Re: DSM: College: Yet another thought...

Scott David Gray (
Tue, 17 Aug 1999 14:11:44 -0400

Joseph Moore wrote:

> Re: college - unlike high school as I knew it (YMMV), in college it's often
> possible to learn something you're interested in without too much mindless
> confrontation (although Scott might disagree - Scott?). If you ignore the
> counselors and don't worry about graduating on someone else's schedule, you
> can take whatever you want, pretty much.

Well, one always learns whatever one's surroundings; so to that extent I agree
with you. During college I managed to remain involved in academic pursuits --
DESPITE the surroundings, not because of them. I certainly feel that I
developed less in my 4 years at college than in ANY single year before or after
college (well, all right, college was better than elementary public school --
but not by much).

It seems to me, though, that college tends to make a pauper of people,
needlessly. There are considerably less expensive (in terms of money, time, and
psychic energy) to get whatever college claims to offer. One can always buy
books (which aren't included in college tuition and fees, anyway). One can
always find academic clubs and people to talk with for free (more so with the
Internet). Even if a college class is itself valuable (this is in question --
walk down the hallway in any college, look in the windows where classes take
place, and see the bored and sleepy expressions on the rows of students), one
can always get into college classes for free just by asking the Professor.

So what is it that people pay $40000 plus, and four years of their lives for?
To buy the degree. It seems like a rotten deal to me.

> But the real good thing about college is the more human relationship between
> class time and free time: not much of the former, tons of the latter. I
> learned whatever I learned in college mostly reading out on the lawn, in my
> room or in the library, and talking with smart people. Classes were not
> nearly as important as self-directed time - and that's what the Sudbury
> model affords every student in abundance!

Again, agreed. In reality, people are paying $60000 as the cover charge in a
four year party. But their party is interrupted by things that they aren't
interested in. As I suggested before, there are clubs and interest groups in
every major city (some of which are associated with colleges to be sure, but one
doesn't need to be a paying student to make use of those facilities).

I guess that I don't see how college can be worth going deeply into debt and
losing four years of one's life (at least not for most people). The reward is
that you have half as much leisure to learn and/or enjoy life for four years,
you get to enjoy an overpriced party (to which you have to BYOB), and you cap it
with a bit of sheep skin at the end.

> Joseph Moore

-- Scott David Gray
Phone: 508/650-9639
ICQ: 27291292

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