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Bernie Sanders did talk about free college so…

“Liberal arts”, iirc, was named that because some of the ancient Greeks who had enough money not to work for a living, were free enough to spend their time on intellectual pursuits. In fact, the purpose of college, especially the “core curriculum” of a bachelor’s degree, was to teach students a variety of subjects so they are well rounded and a little enlightened.

Now, because of the economy, increasing tuition, and everyone being concerned with results, college is really about whether this degree leads to a job when you graduate. As a result, there are a lot of parents and family arguing about majors ie: “What do you expect to do majoring in English lit?”etc.? Get into something that will get you a good job!”

Thing is, a LOT of majors call for grad school and a four year B.A. doesn’t cut it anymore in most job markets.

Any thoughts? Opinions?


I wish I hadn’t thought about doing a serious degree, and realised that the pressure to do one was less important than enjoying your course for three years.


I never finished law school.
I didn’t go to advertising school.
Over the last 16 years of my career, I’ve been a creative director, developed a reputation for winning pitches, have worked on a ton of major global brands and met a few famous people along the way.
I took the long way around. It’s not for everyone.
Having a degree might make it easier to get a job but it’s not a guarantee of success, happiness or even a job in the first place.
Study and get a degree in what makes you happy if you’re that way inclined or that lucky.
If you don’t want to but your parents insist and you can’t win, then study what they tell you (but pursue and explore your other interests too).
There’s no knowledge that is not useful.
And yes, a 4 year BA may not allow you to perform open heart surgery but having it can’t hurt.
(And maybe learn to speak another language and learn to read HTML).


Agreed I have three degrees and will finish a fourth this year.

And I still live week to week.

(I am very sexy though).


There’s skills for studying…

And then there’s knowing how to navigate the job market and play the employment game.

The two tend to oppose.

To be honest, I suspect employers have become lazy, cossetted, spoiled little bastards who have forgotten the basics of recruitment and instead opt for screaming tantrums in the hope government will come along and go: There, there, you’ll have some perfect candidates soon!

Those perfect, oven-ready candidates don’t exist in the way the employers want them to. They want to be able to have someone perfectly fit for a job, can start with no induction, instantly knowing the company / organisation. It’s bullshit.

There is no shortcut: You advertise the position, you get apps, you go through them, some you interview, one you might appoint. You can try to use a recruitment agency but only a few really know what they’re doing.

Saying to someone: Go to uni and study and you might get a good job, after owing £50k, and ‘might’ is unlikely to cut it, unless they’re a cocky bastard who probably didn’t need a degree boost anyway.

The big problem in the UK is a general contempt for education. It’s always cropping up - those GCSEs a kid did? Useless crap. A-Levels? Used to be harder. Degree? You didn’t study the right subject. Then, while this is in place, those things are still demanded anyway.

What a degree should prove is that a candidate has ability to learn, to process and understand info of varying complexity quickly, with the right attitude and able to work with others. That doesn’t mean they will know everything about how an office environment operates, thus some training will still be needed.


Unfortunately the problem isn’t administration, it’s supply.

Globally, the baby boomers own the majority of careers in the world, and with the ever moving needle on retirement age, those job opportunities aren’t moving down the generational ladder. There’s an employment drought because there’s a skills surplus in the areas where those skills aren’t needed and there’s a skills shortage in places where employees can’t create careers.

Basically, it’s all their fault.


Yeah, but you know how skills can be generated? By people doing the jobs.

Of course, that requires that rarity - smart management staff.


Yes, but … did you read my post?


Yeah and I got your central point - but that’s also slowing changing because those boomers are retiring, they don’t want to work no more, it’s all about going SKI*-ing now!

(*Spending the Kids’ Inheritance)

For instance, we’ve had apprentices for the last 3 years. The kids have gone from having limited skills to far better ones just because we took a chance on them. Of course the pay is low, but it’s sold as a foot in the door and it is.

Will take time though and not all sectors will be operating in such a way.


I enjoyed Uni (well, second year was a bit crap, weirdly) but I sometimes wonder if it was worth it. A friend I made in first year took a year out the next year, not being too impressed with the Uni. I thought she was making a mistake, but whatever, it was her choice. She came back when I was in third year, to do her second, but within a couple of months, she dropped out completely and got an entry level job somewhere. Again, I thought she was making a bit of a mistake. This was just around the time Moneygeddeon was starting.

Anyway, fast forward to now (six years later) and she’s swiftly advanced through the marketing industry and is now working in New York for a major sports/clothing label. Admittedly that’s because she’s naturally very good at what she does, but most of the people I was at Uni with haven’t really done at all as well career-wise (myself included), or if they have it’s unrelated to their degree (a lot have become teachers, one guy’s working in the head office of a national cinema chain, but he was working for them before Uni anyway).


Couple things - first, it’s not the degrees, it’s the person. Some folks, decades of college - any level - just won’t help. Some folks, no benefit because they have much smarts.

My first two years of college were free (as in, paid for by taxes, and, being a homeowner, I certainly paid taxes). Then, as many other things, Reagan and the conservatives fucked it up for everybody. Even Morgan Freeman attended Los Angeles City College. It was a very good school for a long time. As I mentioned not too long ago, I have 17 Associate degrees (they were, quite literally, on sale). I have three bachelor’s degrees, and about half to three-quarters of a Master’s. (Immaculate Heart College had combined undregrad/grad courses like Freudian Theory and Introduction to Psychological Testing, so I had grad school creds).

What did I find out? It is not degrees - it is licenses! Any field where a license is required - auto mechanics to neurosurgeons - it is obtaining and maintaining a license that is important. Quality of work is almost never checked; which is why boneheads thrive.

Add experience to a degree and you’ve got something. Were I healthy at all, I could (and would!) be employed within days. Just about anywhere. (If it’s not therapy it’s nursing, if not nursing its office work, and worst come to worst I can still cook - on the line or in the kitchen, don’t matter).

“A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
― Robert A. Heinlein

By the time I was 25-26, I could read that and say “Yeah, I can do that.”

(Later, things changed. :frowning: )


I got my taxes done yesterday and it occurred to me that if you want to get good work off of just a BA (or B. Science, etc.) majoring in accounting is the way to go. Just about everything else calls for grad school to do the major justice ie, psychology, sociology, economics, even comp. sci. etc.


Most of academia is not intended to provide the skills for a career. Higher education was for centuries available only to privileged classes. Many fields - philosophy, fine art, music, and even social sciences - remained the domain of the rich and in charge. The idea of college being required to succeed is very much a post-WWII idea. Plus, it is changing. Online universities, a return to the vocational college (extremely needed!), focus on core courses.

The other problem is that much public education sucks mightily. When incidents happen like in nearby Jefferson County, where all the AP (Advanced Placement) students had to boycott classes and run a rather large public protest - because the School Board was going to change the curriculum to LIE about history - we have A Problem.

BTW, the JeffCo School Board wanted to teach the students the Boston Tea Party was NOT civil disobedience. They wanted to remove the idea of revolution form the American Revolution. The same persons, to this day, remain on this School Board.

Any more questions about why we have to deal with Trump?


I agree with that but I’m not sure how many other people would agree. College has been sold pretty hard, and folks expect careers to be waiting at the end of every degree. The colleges themselves hold alot of the blame there.

I was once in the running to build an online system for the City of Chicago colleges that would allow students to enter a degree and see how many jobs are in Chicago, what’s the expected growth rate, average salary and so on. The program was cancelled before it was funded. You can guess why…


I generally would. What I got most out of college were soft skills, how to research on your own, do a presentation, form better arguments etc.

It proved useful for that but what I actually learned there in the form of the curriculum has almost never been used.


I generally would. What I got most out of college were soft skills, how to research on your own, do a presentation, form better arguments etc.

It proved useful for that but what I actually learned there in the form of the curriculum has almost never been used.