Students just play in college

Regina Budden / Washburn Review

University students used considered the next generation of academia. They wrote essays in the same style as the great writers. Everything was handed to them with the intention for them to learn it in the pursuit of more knowledge, more wisdom, in order to pass it on to the next generation of students.

Back then, artisans, businessmen, traders, blacksmiths, erchitects and etc. learned their trades through apprenticeships. You only went to school if you aspired to be a court physician of some kind, or a professor.

Why does that matter now? Because the university system has hardly changed. The students are not looking at a career path, but at a place to play while they figure out what they’re doing with their lives.

I am fortunate to be in a department that is very oriented toward the hands-on approach to learning. Most of us are required to spend quite a bit of time networking and researching for practical projects that I can see myself doing for an employeerin the job place. But often, my peers are not granted the same opportunity. They write papers and attend lectures about subjects that interest them, but they don’t have a lot of experience doing anything practical in their field.

When current college students graduate, most of us will have to get internships before we are even considered for the jobs we want. The emphasis on internships makes all the years we spend in classrooms seem relatively pointless. These internships more resemble the apprenticeships of old, where a student learns by doing under the watchful eye of the master, instead of just studying in a classroom about how it is done.

I’m not completely against the university system. However, I think that we ought to take a look at the way it’s being run. Are we really encouraging students to learn in a practical way? Usually we’re encouraging students to learn in a way that will lead them to further education in graduate schools. And again, I’m not anti-grad school, but as the popularity of grad schools increase, the value of Associate and Bachelor degrees decreases.

For instance, research indicates that law students who are not in the top third of their law school will likely be unable to even work in law. Not to say that a law degree is worthless for them, but it hardly equates the time and money in vs. time and money out equation.

I know life isn’t an equation to balance, and continuing education is important, but is encouraging the same path for everyone really the best thing? It’s hard to say to a student “college isn’t right for you” or “yeah you did well in college, but that’s as far as you should go,” but sometimes that’s what is better for their life.

Life isn’t an equation, but to quote Marshall Mathers, life is no Nintendo game, either.