As I sit in class and listen to the professor talk about how bad plagiarism is, the speech begins to sound like Charlie Brown’s mother. Wah-wah-wah. This is the same song-and-dance I’ve been listening to for years. I could teach a course on how not to mess up in university. Don’t cheat, don’t skip class, don’t forget to cite, and so on. After six years of university, with two semesters a year, typically taking four classes a semester (sometimes 5), I’ve sat through over 50 course outlines which generally say the same thing. And now, during the fifty-something-th time I find myself wondering- is it worth it?
I am the black sheep of many social circles, as I am 25 and still studying in university. Most people do their time (yes, that was a reference to being in jail), and they get out within 4 years. Not me. Six years later, with three left to go, I will finish with a Bachelor of Communications in Public Relations, a Bachelor of Business Management and a certificate in International Communications. But do these pieces of paper matter? I’ve been working for the past decade of my life, and I’ve realized that it seems to be all about who you know. Need someone for the job but don’t have time to post it? Talk to a friend of a friend. Boom, position filled. Receptionist away on maternity leave and need someone to answer phones? Remember your best friend’s daughter crashed her car and needs extra cash to pay it off. Boom, position filled. People in the “real life” working-world may not like to admit it, but it seems to be true for menial positions.
Is it the same for higher positions too? Do any CEO’s of corporate companies not have degrees? I realize that the generation before mine isn’t full of people who went to university. This isn’t the case with my generation. Everyone seems to have a degree in something. The waitress at Denny’s has an art history degree, but the curator at the art museum doesn’t.
And so I can’t stop thinking… am I wasting my time and money? Am I wasting the prime years of my life sitting in classrooms?