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Jason King

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Is education for sake of education worthwhile?

I know my thoughts on this, as someone in their mid-forties, established in their career, who is returning to school now that my kids are grown. In fact my youngest is in his second year of college and one of his friends recently asked why I would I go back to school now. It’s not to get a job, I have one. It’s not to get a better one, I love what I do. It’s not to get more money, because I doubt it will have much effect there. For me it because I have always felt that education was important, it’s just that life got in the way and now that I can… why wouldn't I?

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  • Nov 18 2013: Yes.

    I think it may be hard for a young person to see education as anything but a means to an end. You have a way to support yourself and more education is not necessary to improve your job, and now it is about doing what you want to do in life to make yourself happy. If you enjoy learning and have the opportunity to do so-Why Not! Bravo!

    Increasing your education may lead you on new adventures, cause you to discover unknown passions, answer some of life's puzzling questions, and perhaps replace some of the driving curiosity with the tranquility of understanding.
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      Nov 19 2013: Your answer is more eloquent than the answer I gave him, I may have to quote you.
  • Nov 22 2013: Go for it. I have always taken courses that had nothing to do with my major - just because it was interesting and fun. I did it when I was working. Needed the stimulation. Now that I am retired, I am planning to take the LSAT in February unless something comes up and go to law school - think it would be fun.
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      Nov 22 2013: Hi,Wayne.
      " I have always taken courses that had nothing to do with my major - just because it was interesting and fun."
      Then what if you don't have any chance to practice it?I am confused sometimes,for i always want to learn German as my third language,but there is hardly any usefulness.So i still haven't decided yet.What do you think?
      • Nov 22 2013: Do it - I have a tin ear and it takes me forever to speak a language correctly but I learnt Russian so that I could read the authors in the native language - so much better than reading a translation. I am now trying to learn to read arabic - interested in reading the Qur'an the same way. Hard going but fun
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          Nov 23 2013: Wow,amazing,Wayne.I can tell you must live your life with gusto.I like your perception of doing things just for fun.Maybe learn some Chinese in the future?:)
          Have a nice weekend.:)
  • Nov 19 2013: Hi Dear Jason King,I have been a teacher for twenty-two-year at schools,in the later ten years,I have kept coming back to universities to learn teaching skills,education theory,various professors lectures,fortunately most of studying tuition has been supported by goverment.The learning still keeps on now.I feel very luncky to get chances to sit in university classrooms again to keep studying.

    Some of my colleagues wondered what my motivation to study so hard.They said you didn't study to get certification,not for position(because I am in my forties already,it is impossible for me to get promotion).But they just don't know I learn for being a better teacher only.

    I like to be positive in my life,it makes me feel happy.And real studying happens only from inner world.So I totally understand you completely,and glad to know you enjoying it very much.Thank you for the sharing.
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    Nov 19 2013: sure. They say nature never wastes anything, and life experiences, including education are the same way, life never wastes anything. Even if there is no overt practical use for it, education will increase your appreciation of life, and that's a benefit, too.
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    Nov 22 2013: Of course it is. The main reason others cannot understand why you would want more knowledge is because the principle purpose of an education has always been getting a stupid job and nothing more. The whole purpose of schools and mass education has always been simply making people employable by those in industry and commerce and nothing more.

    Education of the masses is a direct result of the Industrial Revolution when huge numbers of employees where suddenly required who could do simple math in order to keep the books and who could read and write in order to maintain records of inventory, read the blueprints to build the factories and be able to run the machines. And that mandate still exists as the principle purpose of education today, namely getting a job or a career.

    Therefore, anyone that seeks knowledge simply because they wish to know more can be seen as aberrant and perhaps even suspicious in their intent. I, myself, was a grade 9 dropout. Everyone was mortified and told me I should stay because I needed the learning in order to get a "good" job. But I had had a number of jobs by the time I was 15 and knew that all you had to do was find an employer and show them you could do the job to get the job.

    In my late teens I came across a new technology called computing which was simply running machines and I already knew how to operate many types of machinery. Subsequently I had 20 years of so in an amazing field of endeavour with climate controlled environs - for the machines not the people - lots of money and status and a very good life overall.

    But in my 40's I was far more interested in knowing more simply for my own interests and enrolled in university as a mature student for the next 10 years exploring whatever subjects interested my and whatever course load I chose, usually 2 or 3 at a time but sometimes just one subject because I didn't want any other distractions while I explored the material. It was a wonderful experience too.
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    Nov 22 2013: Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next

    Learning is acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing, existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information

    Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something, which can include facts, information, descriptions, or skills acquired through experience or education.

    We often confuse education with learning or knowledge. I like school. I build new skills, hone old skills, and leave with a sense of accomplishment.

    The question is: Is it worth while? We can only answer that for ourselves. For me the answer is yes .... and if I read your comments correctly it is worth while to you also.

    At mid forties you are a mere seedling in a forest of might oak ... I attend and am 70.

    Youth is wasted on kids ... follow your heart .... I support you .... all the best. Bob.
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    Nov 22 2013: Hi,Jason,as a daughter myself i would be so glad to see all dads doing so.(I may try to persuade my own one into doing so when he is retired but i think there might be little hope) :)
    To let the passion for knowledge govern your life is no easy task,really.But your thoughts definitely motivate me.
    I am convinced that our potential is beyond measure, and it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.
  • Nov 21 2013: Let me tell you some stories that showed my self motivated study/learning actually happened to yield some surprising benefit in my life:
    I started to work at age 14, in a large paper manufacturing company. As a trainee, I learned the skill as a bookkeeper. Later on I asked and was granted to be a factory technician and became a good worker in quality control of the paper products. Later on, I moved with my parents to Taiwan. There, I found a job as an accountant in an insurance company (because I am good in bookkeeping and accounting due to my previous experience.) I then started to self-study topics in business administration, economics and finance. I worked in a branch office with only about 9 employees. At one time, there came the military advisers from the U. S. Many of the advisers had private cars needed auto insurance and came to request insurance from our company. And I was the only one in the office able to talk with them. Since there were sales commissions for all kind of insurance, so I got paid one half of the commissions from all the transactions of such auto insurance premiums. These income eventually helped me to come to the U. S. to "resume" my education in the graduate school.
    After I entered the business school, the first graduate course in business administration involved a tour of a factory of the 3M (Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing) Co. and we were asked to make a report on the "time & motion study" of the production process. I used my experience from the paper mill and was given a grade of A in my first course in a foreign language.
    I retired after 35 years as a graduate school faculty. I now take my leisure to enjoy my retirement. But I still spend a couple of hours per week to manage investment in stocks and bonds in my funds in the (self directed) retirement accounts. I would say that my results are better than those managed by financial advisers. I simply kept my knowledge gained when I worked in the insurance co in my previous career.
  • Nov 20 2013: It is for me. What else matters? :-)
  • Nov 19 2013: Obviously it depends on the person. Some are curious and some aren't.
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    Nov 19 2013: Enough about you, let's talk about you. hahaaa just kiddin man. Go get that learnin.
    I went back to school after a concussion because I knew my brain would be needed to keep me functioning. It was fading, and needed the exercise.
    Now I get that exercise from reading and writing on my own, because no money for go classes. But, also from learning Traditional Martial Arts movements. This education different as it develops attributes of focus and attention, that can be used for anything else. I doubt it needs to be Martial Arts though, if I had the money I would be learning to dance salsa.
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    Nov 18 2013: Of course learning brings its own joy and broadens your perspective, both of which can improve your quality of life and ability to make social contribution.

    Maybe your son's friend is wondering why you would go back to school rather than engage in independent learning activities. Kids in college are often acutely aware of having requirements to meet- tests and so forth- dictated by others. He may wonder mainly why you don't try to avoid those since you can.

    What are you studying now?
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      Nov 19 2013: I am pretty sure my son's friend only see's education as a means to end and neither of them find much enjoyment in it. I have always enjoyed learning, after high school that is, and am glad to be in a position to get back to it. My current class is "Creativity/Business innovation".
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        Nov 19 2013: That sounds as if it could be useful even in your profession, regardless of what that is.
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        . . 100+

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        Nov 22 2013: Dear Jason, I logged in today and randomly came upon your post. What I read made me so very happy (on a rainy gray November day) that I felt I would write just to say that.
        Education, fathers, sons…..what you are doing is beautiful and great and I actually have no words to describe the value of it…..As a different story on importance of passing on values, I hope you can gather everyone (sons and the son's friends) around and watch this Talk about fathers and sons; it is one of my top TED favorites
        http://www.ted.com/talks/alberto_cairo_there_are_no_scraps_of_men.html