The Final First Day
Every person has two educations, one which he receives from others and one, more important, which he gives to himself.
Some thoughts on college as a whole, after reflecting on my final first day of college.
Today was my final first day of college. My final first day of school ever.
I don’t think the weight of that has sunk in truly, and probably will not until I walk into Yankee Stadium on May 23rd for my graduation ceremony.
What do I feel?
Since a young age, I’ve hated the learning aspect of school—I’m an obsessive independent learner. Nothing about the standardized environment of a classroom is conducive to how I learn.
I don’t feel much uncertainty. The older I’ve gotten, the better I’ve gotten at realizing that it’s good to plan and to work towards achieving your goals, but to also expect and be comfortable with veering completely of course.
The half a year I spent working at Twitter also gave me a taste of the real world, so in that sense, I know what awaits me.
To me, the best part of school has always been the people. From the teachers/professors, to the classmates, to the friends, the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my entire lifelong education experience has been my network.
This brings me to the claim I want to discuss, about the reformation (or even extinction) of the traditional four year college system.
I’ve seen some talk in the online tech sphere about disruptive companies trying to experiment with new models of education.
More pragmatic and streamlined courses that are catered to specific career paths from the get-go, remote-first (all from your computer) that are more affordable (some include payment that varies depending on your salary), and overall more efficient.
I see some merit to the system we have now. A liberal arts education is great in theory, as I do believe it is important for people to have a semblance of knowledge in history, art, literature, etc.—but the fact is, most people don’t take it seriously.
As far as I can see, the real value of a college education is the fact that it’s like joining an exclusive club (correlated with how prestigious/elite your institution is).
Firsthand, I’ve seen some not so smart kids land top-tier jobs because of the name brand recognition of their school and their networking ability, and extremely hard working and intelligent kids from state schools miss out.
While that may seem unfair, you have to consider that many high paying jobs rely more on emotional intelligence/soft skills than any theoretical knowledge.
That may be why these new experimental models are gaining traction—they prioritize practical knowledge, and also partner with companies and industry insiders to give you the connections you need to get a foot in the door and succeed.
I’m an open minded person, but I wouldn’t mind if this was the final last day of college that a Hidalgo will ever have.
I think this tweet is the perfect way to end this article.
I truly believe the era of postponing your income for 4 to 15 years while you pay $70,000 a year for the privilege of listening to someone who’s read a book that you can read for free, teach about something they’ve never done themselves, is going to die off in my lifetime.
— Bryan Beal 🎧 (@bryanrbeal) January 28, 2019