June 1, 2011
It’s insane how they slang education like dope in this country. And all the unemployed higher education junkies are so quick to hop in line for their next fix. To make matters worse they raise college tuition every semester. I mean at least marijuana and cocaine are somewhat affordable. It’s sad when you have people in their mid 20’s who are upwards of $50,000 in debt and discover after graduation that there are no jobs; so what do they do—they go back to school.
It’s a sick cycle that I myself have managed to get wrapped up in. It bothers me that my generation was lied to continuously about pursuing higher education, as if that would solve all of our financial problems. On the contrary it actually creates severe financial problems.
Sometimes I feel as though the Education Industrial Complex has surpassed the Prison Industrial Complex in terms of sheer treachery. They distribute thousands upon thousands of dollars in loans to teenagers, leading them to believe that as long as they are in school they won’t have to worry about them. But Sally Mae doesn’t forget, Citibank doesn’t forget, Bank of America doesn’t forget, and 6 months after graduation if one is not in school then please believe they will hunt you down like the mafia.
To make money off the backs of young people who are trying to do something positive with their lives is extremely shady. It appears that the University has become nothing more than a grand hustle; it is merely a manufacturer of false dreams.
I want to say that I am glad to have read your blog this morning and to have found it through Oakland Local. We went to Mills at the same time and I still live nearby. I can relate to your perspective, and then again it gives insight into a world that I do not live.
Thank you, Gloria
This is a very insightful and timely post. More people are becoming hip to the hoax, and it’s not just ‘higher’ education. The Educational Industrial Complex uses fear to get people caught in its insidious web of accreditation, socialization, credentials, etc. as early as pre-K. It’s nice to see some people are waking up.
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I agree with you. Academics have a near “natural” incentive to reproduce their own kind in their students. They operate in an economy whose currency includes grades, publications in journals, and recognition of their superior intellects. As Robert Nozick noted, academics tend to be more critical of market economies whose currency is money because their academic economy’s grade currency reward system often pales in comparison to good old lucre.
No surprise, then, that academics are lousy financial counselors and tend never to warn their students about the perils of academic debt.
In my own case (I am the poster child for your argument), my professors kept me drunk on the “idea of a liberal education.” More is better, so I earned two undergraduate degrees (psychology, and an anthropology/sociology double-major), a master’s degree (sociology from Harvard, no less), and, finally, an MBA. Seriously in debt and middle aged before my academic phase ended, I emerged single, lonely, and burnt out.
Never during my eleven-year study in social science did anybody ever confront me with the cold question, “What has a sociologist done for you lately?” Or, “Do you seriously think that your social science “skills” will ever be remunerated sufficiently for you to pay off your loans in your lifetime?” I had been fully suckered into the academic economy where envy of the free market sours many on economic liberty of non-academics.
And universities exploit the attitudes of their academic employees as conveyed to students. Universities lately seem to me to be making special efforts to make enrollment extra-academically attractive with youth-oriented amenities unrelated to learning, such as fabulous student centers, exercise equipment, interior rock-climbing walls, multiple basketball courts, olympic-sized swimming pools, and so on and on. Why? Because students have had such easy access to government-backed student loans and grants, universities know that they can continue to raise tuition and fees. The toys help charm their immaturity and unrealistic expectations.
My life lessons:
–It matters what your academic major is and whether you can reasonably expect to make a living based upon your major.
–Experience in a real-world workplace during your academic phase of life is invaluable because it exposes you to people in a money-based economy, not the strange artificial economy of academia.
–Universities always claim to be all about YOU, but they are businesses, too. Take care that you look out for yourself. Try to get at least some of your advise from non-academic sources before it is too late.
Great advice and thank you for reading.