Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hacking my own Education

For some reason society has decided to be content with putting labels on majors that people take. For example a microbiologist is expected to take classes in the slated system... virology, immunology, Chemistry... however if you add a class like Calculus or *gasp* creative writing the status quo has been interrupted and your professor says that you're wasting your wonderfully linear education with superfluous classes that will keep you from graduating and getting into medical school or graduate school.  Never mind the fact the the greatest scientists were decidedly not classically trained. (van Leeuwenhoek, the father of  microbiology was a draper by trade) That dosen't stop society from requiring a certain linear path to a certain end.

To be honest education in any form is going to have to be slightly systematic... sometimes to an extreme (for my high school in Florida it was virtually impossible to calculus unless you had decided on that "track "in the 5th grade) It makes sense, knowledge builds upon itself... it is really hard to understand complex integrations if you cannot do any algebra and virtually impossible to know much about bacterial pathogenesis without a basic understanding of Chemistry. However, taken to extremes you get regurgitators rather than learners.

However, this means that the fun and lifeforce is taken from learning. Some worry about cheating in medschools.... we should really be worried about what those students just regurgitate for the exams. They go for the profit, and miss out on the fun of knowing how the human body functions. That is the best part of learning, when we're able to learn the answer to questions that you've had since you were a little kid and apply them to modern situations. There is a movement that started to help people understand the limitations of a traditional education called Uncollege. 

Now, that dosen't mean that are no merits to a traditional linear education... it merely means that we need to look outside the box and recognize that if you're in one of the top business universities in the world that it wouldn't hurt to audit a couple of business classes for the sake of learning from the best while you have access to them... even if your professor asks you "You're in What?!"

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