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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The real pay-off to education

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

I was glancing at the mail just the other day when I came across my wife's college tuition bill. She is only taking a couple of classes to try and finish her degree. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the total for two classes.

Stupid me, I thought there was a mistake. I kindly asked my wife if she had bought a car to go along with her education and she politely told me that I was an idiot and that college costs have gone up since I was in school. I would say so.

A recent article in a local newspaper estimated the cost of four years at SEMO is $24,136. I think it was a little over $10,000 when I started college back in 1992. And that is just SEMO. Imagine what the costs would be if you went to Harvard or Yale.

It would be fine if you get what you pay for, but you don't. Now I'm not saying I didn't learn a lot in my time in college. I learned that if you drive around long enough you will eventually find a parking spot close to your class so you don't have to walk a mile. I also learned that it is possible, with enough No Doze, to research and write a 25-page paper in one night and I also learned that college is the biggest money-making scheme since the pyramid.

There are so many wasted classes in college I don't know where to begin. As a journalism major I am glad I took that algebra class. I mean just the other day my publisher came and asked me to find the length of the hypotenuse by using the Pythagorean Theorem.

That art class I took was very useful when I doodled on my napkin while listening to my wife tell one of her long stories. I think I need to put it in some gallery it was so good.

And I am especially thankful I took that stupid biology class that I barely passed. I don't know how I would have survived without knowing what the cell cycle and mitosis was. I mean I can't even use this knowledge in Trivial Pursuit.

I'm sorry but I think that college should be more of a trade school. You know why you are going and you learn how to do that instead of lining the pockets of college presidents and administrators by making students take useless classes.

I know the argument is to introduce students to a variety of different topics in case they choose to change their field. I'm not buying it. If you wanted to take biology to see if you might like it, then you can. But to make it a requirement in order to get your degree is a bunch of baloney.

Education is expensive enough without taking a bunch of needless classes. If you're going to pay that much money you should get plenty of training in the field you are going into or at least training in practical things. Instead of taking algebra, I could have taken a money management course to help me learn how to best pay off my stupid student loan. And maybe instead of art 101 I could have taken a class on writing columns for newspapers. I think we all agree that would have came in real handy.



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