I’m pro-learning, but anti-school

“School sucks!”

Or at least that’s what nearly every student has found themselves saying at one time or another for generations.

And despite being an educator myself, I have to agree with them.

Those of you who have read my posts for a while now or know me personally know I don’t hide my feelings about the problems with today’s education system.

For those that don’t, let me give it to you in a nutshell – it’s outdated.

And like anything outdated, it needs updating.

I suppose you could say I’m pro-learning, but anti-school.

Each generation, it seems we become more reliant on technology and less reliant on ourselves.

Take the concept of Pi, I heard that when my parents were young they learnt that Pi was 3.1415, for my generation it was just 3.14…today, it’s 3.

Are we getting stupidier?

I look at my 4-year-old son and marvel at how quickly he is able to pick things up. The tools we have at our disposal are nothing short of incredible in today’s world so my answer to the previous question is a resounding “No.”

So what is wrong then?

To answer this question I think it’s well worth your time to listen to what Sir Ken Robinson has to say in his TED talk which is one of the best I’ve seen. (I’ve included it below for your viewing pleasure)

Personally, I think it’s simple.

The world just went and changed. Naughty world.

No one told the teachers, no one told the schools, and no one told the universities.

Now you’ll often hear schools say how progressive they are and how they are preparing students for the world today, but sadly I think that’s just their way of convincing students to part with thousands of dollars.

Again, I’m pro-learning…but anti-school.

What I believe in is good education, and there is a lot out there today.

We just need to go in search of it, unfortunately, the fact is, for most people the answer doesn’t lie in schools.

Now back when I was a student, I thought a college education was “it.” It being the secret to success.

So off I went and used up nearly all of my father’s retirement money…and let me be clear, I thoroughly enjoyed my college life.

I absolutely believe that college is a great experience.

It’s a time for “exploration” in more ways than one.

Students travel overseas, meet people from all sorts of different backgrounds and have the opportunity, for the first time in their life to actually choose what they want to study.

However, like everything in life, we must weigh the pros and cons.

Pros, I’ve already stated, cons, just one really – it’s damn expensive.

I was shocked to learn that 4 years at the college I graduated from will now cost you in the realm of $200,000 for 4 years (not including expenses).


Here’s a question we all need to ask ourselves – why do we go to college in the first place?

I think most people would agree that it’s because it allows us to get a better paying job.

Wonderful, and then what? Well, you’ll work hard for ten years or so and then put a down-payment down on your dream house…which will end up costing you somewhere in the realm of $270,000.

So let me get this straight, we spend $200,000, spend four years and end up working maybe 20 years to pay off your house loan.

Something doesn’t add up.

To make things worse, few schools or colleges mention the difficulty in actually getting a good job straight out of college.

Now there are some exceptions – to become a doctor, there’s not much choice, you must attend medical school. To be a chemical engineer, you will access to a lab. They cannot be avoided but should my son come and tell me he wants to study literature I’ll advise him to attend the best college in the world, it’s called the library.

Now you might be thinking, “Dang, Adrian’s so negative.”

Far from it, I’m just trying to keep it real.

The world has changed, whether you choose to see it or not is your choice.

So if I’m pro-learning what do I recommend people study?

I’m glad you asked:

  • Seminars & Workshops
  • Training DVDs
  • Audio Programs
  • Books
  • Specialty schools
  • Private teachers

The best part is that an investment in these will be much cheaper than a college education, in much less time.

Now as you might expect, just like no two colleges were made alike, no two programs or books are alike either, so what’s worth investing your time in is another discussion entirely.

In case you’d like some books to get you started then check out my previous post here and here.

I have touched on this topic time and time again, but I still seem to be failing to get through which is why I’m here, to take another stab at it.

The thing is we have been brought up to believe that a college education is “it.”

I’m here to say that a college education could be “it.”

To me, I think a better way to invest almost a quarter of a million dollars would be

  1. Give them $20,000 to travel around the world in any manner they choose
  2. Send them to various workshops on the following topics: real estate, investing, success, health, time management and marketing. Each course should cost you anywhere from $2000 up to $10,000.
  3. Buy them a small place ($100,000) and have them learn how to manage it.
  4. Keep $20,000 for emergencies.
  5. Have them take some private classes, $20,000
  6. The rest spend on audio programs and books.

Now I know not everyone has that kind of dough lying around.

I get it, it’s big money.

But that’s precisely the point – College is a BIG investment today.

And with the economy the way it is today, I’m not sure your first choice should be college.

I’m all for education,1 100%. Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone invest in their own future.

But until the school system changes, you’ll have to excuse me and my anti-school stance.

Adrian Shepherd

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