I’d love a Masters Degree. I have no money.
What’s a guy to do when faced with a dilemma like this? Take out student loans that will take years of my life to pay back? Search for scholarships? Beg? Maybe a combination of the three?
Oh, and then there’s the whole ‘I love learning/I hate school’ thing that I need to deal with. I remember being in a European History class in high school. When the teacher discussed some of the great books written during the 1300-1500s, I was so intrigued that I went out and bought them on my own (I read ‘The Divine Comedy’ with no prodding from anyone). Meanwhile, my English teacher couldn’t force me to read ‘Of Mice and Men’ for class. I wish I enjoyed being told what to do but I don’t. And even when I was in college classes that I enjoyed, doing the reading was an unfortunate chore akin to washing filthy, month-old dishes. What to do…what to do?
There! I said it! I’m starting my own seminary. I don’t need Yale or Princeton or Asbury or my local community college! I have Amazon! And iTunes U! And a really sweet Library System! The whole education establishment is a sham! It’s a racket where you have to pay outrageous amounts of money and in exchange get a piece of paper that signifies you can show up (and not even on time, trust me). I’ve been to college (or university if you’re British). And I’m friends with people who went to college on Facebook. Having a ‘degree’ proves nothing. I know college-educated people who still can’t tell the difference between your and you’re (or if they can, they don’t bother to prove it). I know people with masters degrees who can’t properly differentiate between they’re, their, and there. And don’t even get me started on people writing “could of” or “would of.” IT’S COULD’VE OR WOULD’VE!!!! Capitalization? Non-existent. Punctuation? Completely optional. It is very apparent to me: That ‘degree’ means NOTHING.
“Drop out of school before your mind rots from exposure to our mediocre educational system. Forget about the Senior Prom and go to the library and educate yourself if you’ve got any guts. Some of you like Pep rallies and plastic robots who tell you what to read.” – Frank Zappa
So, in the spirit of Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin, and Frank Zappa, I’m doing it my way! I’m starting my very own Autodidactic University. I make the curriculum. I read the books. I write the papers. I grade the papers. And at the end, I give myself a degree. I guarantee it will be of greater value than half the degrees floating around in the workplace today.
“Libraries raised me. I don’t believe in colleges and universities. I believe in libraries because most students don’t have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression and we had no money. I couldn’t go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years.” – Ray Bradbury
My plan is to take the next four years and focus on different areas each year. I’m going to read extensively on the subjects that I’ve chosen and I’m going to be writing (and posting on this blog) papers, book reviews, etc. I’ve worked up a basic reading list for this coming year and I’ll be posting it very soon. I’d love to hear any additional suggestions for the topics that I’ve chosen. I’m looking forward to the next four years. I hope you are too!