing fissures. Feeling squeezed by a sagging job market and mounting student debt, a groundswell of university-age heretics are pledging allegiance to new groups like UnCollege, dedicated to “hacking” higher education. Inspired by billionaire role models, and empowered by online college courses, they consider themselves a D.I.Y. vanguard, committed to changing the perception of dropping out from a personal failure to a sensible option, at least for a certain breed of risk-embracing maverick.”
Of course, if you’re in the position of being able to drop out of Harvard or Stanford there are already a few things we can assume about you: a) by nature, you’re already an over-achiever and b) chances are you’re white and rich, or at least your family is.
Obviously taking on tens of thousands of dollars of debt is always a bad idea (especially if you don’t even finish your degree, which is a huge problem with the online diploma mills). Public schools are getting more expensive, but many of them are perfectly affordable (and that’s before you go actively looking for scholarships and grants).
Personally though, I can’t imagine my life without four years in the middle of Ohio cornfields. Granted, I always liked school and thrived in that sort of structured environment.
So by all means, go out and try to be the next Bill Gates-Steve Jobs-Mark Zuckerberg but spare us the “school of life, man” condescension.
There are many different learning and teaching styles. A four-year college degree happened to suit me just fine. Granted, I had the privilege of not having to take on debt for it. (My parents paid for half, a scholarship for the other half.)
The alternative to my private Midwestern college would have been the University of Maryland, which is a perfectly fine state school which I’m sure I would have enjoyed.
The fact is, college isn’t for everybody. And it’s ridiculous that certain formerly blue-collar professions now require a four-year degree just to get your foot in the door. But what’s always been true is this — if you don’t like school, you won’t get much out of college. And that doesn’t make you a bad person, nor does it make you the next Steve Jobs.