You Need To Think Hard About Your Educational Choices

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I wanted to write something in response to some recent articles and commentary I’ve seen from colleagues and friends of mine.  It concerns the subject of college.

Much of this recent commentary, while well-meaning and making valid points, nevertheless paints a picture that is in need of qualification.

So I wanted to share my thoughts.

Is it a waste of time?  Should you go?  Should you go to a trade school?  Should you start working?

These are important questions, and should be agonized over.  Never before have students been faced with such a bewildering variety of choices and challenges.

But it would be a mistake to adopt a blanket rule that “you shouldn’t go to college” or that “college is a waste of time.”

This position, in my view, does a real disservice to young people, and fails to take into account many important factors.

Let me first say what I do believe.

First, it is more critical than ever to look for value in your education.

The days when you could just expect to take out a bunch of loans without thinking it through, or just expect a job to come your way after graduation, are long gone.

You need to shop around.  You need to consider options you may never have considered before.  You should consider:

  • The state school
  • The junior college
  • The trade school
  • The ROTC option
  • Other options

Price matters, value matters, and the whole picture matters.  So, the “no college” advocates do make a valid point when they say that many colleges are overpriced holding-pens of SJWs and dead-enders.  But the problem is, they overstate their case.

Second, the “no college” advocates assume that everyone out there wants to start his own business, or is capable of starting his own business.

And this simply isn’t true.

Although in this part of the internet we extol the virtues of the entrepreneur and the lone wolf, in reality this model is not appropriate for a significant number of people.  And that’s the reality.

This is the simple truth that needs to be recognized.  Everyone should incorporate this value system in some way into their worldview, to be sure, but not everyone wants to be an entrepreneur.

Not everyone wants that path.  Not everyone is cut out for that path.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  People have different temperaments.  There is no one-size-fits-all boilerplate to life.

Third, the reality is that college (or some version of it) provides a structure and rigor that the average person needs for learning.

Are you going to explode into creativity while in college?  Probably not.  But that doesn’t matter.

Fuck your creativity.  Time will tell if you have the creativity or not.  For now, assume you need to get in there and slug it out with the rest.  

There is plenty of time for that later.  Before you can be creative, you need to get your ass in there, sit down, and work.  You have to earn it first.  

Creativity comes after you’ve mastered the fundamentals, and you know what the hell you’re doing.  Most of life is brutal hard work.  And the sooner you get used to that, the better.  So get in there and suck it up.

No damned whining.

If you think that you’re going to be able to teach yourself differential equations, Maxwell’s equations, and other advanced subjects by sitting at your kitchen table all day, you are deluding yourself.  Some people can do this, but most cannot.

Fourth, college provides an environment where a young person can socialize and bond with other people.

It’s a social environment.  You are not an island unto yourself.  You need to be around other people your age.  Yes, you can say that the environment has lately been poisoned by political correctness, SJWs, and other social ills, but at the end of the day, no one has yet found an adequate substitute for collecting people together around an academic ideal.

You may not be aware of it, but college has helped you in ways you don’t fully appreciate.

You will grow and learn just by being in the environment.  Do you have to search for the best value?  Absolutely.

Fifth, some professions require college.

If you have any aspirations of being in a certain profession, you will need a college.  Again, I am not trying to convince you to attend a traditional four-year school, although for some people, that may be the best choice.

You only get so many chances at things in life.  Fuck up your education, and you will waste years playing catch-up.  

Sixth, I believe that we have a responsibility as men to pass on good values.

Education is one of the most critical things in life.  To denigrate it or minimize its importance is to me a dangerous thing.  We, as men, must not abandon the halls of learning to those who seek to dismantle the principles on which our culture was founded.

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You have an obligation to get in there and hold the line.  Yes, you.  You need to get in there and fight.

There is nowhere else to run to.  You make your stand here, and now.  

If you came from an immigrant background, like I did, you will probably be aware that there were people who came before you who worked their asses off.  Who worked their fingers to the bone.  Who suffered greatly so that you could have the privilege of an education.

My grandfather drove trucks for a living.  He was raised in a country that knew the agonies of civil war and famine.  Coming to America was a privilege.  To him, education was the most important thing.  In fact, it was the only thing.

He didn’t have one, and yet he knew how vital it was.  My other grandfather sold peddled clothing and thread so that his kids could have an education.  He also came from a nation wracked by unrest and violence.

I’m sure other readers here have similar stories.

Don’t disgrace your ancestors.

Don’t make a mockery of their legacy.  Don’t be a damned loser.  Don’t be a damned asshole.

Don’t make a fool out of those who suffered for you.  A lot of men–far better than us–died for the privilege of giving us the chance for learning.  Remember this, and never forget it.

You get your ass in there and educate yourself, to the best of your ability.  Now.  No bloody excuses.

That’s all I wanted to say about that.

 

Read More:  Your Guardian Deity

 

9 thoughts on “You Need To Think Hard About Your Educational Choices

  1. I think it’s a mistake to conflate college with a more broad view of education. When people speak of college in our sphere, I think they generally mean in a narrow sense – today’s university environment and the benefits it provides.

    I’m still coalescing content for my post.

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  2. “Fuck your creativity.”

    This is paradoxically one of the most encouraging comments a person could make.

    I am really really glad that there is someone in the manosphere who is standing up for a classical education.

    A few things to add:

    Although what you say is true, being a 23 year old 100,000 dollars in debt is a nightmare, so kids today don’t have the luxury of finding themselves as they learn. As you have already stated, this is a BIG decision now, far bigger than it ever has been, so take the time to choose wisely.

    I would say to anyone who isn’t sure what they want to do, why not move to a college town and get a job and your own place? You can be establishing residency if that is what you need to do, do your messing around then, and party with the college kids on the weekends.

    I am also going to echo what you said about not everyone being a location independent entrepreneur as well, since temperament is as important as anything else. It is also true that not everyone has the skills to be stem major, and that is okay too, because you can get a lot out of a BA if you do it right:

    You can read the classics.

    You can learn at least one language.

    You can learn the minimum amount of history and politics it takes to make sense of the world.

    If you choose literature over gender/soc/psych, you will gain a subtler and deeper understanding of yourself and the people around you.

    You will be able to express (write) the hell out of things.

    Since you are young, it is better to go to a school that requires you to do these things, rather than one that lets you decide on your own or write your own major. (Looking at you Oberlin.)

    And even if your finances or grades don’t allow you to get into the school of your choice, I will let you in on a secret: There are great teachers at most schools. You just have to poke around, ask people, and find them. One of the best teachers I ever had was my high school english teacher. Also a philosophy teacher at a junior college. I also experienced tenured professors who couldn’t give a shit at Berkeley.

    The teachers are out there, you have to make the effort to find them. I once knew a Journalism professor who bailed out on a career at Stanford to teach at a state school because he wanted to learn from his students and wanted to get away from the brown-nosing Izod people.

    In a way it can be like the NFL draft where they say, take the best athlete available, and don’t worry about his position. I would say if a teacher is good enough, don’t worry about the subject.

    Okay. That’s it. Thanks again QC for standing up, with qualifications, for education.

    Josh. (Debeguiled on the forum.)

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  3. Quintus, do have any thoughts on how one should go about figuring out what they want to study/pursue a career in? I think for many, the problem is going to college without a goal or purpose, so you diddle around and get a lame degree you hate and a bunch of student loan debt. With all the specialization of careers out there now, it’s tough to pick.

    And any thoughts on the “doing what you love” vs. “doing what is pragmatic” debate?

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    • This is one of those debates that deserves a lot of thought. Some people say that it doesn’t matter what you study, and some say it does. My feeling is this: pick something that you enjoy enough where you can see yourself doing it, but also make sure that you err on the side of practicality. The truth is that no intelligent person really knows where their life is headed until they’re in their 30s. But you can’t worry about that. Just pick something that provides you with hard, practical skills that you will always be able to use if you need to.

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      • Sadly, even in your 30s you might not know. I am in my mid 30s and I don’t like where I am at and I need to pick a new direction. It’s even tougher to choose because I have more responsibilities and obligations than I did in my 20s but I also know what a pain it is to work in a field I have little love for.

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  4. […] Quintus Curtius wrote a timely post about education, and much of what he says is true. Whether you decide to go to college or not, an education is absolutely essential. You can’t succeed if you don’t know how. Whether you’re going to college, opening some business for yourself, or doing a program like my cousin is doing now, you’re in some way going to need to be educated. Even if you’re just reading about how to scale online businesses like I am now, you still need to be educated. You cannot make it all on your own. […]

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