Iron Man | Education Online

The debate is not a new one. Self-made entrepreneurs thumb their noses at their school-going counterparts, insisting that you can’t learn to be successful in school, that the really important lessons can only be gained through real-world experience. They will even go so far as to claim that education is just an unsubstantial stamp of approval with very little value behind it. To these lucky few, I would say the following…

First, for every self-made millionaire who rejected higher education and hit the big time, there are thousands of other degree-less workers who will be forced to settle for low-paying, unsatisfying jobs for the rest of their careers. You see, the anti-college millionaire is the exception rather than the rule. Meanwhile, those others who decided to skip college find themselves under a very low glass ceiling. They make up the vast majority of those who skip higher education. Those who work while their peers go to school may find themselves making more initially. But the statistics plainly show that their degree-holding peers quickly and uniformly surpass them in pay and promotions.

An old adage says, "Experience is the best teacher." Numerous other adages, however, say, "Learning from others’ experience is best of all." In essence, that is what higher education is, a collection of the experience, successes, and mistakes of the past. It gives students exposure to knowledge, concepts, and people that they would never have known otherwise. Beyond just career success, education imbues individuals with awareness beyond their day-to-day world. I believe this trait is called being well-rounded.

Am I rejecting the value of real-world experience? Absolutely not. Experience is an invaluable companion to education, and it becomes proportionately more important as one’s career progresses. I am opposed, however, to those who would devalue education as a foundation for success. Common sense does not support their claims. The statistics certainly do not support their claims.

Don’t kid yourself! School is the best way to build a foundation for the rest of your career. Of course, ultimate success will depend largely on how the individual chooses to perform after school. But there can be no denying that school is the best way to start.

5 comments on “Education vs. Experience: Don’t kid yourself!

  • Without education, it may indeed more difficult to obtain experience. However, today, both can be achieved simutaneously with online education. If you have found your professional niche, however lack the education power to move you up the corporate ladder, taking online classes may serve the purpose and help achieve the desired goals. Pass Christian University offers a large selection of career development classes applicable in most industries.

  • An old adage says, “Experience is the best teacher.” Numerous other adages, however, say, “Learning from others’ experience is best of all.” In my opinion, this is what education is, a collection of the experiences, successes, and mistakes of the teacher’s past. It gives students exposure to knowledge, concepts, and people that they would never have known otherwise.
    Am I rejecting the value of real-world experience? Absolutely not; I consider experience to be a vast and largely imperative part of having a well considered education.
    In conclusion, school is a very important piece to preparation for adulthood; however, if not paired with real life experiences used to educate, it is useless.

  • Though currently in graduate school, I will admit that higher education depending on the institution is merely an expensive study in conformity. When one speaks about "experience", it depends on the type of experience and what type of learner that individual is. You said this:
    "It gives students exposure to knowledge, concepts, and people that they would never have known otherwise. Beyond just career success, education imbues individuals with awareness beyond their day-to-day world. I believe this trait is called being well-rounded."
    I believe that section is called being rehearsed as most college graduates seem to be. You are a professor who is promoting your job. What would make you think learning can only happen in school. It is truly an elistist concept. I studied anthropology and did dances around my professors due to my extensive out of school learning and discovery which came way before college. Most of my classmates just looked on and seemed only to be able to complete assignments. I had a mix of both (60% experience and discovery/ 40% education) Some of the most intellectual and worldly people I know did not receive higher education. While I am one semester away from my graduate's degree and believe in education, I cannot generalize individual experiences.
    I find that there should be a balance of both. Most college students graduate by simply doing as told. The world would be a different place if they actually retained the information taught and had the drive to be self-learners (as in seeking out knowledge, new experiences and information). Being a self-learner does not mean you are learning from yourself!! I see you have taken that term too literally. It means having initiative.
    Therefore, this topic is subjective. Statistics simply prove that employers due to conventional thinking choose college graduates. However it does not mean that an experienced individual who has initiative, believes in self-discovery and has had work experience in a required field is not the best candidate.
    Lastly, in a country that refuses to make higher education affordable for many families and professors and administration who believe they are working for you, to consider college the end all be all explains the inequality seen daily.
    I have peers who are over their heads in college debt and some who could not continue due to finances. It had nothing to do with dedication or hardwork. Many had no choice but to go into the work-force. Many of my bachelor and graduate degree holding peers cannot find work. They simply hold onto the belief that a degree will get them some where. However in the meantime, Sallie Mae and Citibank are calling. They cannot pay or their payments are late due to unemployment. They get bad credit. In 2010, some jobs check credit scores as hiring procedure.
    The point of my rambling is simple. It is far more nuanced and complex than setting up a one-dimensional binary and arguing your point.
    Rhonda
    I had hell in undergrad with professors who never understood that I need my full-time job at a small management company and my part-time job as a waitress. I had immigrant parents. I had no choice.

  • What you speak of is the luxury of choice. I forgot to mention that part because I just noticed the cartoon that accompanied the article. "…decided to work at McDonalds" is a statement that can only be made by someone who knew of no one who had no choice but to prematurely enter the workforce due to survival and necessity. .

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