Over at Tiny Cat Pants a couple of days ago there was quite a conversation about the problems facing single ministers in the Evangelical church. Seemingly unrelated, at first, is the fact that I’ve been watching Greek* on Netflix.
The combination of those two things has led to a sort of Eureka moment for me. I’ve been wondering about myself with more than a slight amount of worry. I’m a person who prizes learning above almost everything else. There have indeed** been times that I’ve turned learning into a sort of idolatrous pursuit. Despite that, I dropped out of formal college studies before getting a degree, while taking half-hearted stabs at official classes throughout the years. I’m still largely autodidactic, a method of learning which has as many drawbacks as it does things to recommend it.
But why this severe prejudice against the institution of college? I realised the prejudice was bad when I was actually relieved to hear that a neighbour’s daughter had dropped out of college to have a baby. Am I turning into some sort of oppressor of women, keep them illiterate and pregnant?
Then that conversation at TCP came up. Coupling that with reliving college days via television I realised something.
Modern institutions of learning seem to be for a lot of the students who attend them more about hiding out from the harsher realities of life than about any sort of life preparedness. How else could one have enough intellectual mettle to make it through undergrad and intensive seminary training while still being almost completely unaware of the culture they were ostensibly preparing to lead? Not just enter but lead?!
Now I know a fair amount of professors stop by this blog, and I have to make it clear that I’m in no way blaming you folks. Lord knows you do all you can to teach life skills such as attention to detail, professionalism, communication, reasoning and other sorts of things people need to get by in life. And I don’t know that I can even hold most of the institutions themselves responsible. Nearly all offer work study programs, insist upon internships and the like.
I think maybe I blame our culture. This culture that insists you must have a college degree to be successful while at the same time insisting that college are the best years of your life and must be spent in some sort of sex-, booze- and shopping-filled haze. Or, contrary-wise, that you must be so focused on the esoterica of your studies that you fail to see the planet spinning around you.
In other words, so much of post-high school education seems to be for the bulk of people who go through it, studying without learning.
*I refused to watch in in first run because the show’s logo used the Greek letter Sigma in place of the twin “e”s in the word Greek. Thus, effectively, renaming the show Grssk. It made me ssk. But now I’m bored and so my effete snobbery has fallen by the wayside.
**I’m watching entirely too much Stargate-SG1. I’m using the word “indeed” more than the word “the” these days.