School terms

When we return to class on Monday, there will be a week and a half of class, followed by the four calendar day Easter Break, and then there will only be six weeks until the end of the term. The first, and from what I have been told by previous students, hardest semester will be behind me.
We have a three week break before the summer session begins, and then it is back to the grind.

More education

Being in graduate school full time, and unemployed while I do it, is exposing me to the full force of what passes for college education in America. I have a professor who can best be described as a leftover hippie reject from the 60s. She was living in Berkley in the 1960s, and teaches several of my courses. You will remember her from this post. In some of those courses, she has told us how white men are conspiring to keep woman and minorities down by passing laws that discriminate, and by putting chemicals and hormones in food. She also believes that certain procedures, like vaccinations. should be mandatory, even over the objections of the patient, because the needs of the herd outweigh the desires of the individual. 

Anyway, now that you have some background, let me tell you about our lecture from the other day. We were in class when she began talking about the causes of premature death. The leading causes of death in the United States are:
1 Heart Disease
2 Cancer
3 COPD (Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis)
4 Stroke
5 Accidents
6 Alzheimer’s
7 Diabetes
8 Flu and Pneumonia
9 Kidney failure
10 Suicide
11 Septicemia (Blood infections)
12  Liver Disease (Hepatitis and Cirrhosis)
13 High Blood Pressure and its complications
14 Parkinson’s
15 Homicide

Fair enough. So then she moved on to the next slide:  Behaviors that cause premature death. It listed:
1 Tobacco Use
2 Poor health maintenance
3 Lack of physical activity
4 Alcohol Abuse
5 Firearms
6 Unsafe sex
7 Car accidents
Then said that the leading causes of death were preventable.

I asked her why ‘firearms’ was the only thing on the list that was an object and not a behavior, and why it was on the list. She told me that I was ‘splitting hairs’ and that firearms were too dangerous for people to own. I then asked her if they were so dangerous, why did death by firearms not make the top ten? Actually, if you take other causes of death out of the blanket ‘suicide’ and ‘homicide’ categories, firearm related deaths don’t even make the top 20.
She replied by telling me that I have a problem with authority. (Actually, my problem is twofold: I have a problem with bullshit, and I don’t think that someone that I have hired to teach me a class has ‘authority’ over me. You, as a professor, are my employee, not my boss.) The fact is that more people died from prescription drug overdose in Florida in 2009 than died in the entire US from firearm related homicide. Perhaps we should be spending time in class trying to avoid THAT instead of railing against guns.
Abraham Lincoln only had a single year of formal education in elementary school. The requirement that you have to have a 4 year degree to enter medical school or even PA school is ridiculous. They don’t even care what the degree is in, just that you have one. They want you indoctrinated in this college socialist bullshit, and it has nothing at all to do with being a good practitioner.

I cannot wait to get out of this environment. I have eight and a half more months of this, and I have to be careful what I say, as the professor has the ultimate power of the gradebook, which could potentially rob me of my $50,000 in tuition, and the hopes of my future career.

Free College

At first glance, Ohio’s Antioch College offer of free tuition for a four year degree sounds like quite a deal. After all, a four year degree from this 160 year old college is worth over $100,000. The problem is that it is a complete waste of four years of your time.
The reason that it is a waste of valuable years of your life is that the school teaches liberal arts. Liberal arts majors have unemployment rates that are higher than the national average. According to the CEO of the Harlem Education Activities Fund, graduates in more practical fields find that their skills are outdated within 5 to 10 years. Of course, that means that you have probably been working in your field for those five or ten years, and are current in your knowledge through your work experience.
 Not so with a liberal arts degree. It is outdated from the start. Of course, many will tell you that a degree is better than none, but higher education is supposed to be about creating self-sufficiency through job training so a person won’t end up jobless, homeless, dependent upon relatives, or victimized for being in poverty. There is an industry to support here, though. The colleges of this country are peddling snake oil.
The public library’s and bookstore’s purpose is to increase one’s knowledge, ethics, and intellect. If four years or more of a university education is spent on only increasing intellect and morality with no job training, the time that you have spent there has been wasted.
A liberal arts degree is a degree that you earn that has no purpose, other than to allow you to list a college diploma on your resume. This is operating on the assumption that any college degree is beneficial, no matter what the degree was for.
I have a liberal arts degree that I earned by accident while pursuing other academic endeavors. I don’t even list it on my resume, nor is that degree hanging on my wall beside the other two. If any four year degree looks good to an employer, why not get a degree that has the added benefit of giving you a job skill in a field where you will actually get a job?
A four year degree at a state college in Florida (where I went to college) only cost me about about $11,000. For that kind of money, you are better off living at home and going to your local college to earn a degree in a field that is actually hiring.