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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Patio11 on a college education

patio11 607 days ago | link | parent | flag

Even if you think university will teach you absolutely nothing, you've got a one-time offer from society that we're going to subsidize anything you do for the next four years and not have any expectation that you'll work for a living during that time. This offer is essentially only good once. Take it.

That said, you can learn an awful lot from school. You say it is tedious -- that suggests to me you're underchallenged. Have you tried learning a foreign language yet? Like, really learning a foreign language, rather than learning to say "Yo quiero una cerveza" like I assume your high school Spanish has taught you? It is incredibly rewarding, in all possible senses of the term rewarding, and you'll never get a better opportunity than the next four years. (Dedicated instructors, plenty of time not occupied by the demands of job and family, social push to complete studies, possibility of study abroad bankrolled by someone else and unrestricted by visa concerns, etc etc etc...)

You can also learn quite a bit about programming during college, even if actually doing it is a much better teacher. (Although, again, we're subsidizing all your activities for four years -- you show up for 3 hours of classes 5 days a week, the rest of the time is yours, program as much as you want to program.)

Incidentally, I hate to sound like An Official Adult, but just trust me on this one: the job market for young Americans sucks right now, and you absolutely do not want to be facing it without a degree. Degrees are not just for boring megacorps coding Blub: even cool companies which code Lisp look for people who can carry tasks to completion, and not possessing a degree when we hand them out like candy on Halloween suggests "I am insufficiently motivated to do clearly beneficial things when they require non-trivial amounts of actual work. Please employ me -- you will find me excellent at everything you assign me to do, provided none of it is actual work."
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