A College Education
So I have a bit of a problem.
Right out of high school I was sent to a university. I'm currently a junior, and after a couple years of indecision plus some bad life choices, I'm majoring in English and philosophy. I'm in the introductory courses right now.
I've heard a ton of people say that I'm wasting my time. Some say that an English major is a waste. Others say a philosophy major is a waste. I'm very wasteful it seems! Though I don't necessarily think that when people say "waste," that I'm in agreement with their definition. As far as getting a solid job right out of college, English and philosophy might be poor choices. But I feel as though I'm more self-aware than I had been in high school. And more aware of things going on around me. And I'm learning about things that I enjoy. That has some worth, right?
They will say that those things won't get me a job, that I can just go to a library and learn more on my own for less money, and that I'm being brainwashed.
I came to my school and majored in these things because they're what I love. I do a lot of writing, I'm taking an interest in linguistics, and I've found that a lot of the things I'm assigned parallel in both subjects. They've given me a lot to think about, a lot to question, and philosophy has even opened up an interest to science and math. That's a big deal! I've never been interested in those two incredibly large subjects. And now that I think about it more, their influence on our lives is so strong. It would be a disservice to me not to look into them further.
As far as a career, I've always wanted to teach at the college level. Or be a writer... The typical careers people say are pipe-dreams, of course. I'm still a bit shaky on the whole career thing. Anyway, I've always excelled in the classroom, I'm totally in love with the subject matter (though I'm not very specific, yet)... But I wonder if what people say is right. That college is just a brain-washing machine, that it's a scam, that it's a waste. Maybe I'm one of the "machine's" best products since I want to be in the positions that fucking make the supposed "machine" work.
And the thing is, it's all my parents' money. If I were to rethink my college education and drop out, they would be devastated. But if I am to stay, I'm always going to be searching for some justification for me being here. Even if I feel like I've gotten something of worth out of these years, what if it really was a waste of time, and what if I could have lived life much happier doing something else? Am I just contributing to something that's ultimately harming our society? Just look around the internet, and there are a shit-ton of hateful posts against the concept of higher education in modern America. All I wanted to do was to understand more, please my family, and eventually help society in some way - a way found through educating myself. I had no idea I would be in such a situation!
So, aside from the admittedly emotional rambling, here is a recap of the questions:
Is college a waste of time, and how do you define "waste?"
If yes, why, and what's a better alternative?
If no, why, and are there any degrees you think are wasteful?
Do you have any recommendations for reading about this? I've found some things that I plan to read, but I've always gotten some good recommendations from here!
And finally, for people in college at the moment, what is your best advice for life post-graduation?