World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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The Lounge: Chat. Relax. Unwind. > How practically fit is formal higher education?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14967 comments An education usually costs some serious money and reputed colleges can almost guarantee employment to their graduates, as big recruiters court prospective specialists, thus providing for initial "work experience". However, it's not always the case and some employers are cautious about candidates fresh- out- of- college with no work experience.
Some disciplines formally require an internship to master a profession.
Not so rare when a theory learnt in the uni has very little connection with what a graduate is required to do in his/her day-to-day work.
From your experience does education equals profession or not necessarily?


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10762 comments Not necessarily. The classic example is theoretical physics. It is extremely difficult to get a job using it. As a consequence a whole lot of them moved out into banking, and developed most of the derivative trading opportunities that led to the 2008 crash. Well done physicists!

As for me, I managed to get employment in chemical research, and have continued on. Even here, where I continued in the specialty, much of what I learned was irrelevant, although some, mainly the background theory, was useful. However, what it does is teach you how to teach yourself, i.e. how to learn, and that is invaluable.

I think for most jobs, what you need to know is specific to that job, so you have to learn on the job. But you must know how to learn, and it is helpful if you know how to communicate.


message 3: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14967 comments Ian wrote: "...much of what I learned was irrelevant, although some, mainly the background theory, was useful. However, what it does is teach you how to teach yourself, i.e. how to learn, and that is invaluable. ..."

Felt precisely the same... An education gives tools rather than enabling to perform this or that specific activity/work.


message 4: by Holly (new)

Holly (goldikova) My field is very specialized; no college degree could possibly prepare a person to do my job. I have a useless degree in the cinematic arts. Other equine professionals of my acquaintance are also over-educated for what they do. My former dressage coach had a phd and a masters in geology and physics; she worked in the oil industry for a while and then settled down, started her family and her horse training business. A very good friend of mine has master and bachelor degrees in sociology and archaeology; she is now teaching mounted archery lessons.

On the other hand, we sometimes get interns from the state university equine management program. These are students want a career with horses but don't have a lot of practical experience. I believe only one has ever competed their internship. Most of them give up when they find out horse trainers work 7 days a week and a lot of hard work is involved.


message 5: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments My higher education was very job specific - I'm a physiotherapist with a B.App. Sci (Physio) - in my profession, higher education must conform to certain standards, or you're unable to gain registration as a physiotherapist. This is true for all registered health professions in Australia.

Having said that, there are a lot of degrees with no firm job outcomes or opportunities.


message 6: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5791 comments Had a friend in college who got a B.A. in philosophy. He went on to get a Master's in English, taught a few years, and now has his own security company. His degrees had no direct impact on what he ended up doing for a living.


message 7: by Scott (new)

Scott | 42 comments I'm only familiar with medical and engineering fields - seems that college does educate engineers to work in their fields. Physicians and dentists learn what they need in professional school, not in college, but college teaches other valuable things, I believe. It teaches kids how to think, how to approach research, how to study, how to learn, etc, much better and at a much higher level than high school possibly can.

Teachers, too...they seem to learn what they need in college. OTOH, if you're not teaching something like English Lit, I don't know what job definitely depends on you knowing English Lit (or History, or many other disciplines...)


message 8: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14967 comments Scott wrote: "I don't know what job definitely depends on you knowing English Lit..."

Would indie author or goodreads reviewer fit? -:)


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10762 comments Nik, it depends on whether you want to make enough money to "live". :-(


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