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I gotz me an Edumacation.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Nettdata, Oct 24, 2009.

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  1. Nettdata

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    I was out last night with some colleagues from work, and the topic of education came up.

    We all work at a video game company, and are the senior people leading a very large team, and are entrusted with developing one of the largest games out there. I'd like to believe that we're all somewhat intelligent and capable people. (For the most part).

    We started talking about our histories and how we got to be where we are, and it was quite interesting to see the various levels of "formal" education that were represented around the table, especially since we had representation from the US, Canada, England, France, and Sweden.

    About half of the people went to university, a quarter to a technical school for a couple of years, and a quarter stopped their formal education at high school.

    This revelation brought out some interesting reactions. For the most part, everyone just accepted it as one of many diverse paths to where we were, but one of the guys is quite the ring-knocker. (A ring knocker is a term I learned at Military College that describes a person who tends to draw attention to their class ring, ostensibly by tapping it on a table, to point out the fact that HE went to a Military Colleges and is therefore somehow superior to those who didn't... as in, "I have a ring and you don't so I'm better than you". They were generally at the top of the list to be fragged.) As a result, we could see his attitude change a bit with the revelation that some of our group didn't have a degree.

    Then we started talking about the stupidly high costs of education, the questionable necessity of formal education, and the return on investment.

    In some fields of study, there is no doubt that you absolutely NEED the formalized education to even get your foot in the door (such as the stuff Geigs does), or a physician/surgeon, etc.

    In my particular field, however, a formal education doesn't seem to make a difference. I've seen some of the best code written by guys that never attended a class after high school, and I've seen some absolute shit produced by guys with a Master's degree. Really, once you get the basic understanding down, it's more about experience and on-the-job learning from the more experienced members of your team.


    FOCUS: Education. Do you have a formal education? Does it make a difference in your life? Was it the right decision for you? What did you get out of it that was worthwhile, what was a waste of time, and what was it missing? Is the insane cost of an education worth it?

    ANTI-FOCUS: For the more experienced in the group, if you had to go back and do it again, what would you do differently? Not do it at all? Study something different?
     
  2. Roboto

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    I study archaeology, so an advanced education is definitely necessary. However, unlike the other subfields of anthropology (like cultural or linguistic), it is possible to find employment as an archaeologist with a BA (rather than needing a Ph.D.).

    Of course, people with BA's tend to work on a contractual basis, going from dig to dig or survey to survey, so higher degrees can provide much better job security. When I got my MA, I was a staff archaeologist with a private company. I enjoyed the job, but my ultimate goal is to be a professor, so now I'm back in school working on a Ph.D.
     
  3. Nettdata

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    When I originally figured out what I wanted to take in school, I did it with a focus of "what can get me a good job and make me lots of money and let me be successful".

    Because affordable, non-mainframe type computers were just starting to come around, I saw them as being a world-changing thing, and figured that I'd rather be on the inside than the outside.

    I wanted to learn all I could about them, so that's why I chose Computer Engineering.

    I don't regret it, and it's served me well.

    However...

    Lately, as I find myself getting older and my outlook on life changing, I do find myself interested more and more in things non-scientific. Like History. I wish I had the resources to take 4-5 years off and get a History degree. I'd love to immerse myself in it, and visit the locations that it happened.

    For now, due to time and financial constraints, I have to content myself with reading the occasional book, watching the occasional documentary, and surfing the net.
     
  4. Vyce77

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    My journey towards my college degree taught me the most effective and efficient manner in which to solve problems, and in general get shit done. I gained similar knowledge working as a server/bartender for 7 years.

    In the end a engineering degree was needed regardless, so I didn't really have an option. However in retrospect, I think most would benefit from the wisdom gained by attending a university.

    (Yes as an engineer I saw someone construct a drill-do... unfortunately they were not an engineer and that frozen hotdog just flew off the end of that industrial power drill)
     
  5. Roboto

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    My approach was almost the opposite of Nettdata's. I volunteered at local amateur excavations when I was in high school, but my family persuaded me to avoid archaeology when I started going to college. But my first job out of college was horrendously mind-numbing, so I quickly realized that I could only enjoy my life by doing something I love, regardless of how little money I make.

    I don't regret my decision at all. And even though undergrad college was very expensive, it isn't too difficult to get funding for grad school through teaching or research assistantships. As long as you can live within a meager means, graduate school is definitely doable.
     
  6. redbullgreygoose

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    I'm a freshman at University right now. I have no idea what I want to do. But I figure I might as well stay here until I do figure it out. I love getting drunk, random hook ups and like a lot of the people I've met so far. My parents pay for it all, as long as I keep doing well. So why not?
     
  7. toytoy88

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    Up until the point I started running a network my resume involved being a drunk, a carpenter,a glazier, a musician,a cook, a bodyguard, and a truck driver.

    Not very impressive, but pretty good for someone with a 8th grade education.

    When I finally went back to school to learn computers I quickly learned I didn't want to program. I learned Java, Javascript, C++, HTML, DHTML, and Basic. A friend that owned a software company told me what writing code as a job was like and I quickly agreed with him that it wasn't for me. I don't want to spend a week coding an array (A sub function of another action), thats just boring.

    Having an education is awesome, but some of the stupidest people I've ever encountered have advanced degrees and some of the smartest people I know grew bored with structured education and learned on their own.
     
  8. thegoodlife

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    I too am an archaeologist, however I just have my B.A (for now). It is pretty much necessary for my field, but to add to what Roboto said, experience is also necessary. When I started applying for jobs, I quickly found that almost everyone wanted someone with at least 6 months to a year of field experience (at the time I only had like, 2 months of experience). Although a Masters will most likely lead to a more permanent, higher-paying position in archaeology (and in any field), it may not be absolutely necessary. After talking to people in higher positions at my company, I've learned that a lot of places will take a person with a B.A and 5 years experience over someone with a Masters and absolutely no experience. That idea can probably be applied to most fields. For example, I have a buddy with his MBA, but he can't get a job because he has no experience.

    So to sum that up and apply it to the focus - Yes, college education has made a difference for me in my field.

    Overall I am happy with my degree, but I can say that looking back, I probably could have gone to a university that wasn't so expensive and still gotten the same education. Also, I finished all the requirements for my major in like, the first 5 semesters, but I still had a bunch of credit hours to fill for grad requirements. I wasted a lot of time in random classes and picking up a useless second major to fill those. I don't know how I could have changed that, but I feel like my last year and a half of school was a little bit of a waste.

    That was kind of ramble-y, sorry.
     
  9. DrinksOnTheHouse

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    FOCUS: Well, yeah, I am a lawyer. I could not be doing this without the education I paid for. My undergrad was on the beach and 10 miles away from mountains (no snow) and I can't imagine a better place to spend those years b/t ages 18-21. The fact that tuition was never more than 5K a year and it was, in retrospective, dirt cheap, rent-wise and etc, to live in an undergrad paradise 3 blocks from the beach -- I think it was worth it.

    I took some time off to work in DC before entering law school and decided to just say, fuck it, I will take the LSAT and see if I can get into a decent school near where I am, I will go. It wasn't until the reality of 100K of debt hit me how much that decision would cost. Nevertheless, I don't regret any of the decisions I made education wise. I do strongly tell anyone who considers law school to truly understand what and how much that entails. But I don't need to preach that here, everyone saw the threads about that on the last message board.
     
  10. Nettdata

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    That's what really kills me.

    I had my education paid for by the Canadian Military (in return for some post-grad service). Hell, I was getting PAID to go to school... enough that I had a car, a motorcycle, and budget left over for some serious fun.

    I can't fathom graduating into this economy with that kind of debt load and not having an overwhelming desire to eat a gun.


    What are the going rates for education these days? What kind of student loans are recent graduates dealing with?
     
  11. SaintBastard

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    I went to a good college and the brand name helped me land a good job, so I think it was a good investment in that sense. Color it any way you want, I still think college is just a way for companies to outsource their screening and certification processes (and an excuse to drink for four years on your parents dime.) The business and professional relationships you might take from an good alumni network could also be valuable, but the actual coursework could be learned elsewhere (outside of some technical fields.)
     
  12. zyron

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    What sucks for students who have loans today is they made it much harder for them to consolidate the loans and lock in the rates that are so low.

    I graduated right before 9/11 happened and when the economy shit the bed that time I locked in my $30,000 in student loans at a little under 3%. After paying on time for 4 years they lowered my rates another 1%. Plus you get to claim your interest payments on your taxes so it costs even less.

    I tried to help someone do this a little while ago with Sallie Mae (who my loan is with) and they don't even offer loan consolidation anymore.
     
  13. Pete Mitchell

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    I just graduated from the University of New Hampshire in May which is one of the costliest state schools to attend for out of state residents. As a New Yorker in 2009 I would have to drop over $36,000 for tuition and room and board. I have a little over $20k in debt right now which I have to start paying back in November/December. My degree is in finance however I currently wait tables to pay bills while I continue my job search. When I went into the school in 05/06 UNH's accredited business school had a very good reputation and some rankings in the Northeast. Though I'm not 100% sure where it stands now or how public opinion/polls view the business college today.

    Edit: The Dept of Education "assumed ownership", as the letter I received in the mail states, of one of my loans and I pay 6.8% on that

    Edit #2: This might belong in the shameless self-promotion thread but I am not a creepy internet troll or fuck-up. I was a Captain and two-time Academic All-American on the lacrosse team so if anyone out there works or has friends that I could speak with in Chicago/NYC/Boston I'd love to make some introductions. Not asking for a job, just some people I might be able to speak with.
     
  14. taste_my_rainbow

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    I had quite the college experience. This is going to be long...

    We have a phenomenal community college here, so after high school, I figured why not. I had no clue about what I wanted to be "when I grew up" so I started in computers. I love web design, loathe networking and can't do programming for shit. My first summer (3rd semester) I was sitting outside on a break when I just started to cry. I wasn't happy. I didn't want to sit at a desk all day, I wanted to be an Interior Designer. I promptly dropped the class and ended the semester with my 'Web Design Certification'. I spent another three years at this school. An "academic" year that I took all sorts of shit and two in the Art dept. I finished my Associates in Fine Art and planned to transfer to Western Carolina for Interior Design. At the last minute (like 3 weeks) before I was supposed to leave I decided that I couldn't be that far from my boyfriend that lived in SC. So I stay at the community college one more semester getting everything straight to go to Winthrop in SC that spring. Winthrop was a bad experience for me. I stayed one semester, calling my mom mid way through saying I should transfer to UNC Greensboro. So that fall, I leave for UNCG. I commuted over an hour each way, everyday for a year before I moved. The Interior Architecture program broke my soul and again I was miserable. I flunked out of the program and started at a tech school for Construction Management. Being the only female in the program was a lot of pressure... so again, after the semester ended I didn't re-enroll. I took a year off from school, worked and then moved back home. I went back to school again in the fall, at the first community college and graduated a year later with my Esthetics certification. I took my state board exams less than a week later and opened a spa less than a month after that. Unfortunately I closed my business last month and am now back to being a nanny and working in construction with my dad. (I'm a pretty damn good trim carpenter) I just renewed my esthetician license and am formulating my own product line, but that's something that takes time go get off the ground.

    So... if you're keeping up that's 6 majors and 4 school (that I attended). I love being an esthetician but I don't regret the time or money for all the other stuff. I've learned some really cool shit and made great friends along the way.

    My parents paid for 4 years and the rest I took on myself. I don't even like to think about how in debt I am.
     
  15. swood

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    Just started my last year of a BSc Chemistry degree, and starting my application to do a PGCE to teach. It weirds me out that I could be teaching in secondary school in 2 years.

    I knew from a young age I was going to go to university, seriously it was never an option in my mind to not go to university. I don't remember my parents being pushy about education but they must have at some point. And most of my life I've known I wanted to study science, however I always assumed I was going to be a physicist. In fact I applied to study physics, got scared by the thought of all the maths and both of my brothers failing their physics degree before me, and changed to chemistry just before I joined uni.

    The only thing I regret is that I never considered anything else. Looking back I still would have ended up doing a science degree but I feel I should have given other subjects a chance before I dismissed them.

    As for cost, the UK practically throws money at you. I'm also a welsh student studying in Wales, so fee's are cheaper, and my mum's poor so I get all the loan money that's available. I also scored a scholarship from my university that come to £3000 in the end, I think. I still owe a ton of money when I finish but only when my income exceeds £15,000.
     
  16. amyjrn23

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    I'm a nurse. I decided to become a nurse not because I wanted to help people, heal the sick, blah blah, blah....I do not consider my self all that altruistic. Although I don't consider myself unsympathetic either. I just knew that I didn't want to work 5 days a week, sit at a desk, sell anything, or wear heels to work. So I found the perfect job/career. I wear scrubs and Nikes to work. I work 3 days a week and make 60+. I have unlimited earning ability (w/ overtime and contract work), which really comes in handy because my husbands income is very economy dependent. I have a BS degree although you can go through an associates degree nursing program in about 3 years and sit for the boards. Nursing school was a waste of time....all busy work. 99% of what I do is on-the-job training. I went to community college then transferred to a state school. My entire degree cost about $12,000 in tuition (back in 96-01). I won't say that it's easy. You definitely need the right attitude for health care, but the job security is excellent.


    If you want the opportunity to experience unintentional comedy on a daily basis....health care is for you. There is nothing funnier than sick stupid people. I specialized in labor and delivery so I should clarify....there is nothing funnier that stupid people choosing to multiply.
     
  17. Dcc001

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    Man, I could go on and on about post-secondary education.

    I started out wanting to become an engineer, and after two years I left my university because my grades were horrible and I hated the place. I transferred to a different university and completed an undergraduate degree in business management. It always bugged me that I dropped out of engineering, though, so the week after I finished my bachelor's degree I started a civil engineering tech diploma.

    Now I'm doing a Master's degree in Human Security and Peacebuilding, which is kind of like a combination of international law, mediation and political science. So there's no continuity whatsoever to my formal edcuation: engineering, then business, then the humanities. Someday I'd like to take a PhD and teach at a university, but who knows?

    I wish I'd done it completely differently. I should have done the Civil Tech diploma first, then it would have counted as 2 years towards an undergrad. PLUS, I could've worked summers as a fully educated C.E.T. and had better part time jobs going through school.

    My experience has been that nothing beats real-life experience and common sense. I design residential housing right now, and the idiots that graduate with advanced degrees and produce useless blueprints is shocking. Give me somebody with a highschool education who started designing with graph paper and a slide rule any day of the week. My education gives me leverage and sometimes lends my arguments weight, but only with dipshits who don't know any better to start with.

    I also wish they'd push the trades more in junior high and high school. Kids in advanced classes aren't typically given the option of hearing about technical colleges or apprenticeships...they're shovelled into university. Ever met an unemployed, jouneyman plumber? A broke electrician? Neither have I, and they usually work with their hands, own their own companies and set their own schedules...something that would be attractive to a lot of high school kids, I think.
     
  18. rei

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    I started Uni for Philosophy and Political Science and realized it wasn't for me (nor was the law path that was leading to) - I realized it would take me 5 years on top of the two I'd done to switch fully into Computer Science so I left that school and am now on the cusp of graduating a technical college in computer programming.

    Once I'm done that I'll look for better work and finish off my degree online at Athabasca, I'm just desperate to get out of academia right now.
     
  19. mad5427

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    I am in the profession of Architecture. A formal education had never been necessary until the last 15 to 20 years. A group called the AIA(American Institute of Architects) and NCARB(National Council of Architecture Registration Boards) have a firm grip now on what has to be done to be able to call yourself an architect.

    Arguably one of the greatest architects of all time, Frank Lloyd Wright, and, in my opinion at least, the greatest living architect, Tadao Ando, were never formally educated in the traditional collegiate setting. Wright might never of finished high school. He ended up taking some college classes later, but left after a year or two. Ando was a boxer and a truck driver before becoming an architect. He had NO formal training.

    They both followed the very old school path of becoming an apprentice and learning the trade from that. Hell, Ando might not of even done that. He just kicked so much ass that he just started designing stuff and people built it. And it's fucking awesome work. If you have an interest in the built environment and don't already know who he is, look him up. His command of materials, light, space, it's just amazing. NO...FORMAL....TRAINING.

    Well, today in the US, there are a couple ways to become an architect. 5-6 year college program for a BArch. Or with a bachelor's in something else, 2-3 years to get an MArch. Those will allow you to sit for the 7 exams once you get a minimum of three years of experience under your belt. Some states will allow similar degrees that aren't accredited. They will make you have your degree plus 4 years of work experience then the minimum 3 years of further experience, so 7 total. Even fewer states will allow people to sit for the exams if they have a high school degree and 12 years of experience. So, they technically are allowing the apprentice method. There are only a few states that will allow that and you can only practice in those couple states.

    It's confusing and very crazy. It is sad that they've made it so that you pretty much need to get the degree. It's even sadder that you learn almost nothing in the academic environment. So much of what I do on a daily basis was learned hands on in the field.

    EDIT to answer the focus better: I can't see myself doing anything else. Never could. If I went back it would be hard to not do the same thing. That being said, it's a hard god damned profession. We are canaries to the economy. First to die and one of the last to recover. It's a negatively cyclical profession with few ups and difficult downs. It's hard to balance your creative desires with the realities of a project. At the end of the day, when you have the honor to stand amongst something that was in your head and has a good chance of being there long after you are gone, that's pretty cool. One smart part of me would go back and run screaming towards something that pays better with less stress, less initial education requirements and less continuous education to stay relevant and improve but I really believe that I would probably change nothing and do what I was meant to.
     
  20. _RL

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    I have a BS in Pure Mathematics. I started off studying Business, decided I didn't like it, then moved to Economics, and decided I didn't like that either. I always loved and was good at math in grade school, and I didn't really know what I wanted to do after college. Thus, I became a math major and, for the most part, enjoyed it. If I could turn the clock back, I'd do it again. I might be going back for Ph.D. in Statistics.

    Going to school for math was helped me in several different ways. I had to take a lot of classes dealing with writing mathematical proofs. This helps not only with general analytical skills, but with writing as well. It also helps with getting a job. Even during the recession, I got a lot of replies to my job inquiries and was hired within a few months of graduation. They probably think that math majors are smarter than most. I had those bastards fooled. It gets annoying after awhile when people "ooh" and "aah" at the fact that you have a math degree, and hearing that they "had to take calculus twice", "can you do my homework for me" or whatever.

    Taking the required, non-math classes were a huge waste of time. I never went/gave a shit and still got A's and B's. I wish I had more control of what I had to take to graduate, but that's wishful thinking for a big state school.
     
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