Duck Apple

Do Universities Matter These Days?

Universities main objective is to provide a deeper understanding of the world around us and how to educate ourselves. Something not everyone can get from textbooks.

Attending a lecture gives you a possibility to ask the Professor questions (not all related directly to the subject at hand) and for him to pass on knowledge not written in mainstream text books.

The day to day peer pressure and help is also a major factor. It motivates you to try harder, study faster and gives you a chance to practice explaining theories and ideas to your fellow students (which is the most effective learning method, you don't understand it unless you can explain it to your grandmother) or just to try figuring out how to make something work which helps creativity and innovation.

Furthermore you can't learn physical sciences from a textbook (at least not chemistry). Most textbooks don't contain a "warning" section, almost everything we know not to do is from our peers or Professors.

In the end the University makes you concentrate on your studies and gives a fun innovative environment which is quite hard to find elsewhere in our society.

I had classes which were so EASY! But I did nothing for them, absolutely nothing. And I wouldn't pass or learn anything from these classes by doing absolutely nothing.

So I forced myself to sometimes go to lecture in order to experience the peer pressure that I was lagging behind and actually *do something*. I passed all these classes with 10 to 20 hours of studying, but that studying was need. And, I did learn something.

Normally my view is more nuanced, but I just get the idea that some people don't go to uni and use its inefficiency as an excuse. That's just lame. For these people, this post is for you.

Let me bring it to you. Universities matter, full stop.

However, what matters way more is your OWN RESPONSIBILITY for studying something.

I see students that don't take a pro-active attitude and frankly they suck and get mediocre jobs at best in most cases. Then I see the inspiring students that take full responsibility of their own learning process and virtually don't expect the university to do anything for them. These guys are always having amazing CV's and are owning life in general.

The attitude that most of these guys & girls have who are pro-active is that the university gives them an inspiration or hint of where to go and where to look for. And sometimes even meet amazing people.

I still say universities matter, but if you don't take full responsibility of your own learning process, then they don't matter that much. The only reason why the university that I'm on is worthwhile is because I'm doing a lot of things and activities besides it.

They help me to:
1) Gain insight in programming and entrepreneurship
2) Gain insight in the students body (their talent), solidified understanding in their subjects and the PhD/professor world and learn a thing or two of how it is to be on the other side
3) Train my presentation skills
4) Gain a solidified understanding in the basics

If I'd 'just do CS', it would suck. This is despite my opinion that it's quite a good study program that I couldn't have done without university. Some concepts are really hard and people need to simplify it for me because textbooks don't do that.

But without the synergy, it wouldn't be worthwhile enough, it's the synergy that brings a lot of added value my way.

I don't think universities ALWAYS matter, but they matter in a lot more cases than that people think. As long as they take full responsibility of their own outcomes.

Here's how you can decide whether it matters for you.
- Take 2 months off.
In these 2 months ask yourself: am I pro-actively learning a lot?

If the answer is yes, then great, you may not need university.

If your answer is no, then go to university (or use some other form of peer pressure) and transform your learning habits while you're at it.