Not Quite a Rant About Hating School

April 17, 2006

I just had a realization that I do not want to forget. So I'm writing it here.

I think I have discovered why, at least in part, I am so disappointed by my education. I feel as though I've just spent five years at a vocational school. Not that there is anything wrong with a vocational school, mind you. I am very much in favor of them. Vocational schools are great. They train you to do a job; they give you a marketable skill so that you can perform a valuable service to society and support yourself doing it. But isn't there a reason why schools like ITT Tech promise you a degree after two years, and colleges like CU usually take four or more? Shouldn't attending a "4-year" school do more for me than just train me to do a job?

That's how I'm feeling right now, as though I've been trained to be a software engineer. I feel like I've been given a crash course in how to develop software — programming, debugging, a little bit of revision control, documentation, etc. So now I'm mostly confident in my ability to be part of a team creating commercial software. I imagine — imagination being my only recourse here, having never attended a vocational school — that this is how I would feel if I were getting ready to graduate from a 2-year college.

But if this feeling is accurate, if I'm only as well off as though I'd gone to ITT Tech, what was the point of spending all of the time and money for five years at a 4-year college? Shouldn't 4-year schools provide more than just basic job training? (Not to mention that I don't think I've gotten very good job training here, but that is a rant for another time.) It seems to me that a 4-year school should provide something loftier in the way of education than simply training someone to do a job. I'm not sure what that "loftier something" is; I only know that I am feeling its absence right now.



  1. Sometimes “loftiness” can be found only within ourselves. Do the best you can on any job you are assigned. Keep searching and you will find loftiness, although it may be different from what you expect. God’s pretty lofty. You might check out that angle.



  2. Heh, grass is always greener I suppose. One of the things I hate about my course is the academics who run it apparently feel that the ability to do “real world” is unworthy of their teaching time. Net result? Students who know how a constraint solver works inside out but not what “malloc” and “free” are …. hmm guess which skill is more valuable to society

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