Elon Musk once said, “You don’t need college to learn stuff”. The value is “seeing whether somebody can work hard at something… Colleges are basically for fun and to prove you do your chores, but they’re not for learning”. Maybe that was true for Musk. He attended the University of Pennsylvania, a prestigious ivy league that emphasizes social grooming, behaving correctly and exposure to the wealthy class and their values. Maybe if you are strictly interested in learning how to follow deadlines and collaborate with others, a less costly method in comparison to university might be a more favorable decision.
Musk insinuates that learning is everywhere and you can learn material substance for any degree without any college instruction. This might be true in some cases. Learning how to be a great public speaker like Musk might not rely on skills derived in a lecturing room. Library books and the internet are substantial enough to teach tips on posture and vocalization and confidence cannot be taught through instruction. But, how would medical labs or internet technologies training be self-conducted? Certainly, these skills must be learned in a hands-on setting and a high school diploma accompanied by self-instruction cannot be enough to admit entry-level employees to professional workforces. The term learning is also inclusive to exploration and is not defined by acquiring knowledge about a singular subject. The opportunity to explore different careers is still considered “learning” even if it isn’t dedicated to an individual future career. Learning about one’s interests and passions in an institutional setting might be considered just as important as some of the material learning that follows.
Most people understand that college isn’t only centered around university. One of the largest benefits of collegiate institutions is the opportunity to network both professionally and socially. Building relationships with professors, department heads, internship directors, and guest speakers increases a student’s chances of entering the workforce post-graduation. To contradict Musk’s words, it can be assumed that most introverted personalities would not find professional networking “fun” and can be seen as a requirement for future success rather than an enjoyable pastime. Social networking better represents the fun that Musk is explaining. Making friends and joining clubs, societies, or leadership groups represents some of the more entertaining aspects of college but many students would not agree that they also incorporate an aspect of learning.
Of course, Musk is not alone. For decades, the over-forty population has been arguing that many young people are wasting their money indulging in inappropriate activities, usually hinting at underaged drinking. Nobody needs more ammunition to argue that kids these days simply don’t have the drive that the older generation possessed in their youth. In particular, an anonymous commenter on Musk’s statement explained that he agrees because forty plus years ago, a majority of the men he attended college with enrolled to explore their adolescence at a comfortable distance from home. What this anonymous source doesn’t mention is that college was significantly cheaper forty years ago.
If students attended college for pure entertainment purposes with no goals of personal development in mind, they would be pursuing one of the most expensive forms of “fun” in the world.
Brooke Kruger is a Dakota Student Opinion Writer. She can be reached at [email protected]