An Academic Waste of Time and Money: College

The Blog of Tom Webster

  2011-03-24 11:48:00 PDT

I posted a Twitter update and would like to expand on it for a bit…

“On the top ten list of worthless things I have done with my life, college is quickly nearing the top.”

I feel like I really am pissing away time and money and getting nothing in return. I wish there was a ‘college’ for people like me, where you go to a place, socialize, drink, party, network, but none of the class bullshit. The people I’ve met in college are fucking great, the networking is brilliant, the experiences I’ve had outside of the classroom setting have taught me more than any parent ever could. But what I’m actually paying for… what I’m actually buying here… I get nothing out of it. At all. The course material is a joke, the professors are comedians, but at the end of the day, I’m left with an empty wallet and not nearly enough laughs to make my night worth it.

If I wanted to sit in a room for a few hours having some idiot recite shit out of a book that will never pertain to any facet of my life: I’d go to church.

Its like going to a comedy club to drink really good beer. What you’re paying for isn’t what you’re there for. I’ve been told that this is the college experience, this is exactly what it is designed to be, but I don’t really buy that. In my mind, college should be there to expand your mind and get you thinking differently about what is possible and how the world currently works, then should work. I’ve never had this experience in class. Ever. Instead, I’ve had these grand experiences in my interactions with others at college. Not in a class, but at a party, hanging out playing games, or standing around in a hallway, just being bored. Why do I need professors, grades, classes, or textbooks when they have done nothing for me? I could have gotten the same experience by just hanging out at a college, without the added burdens of paying an ungodly sum of money for fairly good academics (from what I have been told).

Maybe I’m an outlier. I’ve always been better at learning on my own and teaching myself things. I’ve done my own research, processed, then came to my own conclusions. I expand my mind regularly with topics outside my comfort zone, I don’t need a person biased in staunch bureaucracy telling me what I should learn and what I should not learn. Academia as a whole is frustrating. From my time at college, I’ve never learned anything truly useful in a class. When it comes to my career (entrepreneurship and technology), college has taught me nothing useful. To this day, in each job I’ve held, every contract that I’ve worked on, I have never used anything I have ‘learned’ in college. When I walk into a tech or business class, most of the time, I end up teaching the professor. I know how that sounds, everyone knows that guy who fights with the professor about everything, but I don’t mean like it like that. I end up bringing up new concepts and ideas that are fairly standard practice in the tech industry, but are brilliant breakthroughs in the world of academia. For a tech guy, walking into a modern college course about technology is like walking into a technology museum.

Academia, for the most part, is in its own little world. Business practices, current research, the very latest and greatest that computers and the internet have to offer aren’t being taught in colleges. What’s being taught in a high-level management course at my college is this: “Employers who want to maintain a stable working environment and want to posses a good relationship with their employees should avoid yelling at or taking things out on them.” Yes… that was an entire chapter. For one entire week, my business class discussed why we shouldn’t scream at the people working for us. Brilliant.

To sum up plenty of other examples in a sentence: Academia tends to be 10-15 years behind the curve, no matter what the subject.

Sadly enough, I’ve come this far, so there isn’t much point in quitting now. From what I’m looking at, I’ve got a year left of school. I already have the well-paying job, I have the lifestyle, I have the job experience, I might as well relax as I work my way through the rest of this degree. One thing is for sure, though, I will never view the academic side of college as an investment after my experiences, I will always look down on it as waste of time, energy, and money.