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Subject:  Re: After the Military.... Date:  6/21/2000  12:48 AM
Author:  frog6 Number:  2875 of 38316

Remember though, that there is a difference between getting a college education and going to college. Anecdotal experience shows me that spending four or five years at a school with the time and freedom to explore new ideas and experiences makes someone vastly different in outlook than coblling together a bunch of classes and credits to add up to BA or BS.


Hmm, you're right, there is a difference between getting an education and going to college, but it's not the one you may think...I'll go your "anecdotal evidence" one better, and throw out some empirical observations...

Youth is definitely wasted on the young, and I can confidently say that my college years (18-22) were nowhere near what I could have made out of them. I would estimate that approximately 97% of my schoolmates were in the same boat (pardon the pun), and the remaining 3% were the really annoying folks who were 38 going on 19 and nobody liked them anyway (unfortunately, they've made their first million by the time they actually were 38, but that's another subject). I would also opine (having recently talked with some old platoon mates who went to a four-year university through EEAP or Seaman-to-Admiral) that a 24 or 25 year old finding him or herself back in the wacky undergraduate environment would not be guaranteed any mind-expanding experiences...well, at least not any academic or social ones.

For me, being back in grad school (in the evenings) during this brief shore duty stop has been a great experience, and I believe I can use it to make some observations about undergrad part-time programs as well. Students in the part-time programs are there because they really want to be there, they have a wealth of experience and diverse backgrounds (as opposed to undergrad full-time, where senior year in high school seems to be terrifyingly similar across the country). The levels of discussion and interaction are far above that of a full-time program of youngsters learning how to be away from home for the first time.

So while a full-time undergrad stint is certainly possible, I agree with prometheuss that often you'll find yourself with a richer academic experience by "cobbling together" those degrees. Of course, time management is the key -- and having completed four pre-requisite courses by correspondence at my last command (usually on transoceanic flights on the way to exercises), I know that it's difficult to balance the academic with the professional sides of your career. But everything is possible, if you want it badly enough.

Best of luck


P.S. God help us if the only way that we can explore new ideas and experiences is to sentence ourselves to four or five years back at school...does that mean that the only true "free thinkers and forward visionaries" are those "professional students" (the 38 year olds who have been working on their PhDs in early Germanic literature for 8 years now)?
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