Is your college degree just a piece of paper?

This Ted talk is quite fascinating and Jullien Gordon raises similar ideas that connect to my big question. I asked “Why do you go to college?” In this Ted talk Gordon challenges us with the same question and explains that a 4.0 isn’t going to guarantee us success in the world.

He compares street smarts vs. book smarts and argues that we need both to navigate this life of uncertainty. I agree having street smarts is just as important as having book smarts.

Our whole life we have been told that higher education is the path to success. In my big question I challenge that higher education is not always the path to success. For example, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates: They did not follow the college path and still became millionaires. As I explained in my previous blog, there are multiple ways in the world to be educated and successful. Steve Jobs was a very educated man and had a strong passion and drive to become successful. In his case, he realized college was not necessary to reach his goal.

Gordon makes the realization that higher education is not leading students to getting hired. He explains this is because we have been told this narrative about easy street. Easy street is list of directions students believe is the easy rout to get them a job. The path to easy street is:

  1. To be good
  2. Get good grades
  3. Go to college
  4. Get a good job

Jullien Gordon does not argue that college is bad. He encourages us to go to college, in fact he went to UCLA and Stanford. Instead of preaching how important it is to get a 4.0 he shares with us how to pave our own path and introduces us to “the 4.0 that really matters.”

All students are being directed down the same road. A college degree is just a piece of paper and its value is determined by what you do with your education between orientation and graduation.