Education has an expiration date

Your education will quickly become outdated if you stop learning. Don’t let the years of your life spent in the classroom and the thousands of tuition dollars you (or your parents) spent go to waste. Never stop learning.

One of the best parts of being an adult is that you get to spend your time learning the subjects and skills that interest you. The days of being stuck working through someone else’s curriculum, someone else’s agenda are over. In school, your teachers would decide what you should worry about and what you need to know to pass the test. As an adult, you decide what to worry about. And you can choose to spend your time worrying about more interesting things.

Real learning requires deliberate daily practice. Therefore, whatever it is you want to learn, study and practice every day. There are things I want to learn and to get better at doing. Working on them seven days a week is how I intend to succeed.

An Unusual Final Exam

An Unusual Final Exam

Designer Degrees

Scott Adams thinks there should be a new kind of degree, a “certification that a student has completed a series of classes specified by a particular designer.”

The designer would not be limited to one college for specifying classes. For example, if Warrant Buffett designed the Warren Buffett Business Degree, he would specify the general type of classes that need to be completed, and the student would be free to find those classes across any number of institutions and sources, including online classes or work experience. A graduate who earns the Warren Buffett Business Degree might take a few classes at the local community college, spend a year in China learning Chinese, work for an Internet startup for a year, join Toastmasters International to practice public speaking, read a number of specific business books, and so on.

This is a brilliant idea. The internet has made the technical aspects of it possible, and the questionable value of a college degree as well as the massive debt required to get one makes it desirable.

Changing the past

I love e-books, especially on my Kindle, but Nicholas Carr or the Wall Street Journal has some interesting ideas on the danger of e-books.

[A]s is often the case with digitization, the boon carries a bane. The ability to alter the contents of a book will be easy to abuse. School boards may come to exert even greater influence over what students read. They’ll be able to edit textbooks that don’t fit with local biases. Authoritarian governments will be able to tweak books to suit their political interests. And the edits can ripple backward. Because e-readers connect to the Internet, the works they contain can be revised remotely, just as software programs are updated today. Movable text makes a lousy preservative.

This is not an impossible problem to overcome. It is not difficult to compare versions of documents. In the digital age, version control is even easier than when monks copied out books by hand one by one.

Carr goes on to eulogize the death of the solidity of books.

Not long before he died, John Updike spoke eloquently of a book’s “edges,” the boundaries that give shape and integrity to a literary work and that for centuries have found their outward expression in the indelibility of printed pages. It’s those edges that give a book its solidity, allowing it to stand up to the vagaries of fashion and the erosions of time. And it’s those edges that seem fated to blur as the words of books go from being stamped permanently on sheets of paper to being rendered temporarily on flickering screens.

But really, what is a book before you read it? After you read it? It only is what it is as you are consuming its content.

A degree alone is not enough

Degrees are losing their clout according to the New York Times.

The U.S. produces a large number of workers whose skills aren’t needed.

A degree by itself is not worth what it once was. This means high schoolers planning to go to college need to start thinking more about what they intend to do after graduation so they can put their college years to good use.

A college degree is not a one-size-fits-all ticket into the middle class. It needs a plan paired with it to be of value.