The Education Controversy – Crafting Your Vision

In the last post, I talked about the first problem with people getting a degree “just to get a degree.”  And I’ll reiterate for those who forgot what it was:

“Problem #1. First and foremost, a lot of people go to school simply “to go to school.”  They are getting a college education because they think that’s what they should do.”

Now let me clarify, getting a degree is a big achievement.  I am not trying to undermine that in any way, shape, or form.  However, the only time it is reasonable for a person to get a degree for the sole achievement of obtaining a degree is when there is minimal risk against the person (e.g., they already have jobs or have the means to pay off their tuition without going into tremendous debt).  Otherwise, please be cautious.

Now in regards to the solution, in my last post I stated that it was:

“Solution – People should NEVER do things simply because they “should” or because it’s what is done.”  Instead, a vision is required for such an endeavor to be worth taking.

So how does one craft a vision for themselves?

To craft a vision, one needs to be able to answer this question: “Why do I want to get a degree?”

The biggest issue that people face with this question is ambiguity.  No. Your answer cannot be “to get a job” or “because “that’s what my parents told me to do” (although in this scenario your parents may be paying for your tuition so I have less to say on that matter).  Your answer has to be as specific as possible.  For example, even though you may want to become a lawyer, it would be in your best interest to try and pint point what kind of lawyer you want to be (e.g., environmental, corporate, etc.).

Now some people will say that there’s no way they can predict what kind of lawyer they become.  And you’re absolutely right, except that I asked to try and pin point (not predict) what kind of lawyer you think you would want to be.  The reason for this is because even having a basic grasp of these specifics can play an important role in how you approach your education.  For example, while a normal person might blow their electives taking random crap that frankly doesn’t matter, a person who has crafted a specific vision might take the time to take classes in the field they are considering (e.g., Law in Environmental Sustainability if you wanted to become an environmental lawyer).  I mean, after all, you’re paying for your education dammit!  Make the best of your time and your money.

Unfortunately, most people probably may even come up with blank with the first question posed above.  To these people, I will then ask a very charged question that may stay on your noggin for quite awhile: “If you could do anything you wanted as a career, without risk of failure, what would you do?”

The reason why I say this is question is a head scratcher is because most people have no idea what they would want to do.  That question is phrased in a lot of different ways today: “What are you passionate about in life?”, “What do you enjoy doing?”, etc., etc… And with this question, I’m pretty sure I’m right if I stated that most of people come up with zip.  I mean sure, you have some people saying “I’d be a famous celebrity/musician/actor/actress,” but trust me, those people don’t actually want to be that.  It’s not really quite as glamorous as they think.

If you’re having issues with this question as well, then try and answer this question: “In the course of my life, what do I find myself doing for free without really realizing it?”  And by this I don’t mean hanging out with friends, but different projects that you find yourself associating with even though you may not necessarily be getting paid or gaining any real monetary/professional benefit from.  In other words, “What do you do for you?”

So with that, I leave you with three questions for you to answer based on your understanding of yourself.

  1. Why do I want a degree?
  2. If I could do anything I wanted as a career, without risk of failure, what would I do?
  3. In the course of my life, what do I find myself doing for free without really realizing it?  In other words, what do I do for me?
Feel free to post your responses or send me an email if you need help figuring this out.  I realize that some of the points I brought up may need more clarification, so I’ll probably write a follow up to “Crafting Your Vision.”  If there’s something you’d like elaborated on more, please let me know!
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4 responses to “The Education Controversy – Crafting Your Vision”

  1. Sam says :

    Ben, I liked this post! I wish I had read this before entering college for undergrad HAH

    • BreakingNorms says :

      I’m glad you liked it! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. Haha. In all honesty, I wish I had it for myself in undergrad as well. Oh well…. here’s to the future! =)

  2. Stephanie says :

    I definitely have fallen victim to the first problem you stated. I entered college because it was something I thought I needed to do. I was listening to a graduate school webinar just today and they even said, “this program is for those people who have started to figure out what they want to do with their careers and want to develop more in that area.” I couldn’t help thinking at that moment how unnecessary many of these graduate programs would be if you actually figured out what you wanted to do before undergrad and really developed your skills in that area.

    • BreakingNorms says :

      I absolutely agree. It’s actually absurd how many the education has students pay a lot of money to “figure out what they want to do” and then pay even MORE money when they’ve finally figured it out. Sigh.

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