I’ll be rather blunt:
College bores and frustrates me as much as grade school and high school did. I can credit a small minority (a handful, at best) of teachers that had incredible personalities, an obvious passion for their subject matter, and a love of teaching just about anyone. So engaging that I forgot, for an hour or two, that I was in a classroom.
But it’s painfully obvious when someone doesn’t have any of that. And I just can NOT learn in the typical “school” institutionalized environment with boring teachers who have no passion for the material, do nothing to engage their students, have no spark, choose the traditional/mind-numbing delivery methods of materials, or are just ‘going through the motions’. I can NOT learn anything of value by staring at a wordy PowerPoint presentation, dense 30-something page readings that make me wonder why I was ever remotely interested in the topic in the first place, do nothing but take notes, blah blah.
I can NOT learn anything I truly WANT to learn with rigid major requirements and copious general education requirements. I just spent 12 of the transitional years between late childhood and adolescents going over all those very same subjects. Why the hell do I need another 60+ credits in MORE Gen Eds, instead of actually getting into the nitty-gritty of what I’m actually supposed to be majoring in right away? And why is it only elite colleges like Brown University have o p e n curriculums where students can damn near craft their own majors within reason?
I just graduated from community college with 61 credits, within the same state that has supposed “transfer agreements” with local 4-year colleges, yet only 46-47 of those credits actually transferred. That extends the work I have to do (and re-do) for the rest of a Bachelor’s degree to… another 3 – 4 years.
I’m starting to wonder what the whole point of community college was, and why I did all that work when a good third of it wasn’t going towards the ultimate goal. That’s despite talking to multiple advisors the whole time. If I had known that would have happened, I would have chosen a route that would have fit me better in the long term. And was far more efficient in studying what I truly wanted to know and master.
Unfortunately, some of that isn’t taught in college. Or, if it is, it comes at a premium.
Quite frankly, I’m 100% over this gatekeeping paywall on knowledge and this bizarre obsession with the higher educational requirements to do just about any job. Even if a degree isn’t legitimately required to do the actual job. Other countries have apprenticeships in nearly every industry. Yes, including Archaeology. So… why doesn’t the so-called “land of the free and the brave”?
That’s a question I’ll leave others to ponder, because I already know the answer, as I’m sure many others do as well.
I’ve realized, however, just how much time I’ve wasted trying so hard to fit into a society that makes no room for those of us who are wired differently, and are here to pursue something beyond the mainstream. I don’t need a piece of paper from a gatekeeping institution that grants me permission to work in a specific field or industry, because of some arbitrary socially constructed rule that deems it necessary for credibility.
If I can demonstrate my expertise through a variety of methods, and cite all of my sources, access and utilize reputable sources, and have intelligent discussions with other scholars – is that not enough for “credibility’s sake”?
I certainly believe so.
So, to make this rambling much shorter: An autodidact, I am.
And that will be the basis of this blog moving forward, chronicling that journey and sharing the resources I gather and the thought process as I move through this non-traditional space.