Structured Exploitation

I knew I was obsessed with Ed Sheeran for a reason.

This morning I was on my way to work listening to the Elvis Duran morning show, as usual, and to my very very pleasant surprise, their special guest today was my boy Ed. (Have I mentioned I am obsessed yet?)

For anyone who listens to the show, you know the guests really are not on for longer than maybe 15 minutes, commercials included. But during that time, one of the radio personalities managed to say something that really caught my ear. He was referencing a prior interview he had had with Mr. Sheeran about his take on school.

And to my even more pleasant surprise, his response was practically verbatim to what I ranted about on Twitter a few weeks ago, and what I said to a friend via text message.

University. Is. Overrated.

A university education, more specifically, is unnecessary.

We have grown up in a society that boasts to be the most highly educated of generations and such, whereby anyone who decides not to pursue an institutional education beyond high school is shunned and scorned and held with disdain. And naturally, like the sheep they are, most people hold that passed-down belief as their own and spread it around like an STD.

So before you get your panties all in a bunch, allow me to break it down for you.

As most of you know, I graduated from university with my Bachelor’s degree last year, (Damn, almost a year already?) which means I have more than enough room to speak on this matter. While we all enjoy being able to act like intelligent superiors in the presence of our peers, the fact of the matter is, in most cases experience is the best teacher.

You can go to school every day for the rest of your life and never ever learn street smarts, common sense or how to handle money. For the most part, the institution itself does not teach these things. That’s not to say that book knowledge is a bad thing, but we also need to see that street knowledge is not either.

Going to university wastes a good four to five (or more) of our youthful years in setting us up to be indebted for years to come to student loans. But we don’t need a university education to learn how to be businessmen or how to fix a car or how to write for a newspaper or how to be a freakin’ human being. If you start working at 16, by the time you are 22 I’d say you are just as equipped with knowledge as someone who is fresh out of college – if not more.

Furthermore, there is a such thing as a certificate, you know. If you want specialised knowledge, you can simply take one or two classes on a subject instead of wasting two years in university doing “general education” classes while racking up the debt and helping the school build a new unnecessary building.

Want to learn how to fix a car? Work in a mechanic shop and be an apprentice. After two years there, you can learn all the ins and outs of cars better than someone who spent four years looking at photographs.

Just as Ed said, I honestly believe that the only reason to ever go to university, which I’d argue and say does not need to be such a long process, is if you want to do something in the medical field like be a Doctor or a Nurse, or if you want to be an engineer. And that is only because in those fields, you can’t really learn by trial-and-error.

Aside from that, however, if you decide you want to be a radio DJ, start out by grabbing Elvis Duran’s coffee when you’re 16 years old, and if you want it badly enough and it’s a good fit for you, I see no reason why you won’t be able to be on the radio by the time you are 23. In those learning years, you will not only learn what it takes to be a good DJ, but you will also learn how to manage your time, how to work toward a tangible goal, the value of and how to manage money, how to work with other people, and you will gain valuable interpersonal communication skills.

If you ask me, that far beats depending on social media for communication skills, graduating from university with $30,000 loans to payback, and searching for a job that will hire you with little to no work experience – but pay you enough so you can move out of your parent’s house before you hit 40.

All while already being at least four years behind.

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