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Writer's Block: Study break

What are you studying or did you study in school? Is it related to what you want to do for your career?


At the age of 45, I obtained a very specific degree for working with blind people, something closely related to the work I had been doing for years in a low-paying job.  I used my degree as an itinerant teacher in the school system for 3 years but it eventually chafed and I had to quit.  I'm now self-employed as a musician and fixing to embark on a change: I'm getting a certification to teach English overseas, via a 5-week program. 

I think the most important thing I learned in college was how to deal with bureaucracy.  That's the real curriculum.  High school prepares you for the lower end of the employment spectrum, where you do what you're told, don't ask questions and usually wear a uniform.  College acquaints you with the culture of so-called professionalism, where you learn to expect a bit more respect and to wield a bit more negotiating power.  Your uniform is more subtle and merged with your social persona.  I don't like that part of it but hey, I've got a problem with society.

In my case, I think it was worth it, because I was able to mentally break out of the working class trap and leverage my skills and what they used to call cultural capital: vocabulary, general knowledge, "acceptable" manners, etc... advantages of a middle-class upbringing I had taken for granted.

Although I believe in the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, I don't think you have to incur huge debts to engage in it.  You can audit classes.  Libraries are free.  If you're going to rack up thousands of dollars in debt, you'd better be sure that you will be able to find work (that you can stand doing) that will help you pay off those debts.  I think way too many kids go to college because they don't know what else to do with themselves.  They often come out of college still not knowing what to do with themselves, but up to their ears in debt.
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