May 032008

EDIT: This was originally posted Friday morning, but my wonderful blog web hosting company deleted my blog Friday night and took more than 12 hours to restore it from their backups, so this post (and possibly others that I don’t recall now) were missing.

graduation Couldn’t sleep this morning, so I was stumbling around some and came across a post by Karlana titled high school education = graduation = college education … It all leads to somewhere! It starts out well enough-

Long title, but has a good message – don’t allow your secondary education to shortfall you from your college education.

And, as an anarchist (read: someone who believes in self-reliance) I couldn’t agree more with the ending-

Learn to think for yourself. Learn to be yourself. Two short lines that will be helpful in any situation.

However, the bulk of the article doesn’t seem to support the conclusion. Her post covers a lot of territory, so I want to take it bit by bit. It may look like I’m trying to tear her words apart, but, in reality it’s 6am and I just want to keep everything straight as I go.

Education has always been one of the most important things in my life, but formal education has been a concept I’ve struggled with for the past 23 years. The Random House Unabridged Dictionary contains five definitions for education-

  1. the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
  2. the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession.
  3. a degree, level, or kind of schooling: a university education.
  4. the result produced by instruction, training, or study: to show one’s education.
  5. the science or art of teaching; pedagogics.

Did you notice that the only time school is mentioned at all is in an example of one type of education? That’s because school and education actually have little to do with each other in these days of social promotion and test scores über alles.

Back to Karlanda’s post-

Having a high school education is more important than these seniors realize. In most cases, many jobs will not look at applications and resumes that bear the three letters of “GED”.

GED As someone who’s hired dozens of people for numerous companies over the years I couldn’t disagree more. Not only have I never confirmed that an applicant has graduated high school, but I’ve never heard of it being done. When I was looking for work while still inhigh school I asked the transcripts office at my school if they’d ever received a request from an employer. The answer, not surprisingly, was “no, not in more than 35 years.” The truth is if you’re applying for a job that only requires a high school diploma then employer’s aren’t really worried about your education. They’re far more concerned about how you comport yourself in the interview.

Many employers now look at the GED route as the “cutting corners” route, and that just shows them that perhaps one will always find ways to cut corners.

Or, it may well show them that you already know what you want in your life and saw that school was not getting you there. Getting your GED (particularly before the age of 18) can definitely be seen as a sign of confidence, which is a trait employer’s seek. It’s all about your reasons for doing so and how you express those reasons to prosepctive employers.

Even for the college bound, the GED can be a good thing. I went to a private college prep high school and the student who would have been valedictorian never graduated. Why? Because instead he got his GED and started at UCLA in what would have been his senior year. He went on to graduate (summa cum laude) and get his MBA in 5 years total meaning he was out in the business world before anyone else in our graduating class even had their Bachelor’s Degree. Sometimes “cutting corners” is the smart move!

In most cases, in today’s society, it is like the light finally came on for the parents and the parents are now paying attention to their children’s education and achievements, or what they may be lacking if they are unable to graduate. In some of these cases, the parents have left their teenagers to grow up on their own until the very last minute where they all of a sudden become a parent and start harping on their children to do better in school, before it is too late.

I don’t know that it’s most, but it’s certainly many, and that’s eceedingly unfortunate. However, what these kids need is not necessarily to “do better in school”, but to “do better in life” and if they know what they want to do and can formulate a plan to accomplish it, then the final semester or year of high school is frequently just marking time.

But you also have the students who have parents who have no formal education whatsoever, and their children are now the first generation to graduate from high school with a diploma.


In almost all of these cases, the students move onto college and achieve great things, accomplish the desired, and succeed in life.

This is largely a cultural thing and an excellent reason for finishing high school.

I tell them to make valid strong decisions they will not regret, which means think before they do. I tell them not only is a high school diploma very handy, but a college degree will be worthwhile, life lasting.

Again, she starts off with a valid and strong statement, but follows with a rather wild assumption. What if these students are making a “valid strong decision” to enter the work force and begin their career immediately instead of waiting to finish high school and/or spend more time in college? What if they’ve realized that self-education can take them much farther much more quickly than classes designed for the masses?

One can enter many professional fields without a degree, albeit at a lower level than the college graduate. However, in four years what do you think is more valuable: a degree or four years of experience in the industry? In many, many cases, it is the latter.

The true climax of Karlana’s post is this-

The important thing here is to achieve the most one can, succeed in life by your own accomplishments. But the bottom line here is that without some kind of education, one will not go far in life. That is the message our society’s children are not truly getting if parents constantly hand things to them, bail them out of trouble all the time, and baby them.

And I couldn’t agree with it more. I just feel that she (and many, many others in modern society) need to break free from of the stereotype that a college degree=success. The cat of the matter is that education=success and these days it’s easier than ever to gain that education outside of formal schooling. Living on the streets I knew many college graduates and the pages of history (including those being written right now) are full of people without college degrees. She’s absolutely right that “some kind of education” is vital to success, but if you’ve found an alternative path to that education, please don’t let a piece of paper hold you back. After all-

The important thing here is to achieve the most one can, succeed in life by your own accomplishments.

  2 Responses to “Why Are You On The Road To College?”

  1. I think the basic education is necessary for all. But, if you want to be a professional then a college degree is needed. However, there are so many vocational courses which you can get from a fugal college which are equivalent to the regular college degree.

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