Education and Experience

This is where the magic happens

A phrase that I have run into recently is “Experience is so much more important than a piece of paper from a university.” I would tend to agree with that, with one huge caveat: Higher Education is yet another form of experience.

There is no substitute for experiential learning. This is very basis of apprenticeship programs. This is also the reason why many colleges and universities require their students to take internships: To learn hands on.

The idea that experience alone is required to make it in the 21 century is archaic. Today’s jobs require theoretical underpinnings as well as experience. People that work with traumatized kids (like me) need more than just a developed sense of empathy to work with clients. We need to learn about brain development, the development of attitudes and behaviors and we need to know how to write. We need to write up detailed, lucid reports quickly in order to document how our kids’ progress on their treatment.

I’m sure there are other fields that flat out require education and experience. My professors at CDM make it clear the IT field prefers education and experience. Lawyers fall into the same category. This begs the question, why the hate on education? Seriously, why the hate on education? I want to hear a few ideas before I post mine.

One thought on “Education and Experience

  1. I think there’s a real disconnect in some cases between cost, expectation and results of formal education, especially college and post-graduate–even in some of the fields you mention above. We’ve all been told that Education opens doors, but what’s been happening for the past few years is that there just aren’t enough jobs in some fields to absorb all the graduates. So let’s say you take out a big loan to go to school to get the education. You’re very proactive, you do internships, you do well in class, you’ve got the balance of education and entry-level experience. Then the economy collapses, and you can’t find work. Not through the fault of you, necessarily, but because 40 other people just graduated with your degree and there are 5 jobs. AND now you’ve got debt. (See http://eagleionline.com/2010/10/15/open-letter-to-interim-dean-brown/ for an example of this.) As another example, the Museum Studies program at NYU had 80 students last year. I promise you, there are not enough jobs to absorb that number of new MAs in Museum Studies–and NYU offers no scholarships or fellowships for the program, so you pretty much have to take out a loan unless you have $30,000 lying around somewhere. We’ve got to make education more affordable so that people aren’t essentially gambling their futures through taking out enormous loans.

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