Is your education really worthwhile?

The above tweet inspired me to think whether several years of education is worthwhile or not.

Today me and my 5 year old daughter were waiting for the school bus at the bus stop.

“Mommy, I don’t want to go to school. It’s so boring.”

“No baby, you shouldn’t say that. You should go to school every day,  get good grades, get admission in a good  college and then get a job.”

My daughter was not convinced by my explanation. She didn’t have much choice either. When the bus came, she got into the bus sulking. This scenario has been repeating for the past few days.

I felt bad for my daughter. I don’t want to see her sad.  I want to give her the best. Even I was not convinced by my own reasoning for why she should go to school.

As  a student, I had worked hard for 20 years, never missed a class, got top grades in every class, got several certificates and 10 years later , I am wondering whether those 20 years are worthwhile at all.  The reason is , I am not using any of my the knowledge that I learned at school in my day to day life.  I neither remember the trigonometry I learned at school nor the history that I struggled to learn in my social studies. No one asks me who invented telescope or the number of layers in the atmosphere.  (One exception. If  I ever participate in Game shows like ‘who wants to be a Millionaire’, I may be asked such questions.). I neither worry about the structure of molecules in the salt and sugar I use for cooking nor wonder about the composition of the beautiful autumn leaves.

My   advanced degree in Electrical engineering was also of no use when I started my career in Information Technology.  All I have is a huge pile of certificates, awards, medals which just serve as a reminder of my first quarter of my life.

Now I wonder whether my 20 years of education was really worthwhile ? How good would it have been if I had learned something which is of practical use : let’s say about the software programming languages which help in my career or about the great literary works which help me in writing beautiful stories or about starting a business or managing finances or leveraging my skills to earn money or something on those lines.

Years of studying theoretical knowledge was of not much use. Now, when I have to convince my daughter to go to school, I myself feel sad imagining her working hard at stuff she may not need in future!

In my opinion, Ideal education is the one where the theoretical and practical knowledge go hand in hand.  It is one where we learn the basic knowledge and build up on that based on out of interest. It is the one which helps us to become financially independent. It is the one which gives us the essential knowledge to survive in this world. It should be a technical education in LIFE.

What kind of education did you have? Is it helping you in your career? Is your education really worthwhile?

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8 thoughts on “Is your education really worthwhile?

  1. I’ve been your child all my life. But once I graduated from engineering I realized that it taught me how to learn and that the actual theory was not relevant. I don’t use anything I learned in school except how to learn, how to analyze, how to ask the right questions. But can only formal education teach us this? Probably not. However, I think it’s an easy way to learn those skills that you’ll need in your life and not just in your professional career. Hopefully you think about this the next time you tell your daughter to go to school 🙂

  2. I studied intercultural communication and currently work in sales. I hardly ever use my knowledge except in instances when I meet/work with someone from another country. That doesn’t happen very often.
    But I agree with the idea that people should learn how to be financially independent. I don’t remember learning how to create/stick to a budget or how to do my taxes.

  3. While my studies did not influence my work, they offered a (general) overview of many subjects. I agree with you that theory should go hand in hand with practice.

  4. There are so many people that get a certain degree, yet they do not work in that particular field. Times are changing now and I believe more and more we will see a lot of people going to a trade school instead of college…college is getting so expensive and if your desire is to become a mechanic, carpenter, welder, etc. you do not necessarily need a college degree for that.

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