Monday, April 20, 2009
Taking The Tuition Leap
After a bachelor's degree and two different masters degrees I like to tell people that "I'm educated far beyond my intelligence". This normally elicits a chuckle upon the realization of the difference between education and intelligence. I chide my wife that I'm "one up" in the degree count, which annoys her to no end since I'm a proud product of a rural public school system and she comes from many years of elite private schooling. Trust me, she's pretty quick to point out the education-intelligence mismatch as well, and I sometimes think that she would tattoo it on my forehead if she could.
In all honesty I do think the link between formal education and intelligence is tenuous. I've meet some people that just barely got out of high school and can intellectually man-handle me with abandon. On the other hand, I've met PhD candidates that didn't know enough (or care) to brush their teeth in the morning. So what does thousands of dollars of formal education buy you? Firstly, I think there's a bit of "right of passage" there. In other words, "That's the route I came up from, so you have to follow". Secondly, I think that it's a measure of commitment to one's chosen vocation. If you're going to drop untold amounts of money and many years of your life on becoming a physician, then most can rest assured that you're serious about medicine. The final argument is, it's better to be safe than sorry. Few have not gotten hired for being over-educated.
So as I stare are my 5-year old's first tuition bill I take heart that he'll at least have a good start. Where he goes from will be influenced by many factors, not the least of which is himself. My wife and I promise to do our part, but in the end I want him to have the tools to be happy in life. It's the intelligent thing to do.