Education Occupies Wall Street
For many years people have been living their lives according to “the norms”. They grow up with the expectations that this is the route to follow:
- Go to school
- Go to university
- Get a Job
- Get a mortgage and buy a house
- Have a family and kids
- Send kids to school
- Retire (and travel)
The problem is that when following “the norm” they are discontented with the path, their lives and their choices. A “job” is not an enjoyable, fulfilling or purposeful use of our time. And, yet, we spend almost 30% of our adult lives working in a “job”.
How can we expect to enjoy our lives when a large portion of it we dedicate to an activity we do not enjoy?
So, first, I ask you to think about – and challenge – “the norm”. Is there another way to live your life and make it meaningful that would allow you to survive (financially) in our society?
Education – going to school and university – has been touted as the “road to success” by millions of people – including (my) parents. But the educational system has been built to be systematic and standardised. We are expected to “learn” content with a large group of people and with little personal attention from our teachers. This is not the teachers’ fault, they are locked into a system which they cannot change on their own. But, the result of our educational system is that we have millions (billions) of kids that know exactly the same things as each other, to exactly the same level of detail or depth.
So what’s the problem with that? To put it simply, you have no power if you are not substantially unique. When you apply to a job and you have very similar qualifications to the other 100 people applying to the job, you have no power in asking for the job. You are not unique.
Another thing to realise is that schools and universities are charging us a sh*tload for something that is freely available to every single one of us! The internet and what Google has done with it has turned the world into a knowledge and information paradise.
The education system is just simply the “internet spoken to you” through a teacher with a $XXX,XXX price tag attached to it.
You have a choice, pay for the same information by going to schools and university. Or, get it for free online. Just check out the Khan Academy for a great example.
Now, I am not suggesting that everyone should drop out of schools and university in favour of learning through the web. There are universities (and schools) out there that educate differently. They not only use content, but they focus on applied knowledge. Giving you the skills to use information, to solve problems, to think for yourself and apply all that learning to the real world is what has made the top universities in the world, the top universities in the world - Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, Princeton, MIT…. These educational institutions are worth paying to go to because they actually give you valuable skills. These are skills that make you unique, allow you to demand a better income and pay off the loan you took to get there.
So, if you are going to a school or university now that is taught in massive classes, where content is shoved down your throat for $000′s of dollars. Check out google and see what you can get for free. Otherwise, start demanding more from your schools and universities.
Finally, I have been watching with anticipation the recent protesting around the world – the occupywallst movement. I believe it is the start of something indicative of everything I have already outlined above. The intersection of society’s discontent with their lives, their jobs, their education and the world.
They want justice, because they feel like they have been thwarted by a biased system. And, to be honest, they have reason to believe that.
However, the “uprising” seems to have no point, no obvious demands, no expectations, no goal…is that going to result in change?
I think we need to turn this hostility into positive action. For that we need informed leaders to stipulate the changes needed in the world, to identify solutions that require big shifts in the way the world works, and then to empower the people of this movement to achieve the new vision. This will turn a meaningless protest into a valuable change our society desperately needs.