Education: Increasing costs, decreasing value

April 4, 2013
This article was published more than 2 years ago.
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

Julie Tran / The Silhouette

This is the time of year when many students start thinking of their future and where they will be headed. Whether its high school students deciding what path of education to choose after they graduate or post-secondary students deciding where to apply for a job, both cases present them planning out their future destination.

The future is a scary thought, and whether we like to admit it or not, it is inevitable. Similar to planning a road trip, many individuals put much thought into their future and plan ahead of where they want to be and how they plan to get there. Some individuals, however, have no clear thought or reason as to where they are headed. Uncertainty would lead to many unforeseen events, such as not arriving to the desired destination, getting lost, or worse.

The only problem with planning ahead is exempting the possibility of something going wrong. In today’s growing economy, people are losing jobs faster than new ones are being offered. Unemployment rates are increasing as the demand for jobs exceed the amount of jobs available in the market. With unions and minimum wage laws in place there is fierce competition for the “best” jobs with the “best” pay. So what is the best plan? What can students do to ensure a successful future?

Many students are given the idea that in order to be successful they need to invest in their future, namely by obtaining a degree pursuing post-secondary education. The educational system stresses that it increases the chances of a getting job and provides an opportunity to be successful, empowering a graduate student's job search. This is evident as today’s employers seek to find the “cream of the crop” with a minimum pre-requisite of having a Bachelors Degree or equivalent.

With the most prominent professions requiring Masters and Doctorate Degrees, some individuals choose to further their credentials in order to receive higher pay and further their career advancement. As the career choices of doctors and lawyers exceeding six years of school with annual incomes higher than $100,000 each, is a higher degree the key to a successful future.

Absolutely not.

More than 50 per cent of students graduate with no idea what they want to do, and the other half graduate working minimum wage jobs not relating to their field of study. Students spend thousands of dollars on tuition and textbooks alone, cramming late nights in the library relying on red bull and coffee to help them stay awake. As this cycle repeats every year, many students end up with mediocre grades in order to get a degree that does not necessarily guarantee them their dream job.

Success in the school system does not correlate to success in real life as proven by the world’s most prominent figures - Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs and Michael Jackson. With each of their net worth ranging from 20–200 billion dollars, none of these individuals graduated from a post-secondary institution.

This is not to say that education is a waste of time - it helps increase the opportunity of finding a job. But all it does is help. To get the most out of education, students need to remember that education is not a means of regurgitating facts to pass an exam, but a process of learning to inspire and expand the mind.

Those who are highly educated but are lacking the combination of thought and feeling will be living an incomplete life as many choose a career with a high pay rate but have no passion for the profession.

As Alan Watts said, “If getting money is the most important thing, you’ll be completely wasting your time. Better to have a short life filled with things you like doing than a long one spending it in a miserable way.” As individuals teach their children to think the same way, it becomes a never-ending cycle of distorted beliefs.

Students should not limit themselves to only academic pursuits; it will not help them in their chase for success.

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