Re: Getting that degree

Subject: Re: Getting that degree
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1993 14:26:11 -0500

Jim Gifford enters the discussion about degrees:

> Is the impication that students should not be asked to take any sort
> of general degree requirements? That all you should take at college
> are those courses that relate to your major or those that "interest"
> you?


I have mixed feelings in this discussion. I believe very strongly that a
varied college education makes you a more well-rounded individual, and
that you never lose what you learn, even if you never use it directly.
College should teach you *how* to learn. And, it should, for maybe the
only time in many people's lives, provide a safe haven to explore new

OTOH, many folks know *how* to learn, but never get the degree. They are
better prospective employees in any number of fields, in many respects,
than a lot of the folks who did stick it out and get the sheepskin, but
never really learned the importance of initiative, independent thought,
risk-taking, and plain old hard work.

Somebody raised the point that employers use the lack of a degree as a
crude measuring stick to eliminate large numbers of prospective
employees. That hardly seems right, but how else should they do it?
Standardized testing? *Certification*? <-------(Hot button word alert)

In some industries, degreed individuals cannot find *any* work, and
accept positions far beneath their education. They are underemployed,
underutilized, and stuck. They played by the rules, and are now holding
the bag - or the sheepskin, to unabashedly mix metaphors. Is *that*

I've always underemphasized my own academic background, believing firmly
that my ability and my brains are my credentials. I was never naive
enough to think these would get me as far as they would in combination
with my academic background. I'd never have been able to work as a
technical writer without my certificate, and even if I could, I know the
coursework made me a better technical writer. I *could* have learned all
of that from books and observation on my own; *would* I have done so?
Probably not.

No, I don't think the implication is that people should stop getting
college degrees. However, there are inequities...nothing new about that.
I remember when I "temped" after I quit my last job and before I went
back to school. I agree that mismanagement and short-sighted planning
(or a complete lack of planning) characterize a wide-variety of public
and private enterprises in the US of A. No, it's not pretty. No, I don't
have any easy solutions, just observations. (No, I'm not going to squeal
on anybody. 8-)

> to NEW interests, become passe (how does one use an accent in this
> limited form of character based transmission?)?

All caps works well, just as you've done. *I* like to delimit words I'm
emphasizing with adjacent *asterisks*. See?

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"It is not enough to succeed. Others|
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| must fail." - Gore Vidal |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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