A Modern Educational Phenomenon

Paul Buri, RSA

Paul Burri, RSA

I suspect that many readers of the Put Old on Hold Journal are seniors with adult (or semi-adult) grandchildren as I am. I find myself being continually amazed and frustrated over the way these young people think and act. I don’t know whether I’m stuck in the past with obsolete ideas or whether these young people “just don’t get it.”

Here’s my story.

I have a 25-year-old granddaughter who graduated a local junior college about a year ago with a two-year degree. She has just recently enrolled in a real four-year college. Her goal is to get a Masters’ degree in criminology. More on that later.

My wife and I took her to lunch a few months before she graduated from her junior college. I asked her what she was studying and she said that one of her classes was Criminal Psychology. I’m always interested in learning new things so I asked her what was the name of the textbook she was using. She blithely answered, “Oh we don’t use a text book. The teacher gives us a list of the questions and answers that will be on the next test and we study those.”

A few months later we attended her graduation and were handed a graduation program that listed the graduates’ names among other things. Next to her name were several asterisks and when I looked them up in the front of the program, I was informed that they indicated that she was 1) an honors student and 2) had a straight-A average.


So now she is attending a real college continuing to pursue her goal of getting a Masters’ degree in Criminology. A few months after she started, she visited us for a weekend and I started a conversation with her. I asked her if she enjoyed criminology and to tell me what she liked about it. She replied that, no, she didn’t enjoy criminology and didn’t enjoy any of her classes related to it. When I asked why she didn’t change her major to something that she was interested in – (mentioning that it wouldn’t be very enjoyable having a degree in that subject and then having to work in that field). She answered that it would be too expensive and take too much time to switch majors now. She went on to say that her goal is to continue on to get a Masters degree (in Criminology). She added that she wanted the Masters degree because that pays more than a Bachelors degree.

It is clear to me that my granddaughter thinks that owning a Masters degree is what pays you “the big bucks.” She seems to have no comprehension of the idea that an employee is paid for what they know and how their work benefits the company they are working for. So apparently in her mind, she will get a Masters degree in Criminal Psychology and then go to work for some company that will pay her a great salary to do work that she enjoys in some other field than what she was educated in.

Am I missing something here?

© Copyright Paul Burri June 2017

Paul Burri, is a retired inventor & entrepreneur, writer, columnist, life-long woodworker, photographer and general know-it-all. He may be reached at pburri@west.net

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