- John Mavrick
As of recently, I've experienced great uncertainty regarding my future career and the path to get there. With my current life mission framed towards positively impacting society through creations that exceed my own time on this earth, I found entrepreneurship to be a potential path to follow.
However, as I began to reflect on my current situation, I questioned whether going to university would adequately satisfy my entrepreneurial desires.
If I truly want to reach the same levels as people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, going to school would only hinder my learning speeds. As a result, the following relatable criticism spiralled me into a midlife crisis where I questioned the importance of schooling:
Schools, so they argue, rest on the false premise that we need them to learn, while we learn much better or faster outside school or outside the classroom (Illich 1970; Bentley 2000; Griffith 2010). Moreover ... they have been accused of being brutal colonization machines. And all this seems to be based on sound observations and arguments. In today’s era of lifelong learning and (digital) learning environments, perhaps one is allowing the school to die a quiet death (Masschelein, 84).
In my field of Computing Science, there's an abundance of free online resources I could use to learn; in fact, I find myself learning and relying on them more than my in-person lectures. Thus, I thought to myself, why am I paying for schooling when the free option seems more effective?
I was considering dropping out to learn independently; time spent on preparing for standardized testing could be better used making meaningful progress and having experiences, tuition fees could be saved for business capital, and rigid class hours could be replaced with flexible and accelerated independent learning. The list could go on and on.
Although I still firmly believe in the above statements, the socialization school provides is irreplaceable towards confronting the limitations of my crippling social anxiety. Sure I could learn all conceptual things on my own, but there's no way I could bring myself to cultivate the relationships I have now without the common grounding school provides. As mentioned in both my seminar and my teaching reading responses, dialogue and personal interactions are what inspire my most profound and insightful revelations; no amount of independent learning would have a similar spiritual and emotional impact on me as the countless teachers, peers, and mentors that have helped navigate and confront my ongoing academic uncertainty.
To answer my own question, the value in schooling should not be evaluated solely on the content; other aspects like the different members of a school community and their collaborative efforts and visions can in tandem help me personally “experience what it means to share something and activate their ability to renew the world” (Masschelein, 92). Through such an arrangement of time and space, I’m provided with an environment to assist me in overcoming my personal limitations and preparing for the ultimate resolve I set out for myself.