Education: Where Does College Fit In?

Computer lab

The Problem

I’m asking the same questions a lot of other students are asking. Why do we pay to take tests in subjects that we could care less about? Isn’t there a better way to learn what I want than sitting through energy-draining lectures?

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have gotten up in the morning, dreading the fact that I had to get up & go to class, contemplating if it is beneficial for me to skip it or not (which there were plenty of cases where it was), and wish that I had not entered this system, especially when there is something much better & more obvious that I could be doing.

I live on being highly curious and creative. My mind will not concentrate on any subject that doesn’t grab my attention, it’s just the way I’m wired. For me, college seems like I’m paying to become miserable. And I’m not the only one. I hear the comments inside and outside of school. We have the discussions about why we’re here, but we just simply go on with our lessons and don’t question if we should really stay here. The problem we have is that our generation of students are not bold enough to utilize the new generation of thinking, parents are still thinking and believing that the old tradition still works in a new generation, and most companies have not realized that you can learn something outside of a university, perfect your craft & be good at it.

Growing Alternatives

Technology is increasingly making it so that we can learn what we want, at our own pace, & at a much more cost-effective rate than the traditional university. & I’m not talking about “You’re sitting on the couch, watching TV, procrastinating” online for-profit universities that love to advertise to you while you’re watching Maury, like Everest College & University of Phoenix. I mean if you want to become a programmer and learn to make video games, apps, & create websites from scratch, check out Codecademy (Free) or Team Treehouse ($25 per month for Silver Membership, $49 for Gold). If you want to learn to make films and/or video production, Vimeo (free basic membership, $59.95 yearly for plus & $199 for Pro & Business) has a learning section called “Video School” for anyone to utilize or ($25 per month). Either way you look at it, you’re paying a lot less than what would at somebody’s college, & as time passes, the options become much larger.

Then there are some roads that we know taking a college course is not necessary. Do you need a degree to verify that you can design & make clothes? NO. This is something that you learn by doing, & as you develop you get more comfortable and creative. It’s the same for Entrepreneurship or playing a sport professionally. The only way you learn & grow is by experience, and work your way into that position.

But as good as most of these opportunities seem, the new pathway for education has not yet developed a simpler way to get to certain professions. If you want to become a lawyer or a doctor, your best option at the moment is school. No hospital is going to pay to train students for years and no law office will pay to teach students everything there is about the law or being a lawyer. It may be a long time before there is a better alternative for some career choices, if at all, but hopefully there will at least be a faster and more cost-efficient way of getting the education and the job.

A Plan Set In Motion

If you don’t believe the message or that we are not already heading in this direction, feel free to take a look at “The One World Schoolhouse” by Salman Khan, founder & teacher of the Khan Academy. Mr. Khan states that his motivation for creating the Khan Academy was to provide “A Free, World-Class Education for Anyone, Anywhere”. He lays the vision of achieving that goal and fixing our current system out so perfectly and shows through his actions that it works. We are all free to work and learn at our own pace, not at the “one-pace-fits-all” curricula that our broken education system currently provides. He demonstrates that there is a better way.

Someone else to look to is Ryan Carson, the founder of Team Treehouse. He has been very vocal about the fact that college is no longer a necessity, & the information you learn at Team Treehouse is proof of that, and so am I. I am a student of Team Treehouse & I’ve gained knowledge in Business, HTML, & Design. I learned accounting basics that I did not grasp in my Principles of Accounting I class in school, & Treehouse is responsible for teaching me about WordPress, the benefits of blogging, & the possible opportunities it could lead to.

I owe a lot of what I’ve learned over the past few years from teachings online & will continue to learn more. I’m trying to get more people to realize that the world is changing, it’s time for everyone to look at the education system in a different light. College may appeal to certain people, but there is also a sizeable group whom think that they are paying to make themselves miserable. So open yourselves up to a different solution rather than thinking that the traditional is the answer, consider your options, and don’t limit yourself to please others.

Please feel free to share your thoughts & comments with me about this in the comments below or by Twitter @LivingWingfield.

Thank You for listening,


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