Derek Johnson Muses

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Valuing College Through My Experience

Recently, I’ve read and heard Peter Thiel and Mark Cuban saying that education isn’t as necessary, and that people with visions should just leave college to work on their visions, and the education bubble will eventually collapse like the housing bubble did. There is some validity to this, but what their perspective doesn’t address is why higher ed is now bloated. While I graduated college, I have an experience that deals with

Over seven years ago, I received my college degree from Concordia University Wisconsin. My life at the time felt like a vacuum. I had no goals or long-term plans. I had planned all through college that I would go to seminary after I graduated and become a pastor, but in February of my senior year, I abandoned those plans. Being a rebel, I didn’t want to know what I was going to do with the rest of my life

Unfortunately, my plan had two critical flaws. First, I excelled in a field (ancient languages) which doesn’t pay in the real world, and I did need the extra work to get a degree and then find some way to make my expertise relevant, whether it be teaching or something else. Two, I was bored in college because I was so bright. I did get that when I moved back to my parents’ house and started shuffling through temp jobs. Even if it wasn’t seminary, I should have chosen another form of graduate school.

But what I’ve learned is, no matter what my situation is, I have to make something out of it. I wrote a lot, actually, but I continue to search for  passions. Working under my father in a self-supervised environment has been a real boon for me in accumulating, and my photography and work at the gallery has given me more passions. This blog has also helped me develop my writing skills and given voice to my ideas. Every day I have a motto: do something that makes progress on a project, and make the people in your world better at what they do.

But I haven’t let the question of graduate degree go, at least not yet. The one thing I wish I would have known back when I was how much harder it is to make life-changes when you’re in your late twenties.

Where a lot of Thiel and Cuban’s criticism should be directed is toward the quality of higher education; with more people demanding it, professors simply have to make their course work easier to accommodate student’s extracurricular activities and generally low minds. And due to tenure, professors don’t face the reality of constantly having to adapt or loss their jobs if they don’t. So much of college is about being young and enjoying, not getting ready for the realities of a harsh world.

Wish someone would have told me that.

(More Experience)

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