Home > Uncategorized > MSU Rants on AIM, Computer Education & Employment

MSU Rants on AIM, Computer Education & Employment

October 6th, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

Before I start, I’d like to say that I have a long history with Michigan State University. I was a student there for two years, and the vast majority of my immediate family (mother, father, uncles, aunts, grandparents) either went there for school or worked for the university at some point in their lives.

That being said, I find my current thoughts on MSU to be far from what I ever thought they’d be. Not only have they imposed tuition hikes this year that hurt new students (freshman pay more per credit than all other class levels), but they continue to put forth hypocrisy on levels so easy to understand it’s a wonder their enrollments rates aren’t dropping (they’re actually rising year-over-year).

Here is an AIM chat I had with a friend today after reading an article in today’s State News:

[10:36] Me: wow, check this out

[10:36] Me: http://www.statenews.com/article.phtml?pk=32176

[10:38] E: Makes me glad I don’t park out there

[10:38] Me: honestly i think the university’s response is bullshit… let’s wait 8 days to release the information that it even happened, and then say “The students have to step up to the plate to fix the problem”

[10:39] Me: I swear, if i had kids there’s no way in hell I’d send them to MSU

[10:39] Me: i’m so sick of how they run things, and this is just another example

[10:39] E: With all the money that place gets I don’t know why they can’t install a few cameras

[10:39] Me: and I went there for the love of god

[10:39] Me: exactly

[10:39] E: It would cost what, a few thousand initially

[10:40] Me: i’m so sick of listening to them bitch about budget problems, but let’s go ahead and build a $10 million addition to the FOOTBALL stadium while keeping tuition rates at A) record highs, and b) keeping the record rates of raising tuition

[10:40] E: See it’s only a problem if it doesn’t bring in money. If it brings in money they will ignore it

[10:41] Me: Here’s what MSU really is: A place for research scientists to get what they need for free. All they have to do is teach a class here and there.

[10:41] E: I stopped going to MSU again. I just didn’t want to pay another 10k for a degree I would never use practically and to be honest I just didn’t feel up to go to school with a bunch of under age kids

[10:41] Me: I’m serious… I had teachers who openly admitted on the FIRST day of class that they were really here to do research, not deal with us

[10:42] Me: had a psych teacher who kept saying that all freakin’ semester

[10:42] E: I don’t doubt it. I think that is why I don’t respect many college educated people. It’s a front

[10:42] Me: couldn’t agree with you more… i spent two years working on a CompSci degree

[10:42] Me: have I used ANYTHING I learned in there since then?

[10:42] Me: no

[10:43] E: Some college people are smart and have common sense but I think at least 50% of all college students have the common sense that God gave a doorknob and will never be useful

[10:43] Me: and 75% of them are there just because their parents told them to (and that’s not a shot, I was one of them)

[10:44] E: lol

[10:44] E: I wasn’t but I chose a path that didn’t work for me.

A couple clarification points: College educations for computer geeks are a hard subject to discuss and still arrive at any valid conclusions. Many of us got great educations and now have solid, well paying jobs. Some of that same group got a great, expensive education and now they’re paying off their student loans waiting tables instead of hashing code.

I stopped going to MSU for Computer Science after I realized I couldn’t see myself doing anything that I was taking classes for for the rest of my life until retirement. I felt like everyone around me was going through the motions because they were told to, not because they wanted to. I’m sure some of them did, but I didn’t feel like spending two more years in a glorified high school.

So I dropped out of MSU and got a job that dealt with computers. As a supervisor in tech support I did a lot of employment interviews, and there were many MSU grads who we did not hire because they didn’t have any practical experience. And make no mistake, computers are one of the biggest fields for “you can’t just learn it you have to apply it.” The hiring decisions weren’t mine, I was just doing the interviews and going through the questions. I’m sure some of these people went on to get great jobs, but we turned away so many I can’t even try and count them.

I’ve tried explaining this to people my parent’s age and I learned a good lesson: Never try explaining the state of computer geek education and employment to a parent who has a kid taking computer classes. They automatically take my point to mean “you’re wasting your money” and get offended, which is not my point at all. The point is that, as an industry, computer geeks are in a very difficult situation. We can all benefit from taking classes and going to expensive universities, but there is no guarantee we’ll really (and more importantly PRACTICALLY) benefit from the knowledge. I learn more in a single day of browsing my RSS feeds than I ever did in a single lecture. That’s mostly because I tend to absorb information quickly and the prof’s always had to slow it down to make sure everyone in the class was getting it.

Ok I’m done now. This ended up being much longer than I planned.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.