The Higher Education Thread: Justify Poor Life Choices

Mist

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Basically all degrees are useless, because college is useless. Almost nothing you could learn in 4 years of sitting through classes taught by mediocre professors couldn't be learned in 2 years (or less if you're smart) of actually working in the field, and you could be getting paid for it, too.

The whole way we do education is bad.
 
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ZyyzYzzy

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Basically all degrees are useless, because college is useless. Almost nothing you could learn in 4 years of sitting through classes taught by mediocre professors couldn't be learned in 2 years (or less if you're smart) of actually working in the field, and you'd actually be getting paid for it, too.

The whole way we do education is bad.
Yes college is worthless. Sure is useless for people to pursue PhDs in genetics or anything like that. Nothing useful has come from basic research in that field or any others. Thanks mist.
 

Mist

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Yes college is worthless. Sure is useless for people to pursue PhDs in genetics or anything like that. Nothing useful has come from basic research in that field or any others. Thanks mist.
Research institutions only further prove my point. The research associates are getting paid for their work, it's an actual job that pays money, not merely a set of classes that cost money.

But at those research institutions, the actual education of students is secondary. Most of the professors at in many research programs actually suck at teaching, because their primary job is producing research, not instruction. For most students, they'll fiind better teachers and better classes at community college than they would in universities that focus on their research programs.
 

kegkilla

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Research institutions only further prove my point. The research associates are getting paid for their work, it's an actual job that pays money, not merely a set of classes that cost money.

But at those research institutions, the actual education of students is secondary. Most of the professors at in many research programs actually suck at teaching, because their primary job is producing research, not instruction. For most students, they'll fiind better teachers and better classes at community college than they would in universities that focus on their research programs.
Why don't we just cut to the chase and you tell us which failure of the higher education system lead to you being a 30-something spinster with a worthless psych degree and a job doing tech support in a call center?
 

ZyyzYzzy

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Ehhh that us a myth I feel like. Sure general entry classes like biology or physics are meh because some professor is stuck teaching them, but as you get into more specialized ones and graduate classes were the class is also the area that the professor researches, teaching and engagement, as well as useful concepts learned are done well.
 

hodj

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If you're going to college to get a job, go to college to get a job. Get the technical certifications and degrees you need and gtfo and into the workplace

If you're going to college to learn to think, go to college to learn to think. Take a shit load of classes that stimulate your mind and interests, and be sure to engage in philosophy and mathematics courses that help structure your thought processes into an effective tool.

If you're going to college because that's what everyone else does and you're expected to do and because you think its the Willy Wonka's Golden Ticket into the middle class, you're going to have a bad time.
 

Cad

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If college is useless, is high school also useless? Is middle school useless? How about elementary school? Should we just send kids to the office at age 4 and the secretaries can teach them to read?

At what level is basic education now useful?
 
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TJT

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To be fair, being a research assistant/in a PhD program is hard only because of all the administrative work they are using you to complete on a chump change stipend.

Actual research work is 99% menial, dumb tasks and the genius portion of it comes in both the structure of the experiment and the correct interpretation of the results you get. There's a reason the guy who writes the PhD comic strip became a fucking comic strip writer after getting a PhD in Robotic Engineering at fucking Stanford. Even he realized how dumb it was when he spent 8 years designing some insect like robots that were shittier than things you saw on Battlebots back in 2001 made my middle aged dudes in their garage just tinkering around with shit for fun.

As far as the current education system. The entire concept of having like 80 hours of electives in a given major needs to totally fucking die. Get rid of that shit and never look back.
 
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Creslin

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Research institutions only further prove my point. The research associates are getting paid for their work, it's an actual job that pays money, not merely a set of classes that cost money.

But at those research institutions, the actual education of students is secondary. Most of the professors at in many research programs actually suck at teaching, because their primary job is producing research, not instruction. For most students, they'll fiind better teachers and better classes at community college than they would in universities that focus on their research programs.
Kinda yes, and kinda no to this. The best research professors have huge impacts on everyone else in those departments. They recruit the best staff around them to help that research. So you end up with very good departments even if the all-star professors actual impact on the day to day education of under grads is non-existent. The post-docs and phd candidates who come to work with a really strong department head are the ones teaching the classes, and above average researchers generally have above average departments around them.

Where I agree with you is the idea that some stupid undergrad is really even going to benefit from having a genius researcher teach him is really kinda questionable in and of itself. Students at those lower levels benefit far more from someone who is good at getting a message across and make the low level material they are learning interesting. Having Einstein teach high school physics sounds like a great idea to most people, but when you really think about it he doesn't know any secret sauce in that low level shit that they have to learn, so it is a waste having someone at that level do it, you are better off with a good educator. And that is where you can end up better off in community college.
 

Debase

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Actual research work is 99% menial, dumb tasks and the genius portion of it comes in both the structure of the experiment and the correct interpretation of the results you get.

As someone who has a PhD in a hard science from an Ivy League school, you are pretty close to correct... at least in the life sciences. The part of science that requires a brain is the designing the question, identifying the most elegant experiments to ask the questions, interpreting the results and knowing what the next question to ask is. Unfortunately, 98% of the time, you are repeating experiments ad nauseam tweaking stuff like "How many nanograms of X do I need to add? What percentage of detergents give me the cleanest wash results? Which primers replicate this sample DNA best? How many PCR cycles do I need?".... Trial and error.

For me, the 7 years I spent getting two advanced degrees were only useful in helping me to hone thinking skills... which I could have done in a more efficient manner. I have a good job in an entirely different field at this point. When people hear I have a PhD, I almost feel embarrassed explaining that I spent 6+ years getting a degree I don't use, then another year getting a second masters to transition my PhD into something closer to where I found I wanted to go.

Now, I think its important to say this... degree matter to people that hire because they are easily defensible as a separator. I would not be where I am now without those diplomas because people think more of the degrees than I do. I got jobs in unrelated fields because people saw PhD next to my name and thought more highly of me than they might have otherwise.
 

Mist

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If college is useless, is high school also useless? Is middle school useless? How about elementary school? Should we just send kids to the office at age 4 and the secretaries can teach them to read?

At what level is basic education now useful?
No.

Our high schools are fucking broken and that's a big part of why college is so useless. So much of what ends up being taught in college is stuff that should have been taught in high school, but wasn't because our high schools are just mind-blowingly bad in this country, on average.

Because the first few years of college end up being so remedial, lots of smart people drop out. Then again, this is how you get the Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerbergs, etc, so maybe on some level the system is working. But it doesn't work well for most people.
 

ZyyzYzzy

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As someone who has a PhD in a hard science from an Ivy League school, you are pretty close to correct... at least in the life sciences. The part of science that requires a brain is the designing the question, identifying the most elegant experiments to ask the questions, interpreting the results and knowing what the next question to ask is. Unfortunately, 98% of the time, you are repeating experiments ad nauseam tweaking stuff like "How many nanograms of X do I need to add? What percentage of detergents give me the cleanest wash results? Which primers replicate this sample DNA best? How many PCR cycles do I need?".... Trial and error.

For me, the 7 years I spent getting two advanced degrees were only useful in helping me to hone thinking skills... which I could have done in a more efficient manner. I have a good job in an entirely different field at this point. When people hear I have a PhD, I almost feel embarrassed explaining that I spent 6+ years getting a degree I don't use, then another year getting a second masters to transition my PhD into something closer to where I found I wanted to go.

Now, I think its important to say this... degree matter to people that hire because they are easily defensible as a separator. I would not be where I am now without those diplomas because people think more of the degrees than I do. I got jobs in unrelated fields because people saw PhD next to my name and thought more highly of me than they might have otherwise.
Most people truly don't realize how much of the biological sciences is just tweaking the recipe...a lot of times. Or hoping that this time your transfection/whatever was just more efficient for reasons like new reagents.
 

Cad

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No.

Our high schools are fucking broken and that's a big part of why college is so useless. So much of what ends up being taught in college is stuff that should have been taught in high school, but wasn't because our high schools are just mind-blowingly bad in this country, on average.

Because the first few years of college end up being so remedial, lots of smart people drop out. Then again, this is how you get the Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerbergs, etc, so maybe on some level the system is working. But it doesn't work well for most people.

So... basically you think all schools are terrible?

It's not like I really disagree with that, but what do you suggest?
 

Mist

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As far as the current education system. The entire concept of having like 80 hours of electives in a given major needs to totally fucking die. Get rid of that shit and never look back.
I disagree almost completely. Forcing people to get a well-rounded education is actually one of the few things that works about the university system. Highly intelligent people benefit from a well-rounded education more than average people do, though.

The mix should be played with a bit, though. For instance, a CS or engineering student's general education requirements should be mostly business-related rather than completely useless shit. An engineer that understands the business of engineering, is more useful to the economy than one that doesn't. Then again, an engineer that understands graphic design is more useful to the economy than one that doesn't. An engineer that took 2 semesters of history of theater and religious studies? Probably not.
 
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Titan_Atlas

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I think discounting the value of the doors that are opened by education is unfair. As a non college grad I really wish I had taken the time to get an education when I was younger. I do believe it has hampered my advancement in life. As to the OP yeah practical degree's are really the only ones that should be funded.
 
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TJT

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I disagree almost completely. Forcing people to get a well-rounded education is actually one of the few things that works about the university system. Highly intelligent people benefit from a well-rounded education more than average people do, though.

The mix should be played with a bit, though. For instance, a CS or engineering student's general education requirements should be mostly business-related rather than completely useless shit. An engineer that understands the business of engineering,is more useful to the economy than one that doesn't. Then again, an engineer that understands graphic design is more useful to the economy than one that doesn't. An engineer that took 2 semesters of history of theater and religious studies? Probably not.

80 hours of electives that don't apply to the actual major you're studying is effectively paying cold hard cash to discover... shit that interests you. If you're referring to major electives. I don't know about others, but my CS/Math program had all that shit in it for the major class options. You had the core Major classes you had to take. Then several options for the remaining portion.

You can do that by other, chaper and more efficient means such as Googling shit, going to the library, joining social groups and so on.

Well rounded? What does that even fucking mean? Highly intelligent people are normally naturally inquisitive to some degree and investigate topics as they feel the need to. This inherently makes them knowledgeable on multiple subjects. They don't need to pay some asshole to teach them about art history so they can possibly name drop Van Gogh to their boss and look good or pick up dumb bitches who think you're sophisticated.
 

Kuriin

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Mist thinks that medical, nursing, and PA school is useless because each one takes >2 years to complete (not even including prerequisites).
 
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