Degrees and Blenders: Should we really be buying what universities are selling?
When I walk through the doors of York University, I’m not entering a school. I am stepping into a superstore, not unlike Walmart. But there are classrooms, you say, and educators. You’re given information and evaluated on it, you argue. You get a degree, you retort. And yes, all of that is true, and all of it should equal an education and the promise of a job, but I don’t think it really adds up. Allow me to explain myself.
Over the past three years, I have given York University $16,000 in tuition fees alone. This has nothing to do with books and such which come up to a not-too-shabby $1,400. That’s a fair bit of money. Bu it’s worth it, right? After all, at the end of four grueling years of late nights, early mornings and caffeine dependency, I am going to walk into the job of my dreams and a sweet bi-weekly pay cheque, right? Wrong.
Chances of me getting the dream job because of my degree are as high as me getting a blender from Walmart that doesn't turn into a smoking death trap (and speaking from experience, chances of this are incredibly slim). A degree, while almost an absolute necessity in today’s job market, is not a guarantee of anything but your ability to absorb information and regurgitate it upon request. Sure, you could add an original thought or two to that short answer question on your exam, but a verbatim repetition of the professor’s slides will get you a pass which is all you need to get that degree.
See, the issue here is that education has become about giving you a tidily wrapped up package of information at a hefty price and sending you on your merry way. Just how much of this information stays in your mind beyond the final exam is debatable, but a lot of it is useless and gets flushed along with the lyrics to that 80s song your mother’s always humming. A university education is a shot in the dark. But we all buy it anyway because the world says we can’t succeed without it. Half of the degrees we pursue have little to no practical application. As for those that do, at risk of sounding like a broken record, they don’t make anything certain. If you’re not good at what you do, or know someone who can wiggle you in and push you to the top of your field, you just might find yourself trying to eat that degree, or wipe your ass with it.
You know, my greatest fear is that I’ll end up with a $24,000 degree worth no more than the lint in my pocket and a menial retail job selling more faulty product to the next generation of university students. Wouldn't that have made all this money and time a tremendous waste? But let me not think so negatively and call that upon myself. I will get my dream job and make enough money to live comfortably and wake up happy every morning that I stuck it out during those boring, but useful, lectures. I will, won’t I?