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An Education


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My eduction cost a good  bit, but the value of it to me has been much higher.  I was exposed to ideas and people I would have missed had I not gone.  However, someone with a plumbing job and an open mind could have similar experiences and make more money.  

I really do believe that a desire to learn is more important then a degree on the wall, but the degree on the wall opens many opprotunities that would otherwise be denied.

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I would love to take quite a bit of time to respond to this thread, but I don't really have it to spare.  Why?  I have a couple hundred pages of law books to read for classes before the end of the week.

Obviously, I value an education to some degree.  But, I will say that I have gathered more knowledge that could pay the bills, if need be, by working in a trade (heavy/highway construction) throughout my undergraduate time and owning my own small business (asphalt maintenance) than I have in the classroom.  

The education I have had in the classroom is totally different in nearly all respects than the education I have received in the 'real world', and, truth be told, I probably value my real world education and experience more than my academic education.

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I think it's worth everything. When I got out of high school, as a kid from the wrong side of the tracks, college wasn't an option. It came down to get a job or join the service. I joined the service. In 1962 only a fraction of the kids who graduated from high school went on to college. I've been lucky enough to make a good living, own my own business, get my daughter a masters degree, and fund a comfortable retirement for my wife and myself with just a high school diploma, however I've always regretted the fact that I didn't go to college. I feel a bit left out when my educated friends get into deep conversations, be they about politics, religion, or something important like cooking, good music, and fine wines. I just keep my yap shut, listen and learn. A college education is well worth the money, in my opinion, even if you end up flipping burgers. It gives you something more interesting to think about while you flip. It also makes you aware that there's a big wide world out there waiting to be explored. Too many people never leave the little world they were born into, and in many cases they don't want to. Being ignorant is one thing, but being ignorant and not wanting to be any other way is entirely another. Learning ain't cheap, but it's money well spent, in my uneducated opinion.
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Universities in Canada are subsidized by the government.

Ain't socialism great? :D  :love:

Because I made a promise to my mother, and my kids, that fatherhood of my two kids included a degree as part of the package, my two are tuition debt free. It was not too big a struggle for me financially because at the time a year's tuition and books was only about $4500.max. Other people took annual vacations down south or had swimming pools and a new car every two years instead of helping their kids. My kids' education does not crack, rot away, rust or is forgotten.

It is my belief that they are better and more rounded people because of their education.

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I completely agree the value of an education goes beyond getting a job (though that's an important part of the equation for sure).  One thing that does worry me, is that at least in the U.S., the cost is out of control.  And frankly, that has some concerning implications for the future of the middle class.  No college degree, no decent job.  My grandparents bought a house, raised three kids and both retired with pensions - all on high school diplomas and good factory jobs.  Those days are long gone.
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Education is the one thing that no one can take away from you.  Yet we look at education being a college degree and beyond, what about the trades?  There are some very lucrative trades out there now adays that start paying better wages than a lot of degree jobs.  I sometimes  think we tend to look down on trade school associate degrees, but have friends who went that route years ago and have retired comfortably.  Some even passed bussiness' down to their offspring.  I as a teenager that knew better than his college educated parents started the easy way, I enlisted in the U.S. Army.
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Maybe a pertinent question is "Are those who attended college and beyond happy they did?" and " Are those who didn't wish they had? Or even better "Would you do things differently as far as your education if you could do it all over again? Maybe better as a separate Topic or even Poll.
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I wish I'd finished college. But then, living where I do, would it have done me any good and gotten me any further in my career or more money? Probably not. What got me to where I am, a lowly weekly newspaper editor, was hard work. There's no money in it, but...

I attended my youngest son's graduation this past spring where he was awarded a double Master's in history and education. He's in debt to the tune of $60,000+, I'm carrying about $15,000 for him.

He moved to Vermont. Couldn't find a job. Ended up taking a part time job teaching 7th grade English-which he has a minor in. So, he's not making what he should be, not working at what he should be, and isn't doing what he should be doing. He loves Vermont, but he's not real happy. His student loan payments are killing him.

My oldest son joined the Air Force out of high school, which he just barely survived but did well in his aptitude tests. He came out of the AF four years later and immediately landed a series of positions in IT that, along with a few Microsoft classes and seminars, now has him earning some $150k a year. He's got a great life and loves it, yet he tells me all the time that he wishes he had that degree.

So, I don't know, but there's one thing I do know...an education in the U.S. is certainly not worth the $80,000 in debt many of us are stuck with.

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DennisMcFeely
My kids' education does not crack, rot away, rust or is forgotten.

It is my belief that they are better and more rounded people because of their education.

That's a nugget of brilliance right thar...

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I went to college for four years and didn't use my degree in a professional sense but I passed through the fire and learned that yes, even I can learn practically anything if I wish.

Through the years, this has had great value to me.

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The assumption that a degree equates income is false and while you can be happy with lower but adequate income, there is a point where income becomes more important.

I also believe self education can be and should be continued throughtout your life. I never watch TV I read several hours daily.

I hire kids out of college that don't know squat about the real world, so for me the best thing a college degree tells me is they have demonstated they understand how to learn something and are trainable.

I think the greatest thing people learn in school is HOW to learn, unless you are a doctor or some type of specialist most of the stuff you learn in class is rarely used again in real life.

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PartridgeCartridge

I think the greatest thing people learn in school is HOW to learn, unless your a doctor or some type of specialist most of the stuff you learn in class is rarely used again in real life.

I would agree with that statement Bobman with one caveat.

I think the knowledge I gained during my undergraduate studies at the University for the Sexually Gifted has had many real life applications since I graduated.

Magna Cum Laude, I would add.

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My education was well worth it.  I went to the University of Texas and graduated in 1986.  At the time tuition was $4.00 per semester hour... no kidding.   My total u-bill each semester would be around $250 - for tuition, parking sticker, student health fee, etc.   My dorm Freshman year was a private off-campus dorm with meals for $410/month.    During summers and Christmas break I roughnecked so i had a decent wad of cash.

A bunch of my buddies went the Ivy League route, and at the time their tuition was about $16k per year.   One friend at Cornell and I were using the same textbook in a class, but my prof was the one who wrote it.   We were also hiring Harvard profs out from under some of my other friends all the time.

It all seemed too easy and cheap though, and with 50,000 students at the time, I did too much partying and was lost in the crowd.  I wish I had done better, because I know I coasted by without much effort and didn't get all I could out of it.   I went to graduate school which I paid for myself and it was much more expensive - I was also older - and I took it much more seriously.

I have teenaged boys now.  I am going to suggest that they study what they want.  I was steered away from my true passions by a depression-era father who put the focus of an education on making money.

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I forgot you attended the " Judging chubby hunting partners in nighties 101" class :D

I was raised in the midwest and we didn't have that one back then, although I wouldn't be surprised if UW Madison does now

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Well, I’m probably grossly over-educated with 1.5 post-doctorate degrees.  The reason is that my dirt poor, uneducated PA Dutch grandparents believed that education was the key to climbing out of poverty and they inculcated that belief in me.  At my high school at the time, only about 15% went on to post-high school education.  I got through college on a scholarship that required me to play sports (which I hated), but allowed me a make-work job in the cafeteria kitchen that paid my tuition (and also provided all the food left-overs one could steal).  Construction work produced the money to otherwise live while going to school.  Then the Army’s GI Bill paid my tuition through law school ($800/semester back then, now tens of thousands), and full time work on the side (as a photographer than a law clerk) supported my wife and two kids during the process.  I did the post-doc stuff later, part-time on my own tab.  I didn’t want my kids to have that struggle, so I told each of them that they could go to school where they wanted and that it wouldn’t cost them anything (they did provide theri own spedning money) and I’m proud of having been able to provide that for them.

What my grandparents didn’t know because no one in their realm was educated (and, therefore, I didn’t know either) was that education per se does nothing for you other than present doors of opportunity that then need to be knocked down by pushing harder and longer than anyone else, taking risk, etc.  In fact, all a law degree does is allow you to start to learn how to be a lawyer.  That process takes at least five to seven years of intense 80 hour/wk slavery under a good mentor.  Then, once youve learned how to practice law competently, you need to learn how to make a living from that work, how a run a business, manage others, etc.

Looking back on what is now a long career as a lawyer, I realize I’ve always been very much a square peg in a round hole, being from a poor, rural, ethnic background instead of the more typical private high school, fancy college and law school, then having prominent Daddy’s contacts, plus golf and tennis at the country club to get your career started.  I’ve never “fit in”, but I’ve somehow always been able to get results – to make things happen for my clients (many of whom are oddballs like me) - and they have rewarded that with their loyal business and allowed me to build one of the larger commercial law firms around here.  I'm not very "social" - probably would have been more comfortable at a personal level being a craftsman of some sort – photographer, gunsmith or whatever where I could deal with inanimate objects and I didn’t have to deal with complex, emotion riddled, human relations.  However, I’ve always been intellectually challenged in my work, very rarely bored; and, while I certainly didn’t get rich, I’ve made a nice living that allowed me to provide for my family over the years and hopefully will give me a decent retirement one of these days.  So, no regrets on career choice.

Given that you can’t start to learn to be a lawyer without first jumping the educational hurdles, yes, I’m glad I went through the great struggle to get an education.

As far as non-economic issues and education, I think most of the non-legal things I’ve learned in my life that are important to me were self-learned (I read all the time and almost never watch TV) or gotten by working as an apprentice (gunmaking), taking individual no-credit courses at a local college, or the like; and were not gleaned through any formal education process.

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