Thursday, September 1, 2016

Don't underestimate the younger set

I am reading along in "The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment" by Chris Niebauer, PhD and I come to this:

most of my students would rather have a grade than knowledge,

Niebauer Ph.D., Chris. The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment: How the Left-brain Plays Unending Games of Self-improvement (Kindle Locations 124-125). Outskirts Press, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

I have been hired by the students to plead their case.  

Let's think about Dr. Niebauer, PhD.  It takes a while to get a PhD and it seems that Dr. Niebauer is a faculty member at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.  (Disclosure: Slippery Rock is one of the several schools I traveled to during long boring hours on the team bus, only to suffer defeat on the wrestling mat.  I still bear a grudge. But I stray from my argument.)  So, let's assume that Dr. N is older than the students and let's assume that he enjoyed getting and using his psychology degree. But keep in mind that the students are trying to get a bachelor's degree but that is not the main goal for many.  The main goal may be finding and landing a likely partner for life, a marriage partner.  

As a parent or a fan of humanity, which is likely to matter more, finding the right partner for the next 10, 30 or 50 years or studying psychology's insights?  It could be a toss up.  The insights might increase one's chances of finding or constructing happiness or creating and maintaining a satisfying relationship. But the contents of the "knowledge" may be quite useless.  It may indeed be more profitable to get a passing grade in the psych course while giving lots of thought to the person or people you have met on campus who may be fun to meet again.  My position is that undergraduates should not spend too much time on getting high grades unless doing so is actually fun and uplifting for them.  

It could well be the students have accurate insight into the relative value and future usefulness of the social and dating activities available at Slippery Rock vs. the value of the information to be gleaned from the instructors and texts.  In my opinion, the main reason for not accepting a deal that for the four years' tuition, one could just be handed an official bachelor's degree without further ado is that accepting such a deal would put one in the beginning job market too soon, at a disadvantageous young age.  That is when one hits the Doogie Howser problem of simply looking too young to be accepted as a serious person.

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