How a College Degree – in Anything – Helps You in Later Life and Work

Many entry level jobs with advancement possibilities used to require a college degree – in anything at all.  They could care less what it was in. The idea was that if you were able to get through college at all, you were probably reasonably bright. College grads in the US have average IQ’s of 115, so they are more intelligent than 82% of the population. College  isn’t supposed to be for everyone. It’s not supposed to be so easy that someone of average intelligence can fly right through.

In addition to being reasonably intelligent, if you graduated from college it showed that you had a good work ethic and a level of perserverance and persistence under serious pressure. You have no idea how many people drop out of college. Last time I was at university, I noticed a lot of students who didn’t seem to be college material. I noticed that almost all of them were freshmen and sometimes sophomores. Some of the girls were really hot, but they didn’t seem real smart. I was wondering what the Hell they were even doing in college. Without fail, I noticed that almost 100% of these people were gone after their freshman or sophomore year. They just couldn’t handle it.

Also a lot of bright students get involved in working, often full-time. Everyone says work your way through school, but I say that;s a bad idea. I knew lots of students who worked their way through school. The more hours they worked, the more likely they were to drop out. Studies have now shown that there is nearly a linear relationship here.

When you are college age and your parents are not wealthy, you often have to live with  your parents. You can only work part-time, and it doesn’t leave you with much money. Many of your friends who did not go to college are now working full-time and they are bringing in all sorts of money. Many are moving out. They are partying all the time on weekends. They start dating, and that costs money. It’s pretty hard to date with no money. It’s hard to hang out with your working friends when you are in college as they seem to have no respect for what you are doing. At best, they see it as an oddity.

You really don’t get any bonus points among the working crowd by being in school. A lot of these people are insecure and get defensive about not going to college. You get insulted a lot and called a loser for going to school. Because, you know,  they didn’t go, they feel insecure, so they need to insult you to feel that they are somehow better.

I really advise anyone in college to just associate with other people in college. They’re all in the same boat you are. People who are not in school and are in the workforce full-time are doing something very different with their lives and I don’t think college students can get along with these people. It simply doesn’t work. A good rule in life is to hang around with  people who are doing whatever you are doing. If you hang out with people who are doing something much different from what you are doing, it just doesn’t seem to work. Would be nice if it did, but it just doesn’t.

I have been told I know a lot of stuff, but frankly, most of it is from being an autodidact. A college education ideally teaches you how to think – it teaches you critical thinking skills. Then you take that ramped-up college-educated brain out into the world and use it to gain new knowledge or even to work at jobs where you have no training or background but the only requirement is that you have to be smart.

Once you learn how to think, you can now work at all sorts of jobs that require nothing more than being smart. I am not obviously using my degrees now for work, but my degrees taught me how to think. For one of my side jobs, counseling, the only requirement is that you have to be smart. I have no degrees, credentials, licences or any of that, as you do not need them. But college taught me how to think and this job requires serious brains, so I am able to do it. In addition, I learned a lot of this job simply through study for many years.

I had a job a while back as a linguist and anthropologist. I had a degree in Linguistics, but we were never taught field linguistics. So I simply went out and checked out a small pile of books on how to do field linguistics.  Then I got on the phone and called all over the country to some of the bigger linguists out there, and I asked them how to do the job. Mostly I wanted to know how to make an alphabet. They gave me a lot of tips. With those skills, I was able to invent an alphabet for the tribe. I also made a dictionary and a phrase book. For the phrase book, I ended up being creative director.

Although I can’t do art, I designed the book. I wrote out of all of the text and then I set aside spaces where I wanted the drawings to go. I specified what drawings of what I wanted in each space and how big they should be. For instance, “a drawing of an old Indian woman weaving a basket here.” I have no idea how I did this, as I never really got trained. We were supposed to learn layout in Journalism school, but I never got taught it because it wasn’t in the courses. You had to go to the print shop and learn it on your own. My art skills are atrocious. But I think those fancy degrees I got ramped up my brain nicely enough to where I can now design books, though I never took a single hour of a course in how to do it.

Later I had to do a lot of anthropological work, so I simply went and checked out a small pile of books on how to be a field anthropologist. I also called up a few anthropologists and talked to them. Then I read all of the previous anthropological work that had been done on the tribe, hundreds of pages. After a while I got a feel for how to be a Cultural Anthropologist. I simply taught myself how to do the job.

I recently worked as Graphics Editor on a book series. We were in charge of making maps of languages and where they were spoken. We had maps of regions and we had to shade in and label each of ~50  languages and where they were spoken. The speaker populations were colored onto maps of Eurasia. We had ~5 maps to work with. After a while, I figured out that all of the maps were wrong and they were all wrong in different ways!

And it wasn’t exactly obvious how or why they were wrong, and it was not clear where the speaker population should properly be shaded on the map. After quite some time, I finally got a feel for it, but it was a pretty wild project. All the source material was wrong and all of it in different ways! Eventually we figured out how each map was wrong and in what way it was wrong. Many of the maps were also correct for some populations too, and after a while, I figured that out too. But it was a pretty crazy project. I know nothing of graphics. I took one university geography course, but it did not help me. I can’t draw to save my life. But I worked with an artist and gave him instructions of where to shade in the groups. I didn’t need to know how to draw and I didn’t need to know anything about maps. I just needed to know how to think.

Even for this sleuthing we are doing here, I believe my university education is helping me to do this. I never took one minute of a single criminology class. But I didn’t need to. What I and hopefully the rest of you are doing here in this sleuthing is that you are simply using pure, raw critical thinking skills. Sure you need special training to be a detective, but if you have ever met any detectives, one thing you will notice is that they are whip smart.

This sleuthing we are doing here is a great example of how learning critical thinking skills alone gives you a skill that is now transferable to all sorts of work in which you might not have received any training at all. None of us need to be Criminology majors to sleuth out this crime. All any of us needs is good critical thinking skills. That’s what is truly necessary for this sort of work.

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6 Comments

Filed under Anthropology, Education, Higher Education, Intelligence, Labor, Linguistics, Psychology, Sociology

6 responses to “How a College Degree – in Anything – Helps You in Later Life and Work

  1. M E

    This is awesome and really inspiring!

    I need to find my motivation.

    • Yes, it’s all about “inspiration” and “motivation” (don’t forget “innovation” “diversity” and “creativity”), reality be damned. Let words and rhetoric “inspire” you and forget that empty words are what pass for policy and analysis these days. Trust the system! Pay no heed to the fact that global finance capitalism is destroying the middle-class and condemning people to debt peonage and an uncertain future. Pay no heed to the bankers and CEOs as they reorient the economy to serve as a means to their end (profit) and the corrupt governments who hand your money to them when their house of card Ponzi scam almost destroys the western economy.

      Just believe and trust the media to guide you. Whatever you do, do NOT entertain doubts that maybe they don’t give a flying fuck about you. Statistics are objective, because science, and there is no need to check the validity of claims based on them. Thinking is so last decade. Today it’s all about belief and our old pal “self-empowerment” (as opposed to rights enshrined in law) and life is reduced to endless uncertainty and competition for status and privilege. If this seems dehumanizing and alienating it’s because you are not sufficiently, wait for it, “empowered” and committed to serving an unsustainable political and economic system that ultimately works against your interests.

      /rant

  2. I remember when college was about learning to expand ones horizons and being exposed to new and different ideas and challenging ones prejudices and opinions.

    Today a college/university education is prohibitively expensive for students without inherited money or parents who can pay for their education.

    Going $50k into debt to be harangued by SJWs and their enablers in administration and faculty is insane. If a university education (particularly in the humanities and social sciences) isn’t intellectually enriching is it really worth the cost? These articles pushing people to go into debt are suspect. But hey if you’re working at Starbucks you might make $1 more per hour than your HS degree only co-workers.

    It’s a scam. Neoliberalism (using market and economic principles to run society) has turned students into customers and education into a product they buy. Faculty are expected to treat students like paying customers and cater to their whims and idiosyncrasies no matter how absurd. This is ridiculous. And if colleges are simply training mills for the private sector perhaps they should be paying students’ tuition and expenses.

    • Frito Pendejo

      But you don’t always have to go to college just to about learning to expand ones horizons and being exposed to new and different ideas and challenging ones prejudices and opinions, as going through the temporal journey that is life can sometimes throw curve balls that might make someone re-think assumptions on how everything works & end up learning not to take everything for granted.

  3. Tulio

    “Once you learn how to think, you can now work at all sorts of jobs that require nothing more than being smart. ”

    Gotta disagree with you there. Maybe that was true when you were young, but no way this is true anymore. First off, nearly everyone has a degree these days. Being a college graduate is like being a high school graduate at this point. Secondly, being smart per se won’t necessarily get you shit. Most jobs that pay anything beyond intern/entry level wage have a list of very specific skillsets and experience they demand. They want employees that hit the ground running and don’t want to invest any time or money into molding an inexperienced employee to fit their needs. They’d rather hire someone from overseas on an HB1 visa.

    • Frito Pendejo

      Because most Americans are of average or below average in IQ points, where as, America, still just enough the land of opportunity, compared to every other country, is all to willing to do the easy way of doing things, just imports all the third worlders as it is. Why bother investing in your people when a company can just import 3rd worlders, often on the cheap even, when 1B visas will do wonders?

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