Let me first outline a disclaimer for this post: I am not an informed News consumer. With the little that I do consume I do my darndest to construct viable ideas about the happenings in the world today. With special consideration to the “economic crisis” which began in “2008” I know little other than the hearsay. However, the gist that I get is that there were a lot of greedy men at the helm of many finance, consulting, banking, or hedge fund type organizations that sucked up all the cash in the U.S. economy while the rest of American Citizens picked up the dividends.
Where that disclaimer come to importance is in regards to this NPR story.
When our system of education is looked at this way, as the story quietly suggests, we all lose. If this story is to be believed, then we all lose by missing out on the inovations that the graduating cohort could have been creating. Skidmore College is, unfortunately, well within the grip of this recruitment system. As a sociology major I am consistently disapointed with the wealth of opportunities for business or economics majors, and the lack of depth in opportunities suiting my skill set. What I think this trend says is that we, as a culture/society/nation/group of people have lost touch with what education can be used for. Education is here so that we as sentient beings may expand our ability to think, create, write, build, reconstruct, reform, or any other action one may learn from academic pursuits. We are here today because we have started to look at education as a resource.
Education is undoubtedly a resource. Education has been the resource that has fueled The United States accession. But, when we treat our educational system as such, we miss out on its true potential. Instead of encouraging students to enter into higher education for societal and self betterment, they begin to enter into higher ed to make money. We as a student body, nationally, are OBSESSED with what comes after school. Should a student ever be insecure about their academic pursuits? The answer, I can say as a confident and proud sociology major, is NO. People like me should not feel pressure to engage in careers that are not in areas where we have spent years developing ideas, and strategies for thinking and writing. What we need to be encouraged to do is to engage with our peers across disciplines. We need to have students from the business department coordinating with students in the sociology department, who then may need to work with others from the english, art, environmental science, or chemistry departments! Why would we ever feel encouraged to do this if we are worried about post-grad jobs? It is not so much of an issue, then, of what happens at the end of college (in regards to recruitment of our best brains) but what we think about going into college. The issues about what is happening at the end of our college years are just a signal that we have a warped perception going in.
That being said, think about the power places like Skidmore have!?! They bring together people not only with different academic interests, but they bring together people with different backgrounds, perspectives, and brains! So in an atmosphere of receding finance from government agencies, what are we to do? What is to happen to our educational system, and our nation?