Friday, March 03, 2006

The difference between getting an Education and getting a Degree

So, why do people go to college? Do they go to college to get an education or do they go to get a degree? I know there are other reasons for going to college (like your parents told you that you have to) but I want to talk about the two reasons I just mentioned.

Many people believe the two reasons are the same thing. However, I disagree. It is possible to go to college and get almost no education and still get a degree (but did you earn it or are you ready to get a job in your field). If all you do is go to class and do your assignments and take your tests this will happen to you. I believe in a different approach to going to college and have set some rules for myself.

  1. Make every required course useful in my field not just interesting. ex: I am a business major and in business you need to be a good communicator if you want to succeed. So, while I was earning my associates degree, I filled up my electives with Public Speaking, Voice and Articulation, Small Group Communication, and others to help myself become a better communicator.
  2. If rule number one doesn't seem to fit, examine what I will learn in the class and apply it to my major. ex: I am taking Western Civilization at the moment and it is not a typical History class, it is based on concepts (hegemonic Discourse, Diaspora Communities, etc..) not dates. Many of these concepts are used in Economics and Political Science, which are very useful courses in Business.
  3. If the material in the course is too easy learn something else from it. ex: Last semester I took Introduction to Business Computer Information Systems and it was extremely easy (I have a background in computers). So, I went to the professor and asked for an extra assignment. We agreed on a research paper on Software Piracy in China.
  4. Learn outside the classroom also. ex: At my last college, Kingsborough Community College, I was a member of Student Government where I learned a lot from other students (Beth, Ebony, Henry, Kara, Leah, Sonia, and many more) and I also learned from the Faculty (Anna, Arnab, Ray, the secretaries of Student Life, and many more). I think I learned more about dealing with people and being a leader than I could have ever learned from a class.
  5. Use every spare moment to learn. Ex: While I am at the gym, I listen to Chinese on my MP3 player.
  6. Go beyond a bachelor's degree.

Next time, I will go into "Skills you should have learned in High School but probably didn't".

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