Critical Readability

My critical readings of the best and worst of online media

Are Today’s Millennials The ‘Screwed Generation’? : NPR

Since I made the decision to pursue higher education to the extent that I did, I sometimes find myself in the uncomfortable position of talking with people who assume I look down on them for having less education. In reality, I believe that I am the foolish one for earning a Ph.D., not them for their decision not to work toward a bachelor’s degree. In fact, some of the most financially successful people that I know either learned their trade through experience/apprenticeship, or  have limited education and thus no debt (or both).

That doesn’t necessarily mean that I think education is valueless, quite the contrary. I believe that having high numbers of people with undergraduate and graduate degrees can only strengthen our society. However, I have never been one to think that college is for everyone. Too often do I talk with students who are either miserably unhappy as college students, or who could care less and thus waste everyone’s time and money. Both types of students likely would lead happier, more productive lives if they earned the technical degree or certification they really wanted, or learned a trade in which they could be proud.

At a recent checkup with my physician, she noted that despite the sacrifices, my PhD will afford me significant upward mobility. Her comment illustrates how out of touch she (and her generation) is with the current reality of the market. Student debt + limited jobs + business-based approaches to education that prioritize contingent faculty = minuscule chance to even make it into the game, let alone climb the ladder. Those who had no intention to play the game in the first place, however, and thus are not burdened by debt, realistically have more upward mobility than I do.

“And then, I think, there are also many young people who have been pushed into four-year schools where they would have been better off with technical training or a two-year degree, or going out and getting a job. And now they’re stuck with debt.”

via Are Today’s Millennials The ‘Screwed Generation’? : NPR.

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