General education development. GED’s for all you acronym lovers out there (talking to myself mostly, but I know there’s some other weirdos out there, too). What a fascinating use of our education system. If I listed all of the times that I put my Gen Ed to use in the real world, it would take up literally zero space. Say it ain’t so! Yes, unfortunately, all of my current knowledge comes from Google. When I don’t remember something, I turn to Internet Einstein. The all-knowing search engine that only sometimes lets me down. Although usually the let down is a personal ineptitude in search keywords, so I guess I can’t really blame that on someone else. I go more into my feels on the Google, and how literally anything is Google-able, in THIS POST.
College did teach me a lot of things. Mmm … wait, let me rephrase. College forced me to take classes across a disturbingly wide variety of topics in the hopes that I would learn a lot of things and be “well-rounded”. Things like the history of ancient ruins in early Rome. Creative writing and scientific research – conflicting concepts, one assignment. The life of Beyoncé (ok this wasn’t actually a waste, let’s be honest). How to be a wizard – spoiler alert: it’s more difficult than Harry and Hermoine make it seem. The American prison system. Modern day mathematics. All the tree species in rural Africa. So many, what’s the right word, curious offerings.
Still not really sure how those are helpful in navigating real-life issues. Such as filing taxes, applying for health insurance, receiving feedback at work, correctly bagging groceries in self-checkout (when do I have to bag and when is it alright not to? It’s so confusing!), how to remain calm in a highway parking lot (more on annoying traffic patterns in THIS POST), navigating the strange world of online dating, etc.
Somehow, that seems like a better use of my money. If college was free, then this would be a different story. Give me all the classes you’re marketing as required so they don’t get nixed from the offerings list and keep me there forever. Because that is what this is about right? Struggling departments trying to meet butts in seats requirements so they become part of everyone’s coursework. I can imagine this conversation vividly:
Board of Trustees: “Department A hasn’t seen the enrollment numbers we were promised. Let’s take it to the guillotine, it’s been real.”
Chancellor: “No, wait! Let’s not make rash decisions. We can force all of our students to take at least one of their classes – it will make them more marketable.”
Moral of the story is that college is apparently for suckers like me. Trying to do the right thing and get a piece of paper so people will think I know what I’m doing and might consider hiring me. The hard irony being that when you actually walk across the stage they give you a blank piece of paper. Symbolism for the blank spaces on your resume where your experience could have been, but you were forced to learn about how grocery stores arrange their shelves to coerce shoppers into buying certain products. Not unfascinating, but also not helpful in an interview for an engineering position.
Believe it or not, if I wanted to take some of these classes, I would have made that my major. Or I would have done it willingly and not cared about the cost. For three whole credits though, I expect a solid return on investment there. I pay you so that eventually someone will pay me. Yet here we are, not writing bibliographies, not analyzing rocks from my yard, not identifying tree varieties in the local park, not doing math, not mixing chemicals together to see a reaction, not looking at cells under a microscope, not casting spells, etc. No, if I need to do any of that, I look it up online. Clearly the most important part of my education has stuck with me then – how to use my resources to efficiently find a solution to a problem.
Why they force us to take tests without technology is beyond me. I’m not sure how proving that you can remember something for a small period of time after staying up all night studying is applicable in a job environment. Where you have computers. And the Internet. And everyone encouraging you / telling you to figure it out yourself (aka with the help of a robot like Google, Alexa, Siri, Watson, etc.).
Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who has also experienced the tragedy of GED’s, share this with them so they can take solace in the fact that college doesn’t just hate them. It’s a universal issue. Thanks for reading!
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