What I learned in college

As you know by now, the University of Maryland is a business. Their business is selling degrees. (Which, on its own right, is a type of currency in the “real world” for “real world” jobs. But you knew that.) You pay for your degree with an interesting payment plan. The payment plan is a combination of two currencies. One is internal while the other is external. The internal currency is your lost hours of sleep and grades. The other is in the form of cold, hard cash. So other than a degree, what did you actually learn? Think broadly.

I believe that, apart from the accoutrements a university experience affords, the best thing that a university offers is the ability to become more articulate. Now hold up. I’m not talking simply from the humanities standpoint. Metaphorically, let me stretch the idea of this articulation to the sciences. Is it not the nature of chemistry, to reduce matter to the chemical interactions that give it its form, function, etc.? What happens with this education is that it makes clear the things unseeable from first glance (and deeper). By using the toolset our respective majors teach us, we become adept at articulating the problems that motivate such study, and thus be able to find ways to solve them. (In a sense, all education aims to be reductive to solve problems even though some problems are, by their nature, unsolvable. But that is for another blog post entirely.)

Remove yourself from the one-track attitude your majors have instilled in you. As you attend your classes, keep in mind this idea of furthering your ability to articulate yourself. As you learn business models or of South African apartheid, reduce them into their essences. I find it helps to deal with the malaise and depression that comes from learning business models or of South African apartheid.

So. What did YOU learn?


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