First, I want to thank everyone who watched my last video, especially anyone who took the time to respond with a comment. Whether you agree or disagree with my opinion, I always appreciate the willingness to engage in the discussion. I find it very valuable.
Obviously, my channel is still really small on YouTube, but that means that I can engage a bit more with people who comment. And what was really interesting to me about the comments on the last video is what most of the people chose to focus on. If you haven’t seen that video yet, I’ll post a link somewhere so you can check that out. The main claim that I made was that high school students are stressed out because they are under (what I consider to be) an unreasonable amount of pressure to perform.
For the sake of time, I trimmed down any discussion of a solution to that problem to a side note. I said that one solution would be to make college free. Exactly half of the comments took issue with the idea of making college free, and rightly so. Even in that video I pointed out that it would be impossible to make the university experience free for every American citizen… and that any real solution would have to be devised be people smarter than me.
But I do want to clarify that idea a bit more.
Let’s compare adult life to a game of baseball. Please forgive me if the metaphor is a bit clumsy; I’m not really a sportsball guy. Let’s say that hitting a homerun is equivalent to getting a full-ride scholarship into a prestigious university. I was definitely not trying to insinuate that every hit should be considered a homerun… that every American citizen should be allowed the opportunity to attend Harvard or Princeton for free regardless of their capabilities. I think we can all agree that wouldn’t work. That would be a horrible idea for a number of reasons.
What I am implying however, is that the fight to get a chance at bat needs to be considered. The more opportunities we can create for people to take a swing, the more likely our team is to score points.
In my opinion, a more reasonable solution is to create alternative pathways into the workforce. Ways to secure gainful employment that don’t involve a traditional university. Thankfully, these sorts of things do exist, and have for years. Things like auto-mechanic school, plumbing, heating/air condition, and other things like that. I think there is room for that model to be applied to other industries.
For example, in my study to become an English teacher, I shouldn’t need to take 2 semesters of calculus… or macro and micro economics… or intro to biology. I work in an industry that values a certain amount of well-roundedness, but there were several classes that I took that weren’t the best use of my time. I learned the most from spending time the classroom and taking difficult literature classes.
I think the tech industry is starting to lead the way to a solution. It is possible, at least anecdotally speaking, to take an 18-week coding bootcamp… and then get an entry-level position as a computer programmer. And that’s a solution that was driven by market forces… rather than some top-down regulation.
Obviously, some job fields need to remain tied to steep requirements, such as doctors and people who work on rocket ships. Beyond that there is room for a reasonable amount fast-tracking.
But in order for this to work, employers are going to have to shift their thinking as to how to evaluate candidates for entry level positions. If a candidate has taken skill-specific training… that’s likely to be a better indicator of what they know than a college degree. Especially since the relative value of college degree has been eroded by the un-true statement that you HAVE TO HAVE IT.
And if the ultimate goal is to get as many people working and contributing to society as possible, then I think it would be good governance to throw some money at programs like this that help people gain the skills necessary to support themselves with some dignity. And certainly with the rise of automation looming in our future, we are going to need mechanics and engineers and programmers.
And that’s my opinion on that.
Please let me know in the comment section below if that clears up any misunderstanding as to what I meant in my last video.
So that whole thing has me thinking about whether or not a video like this is even part of a fruitful conversation. In the past, I’ve always thought that attempting to engage in polite discourse would always be a net positive. I’d have the opportunity to cultivate my own understanding by sharing ideas, and other people would benefit from whatever small amount of knowledge I might have to offer.
I’m a strong believer in this kind of social learning. I take my ideas and smash them against the ideas of other people… until all of the sharp edges are worn off and I have something that actually works. That actually makes sense.
The tricky part is that the whole process takes place in public… on YouTube. What’s worse is that the 90 videos that I’ve posted before this one are perfect snapshots of an incomplete version of myself. Even this video is me in transition. But, at least in theory, this video is permanent. It will always exist, and therefore will always be espousing some incomplete thought, which is a little unsettling.
But that’s just how this medium works. And I have to take the good with the bad… hopefully learning from all of it. I think that is an important posture for a thinking person to take.
Sometimes, I am right… often I am not. Please do not take the opinions expressed in any of my videos personally if you don’t agree. I will continue to engage the world of thought from a position of humility. I’m listening and learning.
If you’re into that, please give this video a thumbs up. And if you want to see more, please subscribe. I’m going to be posting more frequently on my blog over at mediumq.com… including posting notes for episodes of Medium Quality going forward. Links, as always are in the description below. And while you’re down there, feel free to leave a comment about the topic this episode. As I mentioned before, I find the discussion to be really valuable in building well-considered opinions.
Also, I just really enjoy seeing what other people have to say.
What a time to be alive!