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Open Letter to Learning
2012
unknownj
Dear Academia, and all you embody and represent,

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to study at University for the last two years. It truly has been an enriching experience, and has allowed me to do a great many things I would otherwise have not had the chance to do. However, it is with sadness and regret that I feel we must now part ways.

I have elected to live in a world where people are not dependent on your validation and approval. Whether or not this world exists is of little consequence to me - if it means I have to live inside my own head to escape the suffocation and pressure of your system, then I will do so. I don't think I'm alone when I tell you that my happiness is more important to me than whether I am able to integrate a function on a given interval. I would rather be well adjusted with adequate social skills than have the knowledge required to construct an artificial neural net. I would rather be a person than a source of information.

Previously I have been able to co-exist as both of these, but I fear I may be drawing near to a point where I shall have to make a choice. Your constraints on me have started to destroy what sanity I have left, and all you are willing to replace my it with are differential equations and matrix manipulation. I worry that, if left in your incapable hands for much longer, I will become some sort of post-breakdown drone, incapable of creative expression, able only to perform mathematical tasks and think logically. While I thank you for affording me the opportunity to do this, I must inform you that I will decline.

I am not yet at this crucial crossroads, but I see little reason why I should not arrive there in the near future, so I will have a few things to consider. The first is the fact that a job will be more difficult to find in the event that I decide I want no more of your insane attempts at education. However, I recognise that a job I could get with a qualification in "Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence" is not likely to be a job I wish to keep. The jobs I want are as inaccessible with my degree as without one at all.

Allegedly graduates earn more money. You (by which I mean Academia in general) have told me this time and time again, because you believe it will keep me in University. Well here is a newsflash for you - whores get paid a lot, and get to have sex too, but you don't see me leaping to get a job as one of those. Obviously your winning argument isn't as compelling as you might think. So perhaps you should ask yourself why I'm even here in the first place. Well I shall tell you.

I came to University for two reasons. The first, more minor reason, is for what it would do for me as a person, how it would shape me, who it would turn me into. Well I believe I've become that person, and have evolved into somebody who can grow further without the need for University to catalyze it. I'm mature enough now that I can continue my journey through life without a forced learning program to help me make new friends. The second, and far more pressing, reason that I came here was because everybody expected it of me. "He's clever, he'll go on to University". Since the age of about eight, I've never considered not continuing my education for as many years as I could. Apparently, it's what smart people do, and it's what successful people do.

Well I've just about had enough of doing what's expected of me. Smart people don't do essays set by others for a deadline, because they know they don't need to. Smart people don't write programs their teachers tell them to, because they realise how futile it is. And this new person I've grown into doesn't see why others' expectations are so important any more. What I do with my life ought to be what I want to do, rather than what others think would be the next logical step.

So, I have exams approaching me - it's the end of the year, and in a month, it'll all be over. I was led to believe that the advantage of my degree is not that it teaches me how to differentiate complex functions over imaginary intervals (which has no applications outside of academia), but that it would teach me methods for approaching difficult problems, and would train me to think in a way that would help me in a certain type of job. Given this, I have a question - where is this reflected in our examinations? I can think analytically like a mathematician, I've been able to for the last 5 years easily. I can logically solve problems, and I can approach them from several different angles, applying various methods, just like I'm meant to be able to. This is the applicable knowledge from my degree. Where is this reflected in our examinations? As far as I know, in order to get a good degree, I must memorise a lot of equations, a lot of tedious mathematical methods, some highly application-specific knowledge of Artificial Intelligence, and a few standard definitions.

In a year and a half, when I approach a future employer, and he looks at my CV and is trying to assess my suitability for my job, what is he or she going to do? They're going to look at what I achieved in my degree, and believe that this in some way represents my abilities and skills. If I can get my way to an interview, I may well be able to explain that the grade I get is dependent on the specifics I could recall in the exam rather than the applicable lessons he or she is looking for. Perhaps this is what I should go for.

A decision has to be reached. I will try my hardest in these exams. I will do my best, and if my best is not good enough, then I won't keep on trying. If at first you don't succeed, don't waste time repeating the exercise, but instead do something else at which you might succeed. In twenty years time, do I want to say "I went to University, had to repeat my second year and resit exams, but I got there in the end", or do I want to say "I went to University for two years, then left in disgust and went on to write full time"? Perhaps I'm the only person who sees that the second would be vastly preferable to the first, but at the end of the day, I'm the only person who needs to.

So here is my vague attempt at some sort of threat. If I fail in my exams, and am either unable to retake them or fail the resits, then that is it. I'm through with being spoon fed knowledge that must be committed to memory for the duration of my degree but which will have no applications afterwards. I used to think I was well suited to life as an academic, I have the memory for it. But you only live once, and I demand more from my lifetime than this. Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence be damned, I'd rather learn to dance than learn to add up sums. I'd sooner think for myself than program a machine to do it. I would rather go it alone with what intelligence I've already accumulated than spend another year being taught things I don't need to know. I would rather die than not live.

So, Academia, this is it. If I fail to meet your requirements this time around, then I shall turn my back on you and do something that makes me happy, and doesn't tax my sanity.

Yours,

James.

  • 1
Try to get this published. Somewhere. If you won't, I will.

I wouldn't - seriously! Its a train of thought every undergrad seems to go through! I know I did!


Didja write it down? ;o)

Ummm I can't remember to be honest!

Probably in a letter somewhere!

I don't especially think that what I just wrote was overly original or even well written. But if it reflects what others think, then it might be nice to tell them that I'm thinking the same things :o)

Point well made and conceded! :0)

No, that's exactly why it should be published. Kids will read that to which they can relate.

Jamie - check with student media, man. It would be perfect content for a student-run magazine.

I don't think it would go down well at my university... Especially since, even if anonymous, it would still point straight at me. I'd have to change a lot of it in order to maintain any sort of anonymity....

Even if I thought it was good enough, I wouldn't know where to start...

I apologise in advance if this sounds condescending but ... suffocation and pressure of your system ... don't ever get a stressful job James - comparatively speaking Uni is a walk in the park.

Still look on the bright side - if you were at Heriot Watt there's a possibility you could have me as a visiting personal mentor! Have sympathy for those that do!

I'll leave you with that chilling thought! :0)

*lol*

So at least there are yet people I can look down on then ;o)

Oh yes indeed! :0)

Pity them and their career advice!

Muhahahahahahaha! ;0)

You cruel cruel bastard ;o)

Lol! Moi!?

Oh I'm so offended! ;0)

I knew that would hurt you ;o)

Hehehehe! Not as much as it will my career mentees(?)!

Muhahahahahahahahahahahah!

Uni isn't for people who want to get a better/higher paid job whatsoever. Uni is for people who are too scared to take matters into their own hands and live their life and get a proper job. At my dad's work they are hiring high-level system programmers and are specifically looking for people *without* degree's (please note this is a very high paid job.

The richest person i know is my uncle's g/f.....she's a stripper.

My friends sister just completed her english lit degree at leicester, she got a 1st...she works part-time in a pet shop on £4.50 an hour.

Bill Gates in one of the richest men in the world and he doesn't even have GCSE's.

In short, your doing the right thing. Follow your dream, fuck Uni, it's for people who can't think for themselves.

*no offence to anyone :P*

Hehe, the ''No offence'' bit pleased me :)

Nah, I dunno. I am going to university next year and... I'm not sure why. There was a long period where I wasn't sure whether I was going to, if i even wanted to. One thing I know is that considering the fact I've managed to coast this far in life, unless I develop a decent work-ethic within a couple of months of going to uni, i'll fail anyway.

I think one big thing is the impact Sixth Form had on me. If I compare the difference in the level of complexity of mycritical/analytical faculties now with those I had post-high school/pre-sixth form, the difference really is astronomical, and I'm kinda hoping that university does that again.

And also, I've been unemployed for the last 3 months,which isn't for lack of trying. My CV, which has 9 GCSEs at A-C, 4 A-Levels and 1 AS has failed utterly at getting me a job in a video shop, an art store and a pub amongst others.

You're right, a lot of it probably is lack of directionality/cowardice on my part, but it's still what I wanna do right now...

And also Dan, I'm not disputing your examples, but isn't there a liberal amount of bias giving 3 examples of instances where lack of university education is a plus, and giving only 1 instance where uni has (thus far) proven to be not particularly helpful? No offence ;)

I am going to university next year and... I'm not sure why

I really do think that this is a really nice conclusion to everything i have said thus far. Pretty much everyone i know "isn't totally sure" why they're actually going to University. Then what's the point?

I think it's really good idea if you know for sure what you wanna do i.e doctor, and need the degree to get into your profession. But on the whole it really is a massive excuse for people to bum around for three years just to find out who they are/avoid doing any proper work.

which has 9 GCSEs at A-C, 4 A-Levels and 1 AS has failed utterly at getting me a job in a video shop, an art store and a pub amongst others.

lol! no shit! You're waaay over-qualified for any job like that! Try applying for a real job ;)

I mean i'm not condemming University totally, if people wanna go party and get drunk and genrally have a good time for year then good luck to em! I just think that from an academic point of view it's a big waste of time.

giving 3 examples of instances where lack of university education is a plus

My dad works for Lloyds TSB which is a large multi-national corporation, i think that accounts for *quite* a few seniors actively hunting down people without degrees. I'm assuming other leading banks are following suit, only i don't know so that is only an assumption. But if a company as big as them is prepared to do that then at least a few others must be following that school of thought.

In reply

(Anonymous)
I was intrigued by your posting, and agree with you on a number of counts. Perhaps most obviously, the exam system. I feel personally that despite being intelligent and having worked my arse off, if at the end of the day, my exams don't reflect this, then I have nothing with which to prove my worth to employers or whatever.
However, in my opinion, I think you're wrong about some things, as is caramelised. I get the impression from both of you that you think that the whole point of university is, fair enough, to improve your maturity, but also a) to get a job and b) because people expect you to. (Although jamie didn't state that outright as his reasons for going, he implied it later on).
Id like to put it to you that my motivation for going to university is a combination of these things, but with an overriding feature that neither of you seem to have considered. I want to go to university to learn about the subject I love. Although I also desire the skills that go along with it, I am motivated almost entirely by a desire to enjoy the learning itself, not the riff raff that goes along with it. Of course, I want to make new friends, but I don't see the university course as a *forced learning schedule* or anything, (although I appreciate that having deadlines and what not when you don't actually *have* to may seem constricting), I see it as an opportunity to immerse myself in my chosen subject. And so in that sense, Caramelised's claim that university is *academically a waste of time,* seems to be somewhat nonsensical. In fact, the only way university could really be a waste of time, is if you don't go for the academics at all.
I also disapproved of the comparison between a job in A.I. and being a whore. No, you don't see you jumping to be a whore, but then whore's didn't choose to study whoring at university did they? They didn't make that decision, as you have. And the comment, *they get to have sex as well." Oh please. And you think you're mature?
Perhaps, maturity is being able to accept that you made a mistake in deciding to go to university and accepting that, although its unfortunate, a lot of people love university and so the only person this reflects on is you, not the university system as a whole.
Finally, the comment "smart people don't write essays for a deadline,": You claim that you want a writing career. Writing for a deadline is going to be your whole life, if that's what you choose, and then, when you decide you don't like that anymore...maybe you'll realise that its time to move on to something else. Perhaps, then, you'll see that although there may be flaws in the system, ultimately it's you who's choosing to move on, not the system forcing you.
And so, in conclusion, cane me if you will. I accept that I have not yet been to university, and don't yet know its oppressive ways. However, I do also know that I will go and try it, and if I don't like it I will try something else and appreciate that I wasn't for university, not that university isn't for anyone.

I want to go to university to learn about the subject I love

I point that i considered. I was going to go to Univeristy simply for my love of philosophy and my desire to learn more.

Who told you that can only learn at University?

Noone claimed that you can't learn elsewhere, you, however, seemed to be implying that you coudln't learn at university. Again, your claim that its academically a waste of time.
Also, it would seem that the best people from whom and with whom to learn are with those who share your passion or are masters of the subject. Hence, the students and teachers at university. Although there may be some people who could get through and teach themselves as much by sitting at home and reading about their subject, as someone who has all the resources that the university has, I don't think that there are many. And so, I don't dispute that you can learn about things in places other than university, what I do dispute is how comparatively effective they are.
Do you disagree?

Very much so....

I think that (especially for my subject) the worst possible thing you can do is sit in a room and listen while someone gently spoon feeds you information. I'm not saying you won't learn, you will, carefully chosen and selected topics, and all nicely mediated for you.

This is exactly why i disagree with university, it's far easier to sit there and get told these bits of information. It seems that most people who go there would rather that than actually go down to the nearest library get a book and read it from cover to cover.

Since i stopped philosophy lessons at college i've learnt more in 3 months than i have two years. I read books that we went over and think, why didn't we study that? Gradually i'm coming to the realisation the the teachers didn't know what they were teaching, they just gave us the books and said what they were told.

These 'masters' who all had degrees were missing out key elements on all of our topics. Uni is there to (supposedly) get you a nice cushy job, knowledge it does not give you. To that you actually have to get up off your arse and teach yourself.

Uni is for people who want to party and have a good time, this i can appreciate. But as previously stated, other than that, a complete waste of time.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that being spoon fed is not the way to go if you wish to learn. But, I also disagree that that is what universities do. They are what you make of them. You could do all that you are doing, reading your own books etc, and be ENCOURAGED to do so at university, while being surrounded by people with whom you can discuss and with people who have dedicated their whole lives to studying philosophy. It seems somewhat self absorbed to consider that you are so gifted that you cannot learn from other people, that, even in your limited experience it is impossible for someone to know and understand and be able to guide you. Do not take that as a jibe, that is not to insult you, merely to play devil's advocate.
And so, it seems to me that that is what university is about. It is not spoon feeding at all, but guidance and that is all. I would have thought that would be fairly clear by the ratio of lecture time to time you are expected to work alone.
And so, while I do not doubt your talent and devotion, I think that your potential on your own will always be less than your potential with guidance, and with resources, and with people who will be able to challenge you and question your thinking. This applies, I think, to philosophy in particular. Someone who has had their lives to consider will be able to bring out the best in someone who has had but a few years, simply to to experience, not talent.
And so, are you of the opinion that there is nothing that anyone can teach you, and that you are entirely better off alone? University could never detract from what you have, can never actively stop you in your own pursuit of your interest (that is down to the person themselves), but not going can detract from the learning opportunities available to you.
I consider the professors to be almost a book in themselves, with which it is possible to interact and question, that you could certainly never borrow from a library.

And so, are you of the opinion that there is nothing that anyone can teach you, and that you are entirely better off alone?

Not at all because the books that i am reading are from some of the greatest minds in history. I think i should interpret their work for myself, that way i get a clearer understanding of the text than if someone presented it to me. I get taught a whole lot, just not through any professors. I do not consider myself to need a 'link' between myself and the text, i'd rather go straight to the source.

And so, do you also think that there is nothing more to (for example) english literature than reading the books? Are there not intricacies to it that you would never have seen if you had not had someone of whom you could bounce ideas?
And remember, unless you are reading the actual source, either the original greek or a direct translation of, for example, the greek philosophers, then you are not going *straight to the source* at all. It is already being explained to you by the author of a book.
I must say, you really do seem to be rather arogant on this one. To claim that you need no help whatsoever in pursuit of something so almost unnatainable as philosophy seems somewhat big headed. To be able to tackle such a vast subject alone....I don't doubt you're intelligence, but I also don't doubt that you're human.
Perhaps this just comes down to a difference in opinion. I don't believe that anyone can do themselves justice alone. You do. Perhaps the difference between us is that I am aware how fallible I am, and you are not.

It is already being explained to you by the author of a book.

Exactly, the last thing i need is someone else explaining it to me!

almost unnatainable as philosophy

The best philosphers of all time never went to any kind of educational insitute... Wittgenstein, Hume, Fletcher even Satre at times, hid away from society at all costs. It's a strong belief that this would 'taint' your own ideas of what is true. I'm not big-headed i just firmly beleive that no one can help me apart from myself, i don't assume this to be just me, i'm not special. I would reccomend this to anyone studying philosphy :)

PS, there was a section of my posting that didn't really make sense, Ill try and verify.
I was saying that there are people who have had their lives to consider who can guide you, and can guide you not because they're more talented than you, just because they are more experienced. (sorry, my version looked like I was knocking your talent or something, apologies).

(this is only partly a reply to dan, more my take on the whole deal.)

i can't pass comment on other subjects, obviously, but at least as far as english literature goes, seminar groups are invaluable. learning on your own, reading books and so forth, is grand, but sitting down with twelve other people and helping each other to a deeper understanding and even grasping different perspectives is an invaluable experiences. certainly in the lectures there is that element of spoon-feeding, but only supreme arrogance would claim that *nothing* others can teach you is superior to doing it all alone. sure, an open mind is the greatest thing you can have, and all education, university included, tends to suppress that, but it's not overly difficult to learn from authorities on the subject and to think about it yourself.

plus, with university you get a lot more resources - financial aid so you can focus entirely on education for a time, easy access to a library that is stocked better than any public library in the country, cheaper books and food, a huge amount of other students and tutors to talk about the subject with...

i hate exams and think they're an appalling way to quantify knowledge - what my exam scores tend to indicate is more that i have an appalling memory than anything else. deadlines irritate me no end, too - i'd rather i had a free reign to produce essays and so forth of my own accord. in my course, though, they're a small price to pay (as is the "small world" community and the financial stuff).

in any case, i'm probably a poor example of someone arguing for university education, since i have no intention of trudging in and out of jobs searching for a career. i'm considered doing postgrad work and studying literature in greater depth as a means of support for my creative writing (which i can see going places with a lot of effort). fuck working in a shit job for forty years in order to retire at the end of it and die poor!

the biggest myth about university is that it'll get you a well-paid job just like that. bullshit. like dan said, the exciting opportunities are for the unusual people.

anyway, i'm off to party and have a good time (read: doss online, revise, and read punk fanzines)...

but only supreme arrogance would claim that *nothing* others can teach you is superior to doing it all alone.

I agree with this in reference to english lit, i studied that at A-Level and concur that other people help a lot. Although i found the teacher's comments to be useless to me. I didn't take one note down that he said...no point. However in philosophy it's a totally different ball game, formulating your *own* opinions in paramount, listening to others in a way 'taints' them. It would be very easy to argue that the best philosophers are those that have never read a book in their life.

i dunno, i certainly see your point, but i don't know any profound AND original modern philosophers myself! would be interested to have a read/listen/whatever if you know any though.

(re: whore comment) And you think you're mature?

You still have much to learn of irony. It was meant as an example, and a deliberately outrageous one at that.

I used to love Maths, and I used to love AI. You may well find that doing a subject you love at University is the one thing guaranteed to make you hate it. You may not, I dunno...

Re: In reply

(Anonymous)
But the thing is that your quibble with maths was that it was only teaching you to think logically, and turning you into a drone, and had no application beyond itself. I study maths myself, at a lower level than you, and I already know that it has no application beyond the classroom. So, surely you knew that before you even began? Im really struggling to see what your actual problem is. It seems to be that, in essence, you are bored with the subjects you're taking and the rest is fairly peripheral.
This, of course, is fair enough but doesn't seem like a strong enough basis for your argument. If you still enjoyed the subject, you wouldn't care that people had expected you to go to uni, or that you had deadlines to keep to (even tho its been established that you will have deadlines to keep to your whole life, only in reality it will be your finance on the line, not your education.) or, indeed, that it had no practical application. And so, again, it seems to be down to your own personal preferences rather than a problem with universities as a whole.

Oh, I dunno - a lot of the statistics I studied had applications. And I won't deny that being at Uni for two years has taught me a lot. But to be honest, the benefits are slowly drying up - the second year taught me less than the first, and the third is likely to teach me even less.

As for deadlines the rest of my life - those will be different in nature to school ones. Here I have arbitrarily set deadlines for work I do not even want to do. In "reality", deadlines will have a little more meaning, and will hopefully be something more interesting than stupid netural networks.

While it's true that I have grown to dislike my subjects and am bored of them, I don't think the problem is limited to me - many people I know feel similarly, so it's probably a common theme among students. Therefore, there's something wrong with the system - if it was just me complaining, I'd be more willing to accept that it was me at fault rather than the system, but it's not.

Re: In reply

(Anonymous)
And that, I think, it fair enough and if nothing else comes down to a marginal disagreement in opinion between us, but nothing more. So, on that note, it was good discussing this with you. I wish you luck in whatever decision you make, and at the end of the day, I firmly believe that whatever you do, whether you go to uni or not, life is what you make of it. Just make sure you make of it something grand, LOL.

Toodles

Thanks :o)

The pain of learning

I agree with some parts of your post, but on the whole it seems to me that you are missing the point of going through the educational system. Allow me to explain. I have gone through the pre-med circle of hell at an Ivy League university, and have had numerous friends who survived the engineering curriculum. The single most important thing that we took away from our University experience was not the algorithms or biochemical pathways; those were forgotten soon after exams and can be looked up anytime in a reference book.

No, the most important thing we learned was how to sit our asses down and work like motherfuckers. For weeks and months at a time, on topics we did not particularly care about or even care for, surviving temporary lapses in sanity and personal hygiene. Because if you wish to truly accomplish anything in life, that's how you will have to apply yourself to get it done.

The educational system is a weedout process designed to separate the hardworking and determined from the merely intelligent. Each country's system is slightly different, but the overall strategy is the same: force the student to do lots of really hard and mind-numbing work, most of it only tangentially related to what they are really meant to study.

So when an employer looks at someone's degree and sees that they graduated with a First, Summa Cum Laude, or whatever your academic distinction of choice, they know that the person is more than just smart. They know that that person is driven and determined and able to do the hard, ugly work. Any job or calling that you choose to pursue will have stretches like that, when you have to do stuff you really don't want to; and a degree can be considered a certificate of refusing to give up.

Also, don't forget that you're getting a free education. People in the US pay $35000 per year in order to have the same opportunity that you're about to throw away because you're unwilling to do the work.

Re: The pain of learning

I would rather an employer looked at me and thought "He can think reasonably about things and express himself creatively" than "He can sit down and concentrate on banal sums"...

And my education is by no means free - it's not nearly as costly as yours, but it's not doing my bank balance any favours... :o)

And I'm not about to throw it away. I am merely giving it careful and due consideration.

Re: The pain of learning

I would rather an employer looked at me and thought "He can think reasonably about things and express himself creatively" than "He can sit down and concentrate on banal sums"...

This is a false dichotomy. An employer would think either "He has the focus and patience required to sit down and concentrate on banal sums, but is also creative and sociable - wow!" or "He is intelligent and creative but lacks the drive and motivation to complete a university degree."

Granted, you're not about to drop out, but it does sound like you're trying to rationalize quitting. Maybe if you don't pass your exams you can take a year off and then come back; many people I know have found that taking a year's break from schooling lets them come back more sane and focused. But don't allow giving up entirely to become an option; while your education isn't completely free, it's by pretty much the best deal anyone in the world gets. Don't let it go to waste.

Of course, here are some intelligent and creative individuals who completely don't mesh with the educational system for various reasons, and for them university is not the best option. But the fact that you've gotten this far indicates that you're probably not one of them. Your diatribe sounded like half a dozen other pre-med/engineering rants I've heard from people who let a daunting exam schedule and/or mounting paper deadlines become an excuse for quitting.

So stop whining and procrastinating and posting on LJ and go sit down and study your ass off, you slacker! =)

Re: The pain of learning

(Anonymous)
LOL, same anonymous, commenting on this now epic posting.
Although, as you may have been able to tell, that I agree with you on a lot of things on this one I have to play devil's advocate for the other side.
Im not entirely sure what I think on this one, but SHOULD the purpose of education be to see if someone can endure suffering? Shouldn't someone, who is of the most supreme intelligence, be able to swan in through a degree? Since if they, in the end, have the same skills as the people who had to slog their guts out, then surely they should have the same qualification. Whether they have learned and matured as much in the process is a different matter.
And so, although I admire you for your perseverence and Im not sure where I stand on this one, could it be possible that you are missing the point as well?
And so, I open the floor, what IS the point of education?

Re: The pain of learning

Personally as far as extended education goes (lets say, beyond GCSE's), i think it's pointless, i believe that if people want to pursue matters further then they will, if not, then they won't.

But that opinion doesn't really hold a lot of water, becuase it could easily be argued that education makes the state of the country better, although i wouldn't personally say that, but i can see the logic behind it. Taking the Bill Gates example again, the man probably knows sweet fa about the finer points of computer programming, but he's an astute buisnessman, that's something he definately didn't learn in the classroom. But then he wouldn't be there without all the boffins doing his programming for him. So i can kinda see the argument both ways.

I think the world needs both types of people, daring people who don't conform, willing to take a chance at anything, and those willing to slog it out and earn a living the hard way. I don't think one is neccesarily 'better' then the other, but i know which one i'd prefer ;)

To be honest i don't one type could exist without the other. I think i'm gonna end my part in this here, although it has been fun :o)

Re: The pain of learning

The point of education is to prove that you have the ABILITY to pick up, learn and apply banal sums and equations, and decide when it is appropriate to use them. True, the actual equations and facts the education system teach you are pointless to a massive degree, but it's the fact that they ARE facts which is vital.

I mean, It's clear that you're a damn smart guy James, from your flow of typing and general thought process more than anything. But an employer also wants a little sheet with a few numbers on, so he can safely take the fact that you have the ability to do this for granted.

It sucks, but applying yourself now, although pointless, proves that you CAN apply yourself, if needs would so dictate in a deserving situation. This is adaptation. Education is nothing but a series of trials.

Re: The pain of learning

True, but my chosen field of work would have nothing to do with picking up things like that anyway. I want to be a writer, to think creatively, etc., and the ability to remember formulae and such which have no real-world context is unlikely to be a help in a job immersed in the real world...

I hate Education ;o)

Yup.
That's all I can think of to say really. I've been thinking about going back to uni over the last few weeks and the more I think about it now the less and less it appeals. I know why I wanted to go in the first place and were I still like that I think I still would.

But I'm not and the question arises: considering all that I would be leaving behind, is it worth it?

Why do I keep coming up with "no"?

Actually, the answer is "yes", since you've never lived away from home on your own, and therefore, it might be a valuable experience for you ;o)

I've come up with the following:

Pro
Hopefully get a degree
Live away from home
Not in Hull

Dependent


Con
Have to study for degree
Away from Jeanne
Away from possibility of permananet job
Lack of money


Given my current (in)ability to comprehend most things I'm taught further education may not be such a good idea. I wanted the confidence, the lifestyle boost, the general "i am me" thing that university tends to bestow on people. I got that at work. Starting over again doesn't seems daunting but it does seem pretty much pointless. I don't need what I wanted university for any more as I've already managed to get there on my own as it were. Plus, I could always just move out into Hull. Closer to work, living on my own (or with others) but still with stable income and stuff.

Wonder how Jeanne's going to take this chat...

The lack of money thing is why you save up the summer before going, and get a student loan. Real students spend their student loans on living expenses, not on N64s or whatever it was you spent yours on last year ;o)

lol, yes, but then I would suppose that real students don't spend their money on DVDs either? : p

Let's face it, you and I both know the real reason I don't want to go.

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