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Is There Life after Flunking out of College?

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arydberg
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Summary:: A link I posted on my life experience.

Here. it is.

Al

Before I even start let me state I was never a marks oriented student. I did what I needed to get by. This philosophy got me through High School and into my local state collage way back in 1959. I always felt learning was one thing and marks were another. This was my first miscalculation. Marks are everything learning is entirely dispensable.


To me people looking for marks had no problem in forgetting what they had learned two days after the test. I however had a distorted faith that the system would stand me in good stead if I focused on learning. That was a major mistake number two..

So in September of 1959 I found myself starring down at an endless row of blue beanies stretched all the way down the hill to Kenny Gymnasium. It was the opening convocation of 1959 and as a freshman studying electrical engineering at the University of Rhode Island. I began to question if this was really a good school for me. Even then I felt alienated by the attitudes around me.

In those years there really was only one choice and the University of Rhode Island was it.

I found studying difficult but managed to complete the first semester and almost made the deans list except for flunking English. Spelling was impossible for me so I would modify my writing to use only those words I could spell. This of course was a disaster.

Anyway the English class was repeated I joined a theater group and forgot about the deans list. Electrical engineering was OK but in a foolish action I switched to Physics.


In retrospect if someone had talked to me about the switch perhaps I would have reconsidered it but talking to students was not a URI strong point. I did have a "advisor" but our dialog was limited to "where do I sign". I was on my own and after having a good physics teacher in high school I assumed the teachers in collage would be better. This was major mistake number 3. In fact no one at URI could measure up to my high school teacher but as this fact became clear I felt stuck in physics.

My marks dropped. My teachers seemed more interested in getting my spelling right than in understanding physics. I remember one lab session where we were trying to take pictures of water waves traveling in a tank. I added a transformer to allow the oscillator to put more energy in a wire suspended between two magnet poles. The pictures got much better but when it was graded the professor gave me a D. Then added a note "Good pictures though".

Major mistake number four was not considering the fact that being in Physics I would need to take German. I had no use for languages. What I really wanted to do was to understand science but this was beyond the purview of URI. URI never taught understanding.

German at URI became a huge insurmountable problem. The German teachers seemed to come right out of the gestapo. I flunked German twice.

And then there was physical chemistry. I had a issue with Professor Parks because he gave the same exams year after year and the fraternity could save them in their files. My answer was to walk into one of my exams and simply write down the answers from last years exam. Nothing else, no calculations. I got a B on that exam but an F for the final mark in spite of having passing grades.

ROTC was more of the the same. I thought the class started when I arrived in the classroom and tended to carry my rifle like a suitcase. It was easier (or so I thought). Here again in spite of passing grades I received an F.

Years later at City College I read an article about a journalism major who interviewed an Army general. At one point in the interview the student told the general that "he was not one of his Enlistees that can be ordered about" Within 6 months that student was out of collage, drafted and stationed in Vietnam.

Even in astronomy where my 19 year old brain could not quite accept being taught by a professor in his late 90's. It just did not work. Another F.

In summary to my way of thinking there was no way in hell that anyone would pay me anything for what passed as an education as peddled by URI.

Finally after suffering for 4 years at URI I got a letter in the mail. While my classmates were graduating I had flunked out. I had always assumed that if the situation was really bad someone would talk to me. This was major mistake number five. URI did not talk to students.

What I did not know was how the system worked. Other students who had also flunked out had an secret weapon. This was a parent with a college degree. These parents simply sat down with the professors and negotiated an incomplete for the mark and an extended summer session report that the student could complete to pull his mark up. Me with an immigrant for a a mother and a father who died when I was 16 there was no sitting down with a professor.

1963 was really a bad year to flunk out as it put me in the front line of the draft for the Vietnam war. My fellow students with degrees were officer material.

As it turned out it was an operation I had on my knee that made the medics rate me as a 1Y which meant I was not to be chosen if more able people were available. Being able to walk was a big thing to the Army.

My next step was to decide to go to California. I was used to hitchhiking as I never had any money so I set out one morning heading west. It took about a week but i eventuality would up renting a room in Berkley CA. I spent the summer there and met a Harvard student who was auditing an advanced calculus class. This to me seemed like a tremendous waste of money and when I asked him about it he responded that when he returned to Harvard in the fall he would take the class for real. His summer exposure would put him ahead of all the other students.

Well the summer ended, My room went back to the original renter and I found lodging with a group of guys working at Stamford. They even gave me a free car. I became a shipping clerk at $1.50 an hour but it turned out the car used a tremendous amount of gas. I was not able to eat, pay rent and put gas in the car. That was when I asked for a raise. "How much do you want" the suit asked me. "$1.55 an hour" I said. "Well maybe you should leave now he said". "OK" I answered and walked out into the mild February weather of Mountain View California and returned to the east coast.

Living in Rhode Island was impossible and after a little encouragement by my NYC friends I packed what I had and moved to the big Apple.

This is where I began to put my life together. With the help of friends I tried therapy, Got a job, and was able to live without a gas guzzling car.

I began taking classes at City College and before long had enough credits to graduate....except German. I needed one year of German. So out of a job like an ass I left NYC moved with my girlfriend to Kingston, RI and registered for 1 semester of German at URI. Major mistake number six became clear when the professor showed up on the first day of class to announce he had forgotten to order books for the class. We would be taking the class without books! I dropped the class, got a job for the summer and moved back to NYC in the fall.

My degree was mailed out after completing two semesters of German at City College. It came 5 years after my supposed graduation date of 1963.

After my endless string of mistakes taking courses at City College was a breath of fresh air. They actually taught. They had professors I could respect. My German professor was a native German who really tried to teach German. It was a day and night experience.

On the other hand the world is a strange place. When i was in High school I met a student named John. John did what I should have done, entered URI, majored in Electrical Engineering, Graduated on time, Went on to work in Groton, CT for electric boat and died at the age of 65. I have spent time in the Groton New London area and was always amazed at the pollution there. Between Dow Chemical, EB, Pfizer and three nuclear plants it is a very unhealthy place. As I write this John has been dead 13 years.

So what should I have done different. Should I as said be true to yourself or stuff it an conform to the system. I have no idea.
 
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  • #2
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There is no right or wrong solution as to how to live your life. Clearly, being alive, showing some compassion to others and enjoying the journey is what really matters.

Often you find driven people accomplish a lot but seldom enjoy their lives as others do. Yet, others live their lives selfishly causing great harm with their insensitivity to folks and taking pleasure in the pain they cause.

With respect to students, a great misconception is that teachers must teach you the material and that when that happens successfully you will get 100's on every test. The reality is that teachers are merely guides some better than others but that in the end you must take charge of your learning and drive yourself to success. You must become adept at reading the cues dropped in class to know what to study and so pass the test.

I can't speak to your situation in particular but I know its tough to break out of the view of the teacher being a teacher and not a guide. Its also true that your parents can be role models and guides to help you succeed as well and without that you will struggle more than others.
 
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  • #3
symbolipoint
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Your post #1 is too long to make good sense from. You finally earned a degree in something but you did not say in what nor what work you found with it.

Some young people need a great amount of lengthy guidance for picking a major field to study. Some young people, for many years, must actually be decisive and push themselves for self discipline to CHOOSE something and STUDY it with dedication until finished.

Part of what to choose is, a person must identify his interests. Others often can not do this for one. They might sometimes help, but the person himself needs to be able to do it.

Difficult to say what you should have done differently. (1) You need to know your interests. (2) People of several different levels need to be acquainted with you. (3) when you put 1 and 2 together, stuff happens but may still depend on effort.

(5/27/2020 edited for spelling of o.p. name)
 
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jack action
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This was my first miscalculation. Marks are everything learning is entirely dispensable.

[...]

I however had a distorted faith that the system would stand me in good stead if I focused on learning. That was a major mistake number two..

[...]

What I did not know was how the system worked.
I have a similar bitter aftertaste. I went to university to learn, but I also had the marks. But it didn't help me much as I failed at making friends and contacts.

On the first day, the dean gave us a speech in an auditorium to welcome us. I was expecting a «Be the best you can be» kind of speech, but I was shocked by hearing him telling us: «Look at the person sitting besides you. Be nice to that person, because that person may become the next Bill Gates.» The first thought that came to my mind was «What an odd thing to say. I came here to better myself and hopefully becoming the best, not to hang out with the ones who will.» Sadly, he was right. If you want to succeed (socially), you need contacts; and nothing else. Interests and marks can help, but they are dispensable.

Personally, I'm still proud of the decisions I made in life and I'm proud of who I became, but it came at a price: unhappiness, loneliness & being a social misfit. I live the best life that I can under the circumstances, but certainly not the one that I wanted and that is a fail for me. Though, I'm more deceived in the choices others made for themselves than in the ones I made for myself.
I was on my own and after having a good physics teacher in high school I assumed the teachers in collage would be better. This was major mistake number 3.
I also had an excellent teacher in college before going to university (around here, we go to high school, then college, then university). He was extremely demanding of his students and everybody thought he was crazy. I used to think it too, until I understood that he was not trying to torture us for fun, but he truly believed that we could do better. He helped me see what I could really achieved and have confidence in my abilities. I thought that all university professors would be like him. So much, that I even took one course less per semester the first year to be able to perform well while doing my other projects as well. Mistake number 3 indeed. We had to write an evaluation for the professor after each class, and most of the time I was writing: «Not teaching at university level.» Until I figured out that they were all like that. Starting the 2nd year, I took one extra class - compared to the curriculum - to go faster. At one point, I was even going to some classes without registering to them, just to learn the material without having to do the homework and take the exams. I just wanted to learn the stuff, not waste my time proving to others that I learned it.
So what should I have done different. Should I as said be true to yourself or stuff it an conform to the system. I have no idea.
For me, I really don't see what I could have done differently. I can't believe that conforming to the system would have made me happier than being true to myself; even if I consider myself unhappy doing so. I've met 'successful' people and I don't envy them, even if they say they're happy (though, they rarely convince me of that fact). Because they usually have a definition of happiness that I consider weird and that would certainly not work for me.
 
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  • #5
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@arydberg you've taken the words out of my mouth.

I also used to think everyone here is about to learn for the shere intereset in learning, but not true at all most only watn the big money and nothing else matters.

That's how academy works, it's a competition for wealth as everything which is corrupted in humans.
 
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I also used to think everyone here is about to learn for the shere intereset in learning, but not true at all most only watn the big money and nothing else matters.
This is a naïve view. It's not an either/or proposition between the sheer interest in learning on the one hand, and wanting to learn a skill that is valued in the marketplace. If you're wealthy as a result of an inheritance, you can afford to study some arcane field such as Mesopotamian languages (for example), but without the luxury of inherited wealth, you won't find a lot of call for such expertise in the real world.

Back when I was in college, I had friends who were studying art, history, or other disciplines in the arts or humanities. I decided I wanted to study mathematics, because 1) most people thought it was too difficult, which would result in less competition for the jobs available, and 2) because I did well at it and enjoyed it.
That's how academy works, it's a competition for wealth as everything which is corrupted in humans.
Again, a very naïve and idealistic view, IMO. For many years, the colleges and universities in my country, the US, have been churning out graduates with degrees that qualify them for jobs as baristas, if that. Obviously, they weren't interested in competing for wealth, but they probably didn't realize that when they were studying Medieval Dance Theory.
 
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@arydberg you've taken the words out of my mouth.

I also used to think everyone here is about to learn for the shere intereset in learning, but not true at all most only watn the big money and nothing else matters.

That's how academy works, it's a competition for wealth as everything which is corrupted in humans.
And comptetition is by no means fair, partiality is inherent in nature.

But despite of all these I find some people are living a very positive and exemplary life, just learning to live like you @jedishrfu . But the most important thing is that those exemplary people don't ask you to worship them, they want you to learn from them and find your own way instead of following them.
 
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  • #9
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There is a lot of frustrated idealism in this thread. Even in the pursuit of pure learning, you have to eat and be sheltered. Who is going to pay for it? If you don't have your own funds, then what is your claim on the resources of others? If the response is that people should value such pursuits enough to fund them, then, lo and behold, you need to "network" and convince them.

With respect to grades, they are simply a proxy for some combination of aptitude and skill. On resumes, grades relevance is inversely proportional to the amount of experience you have outside of school. If you learned all the material perfectly in every class you ever took, received no grades, and apply for a job that requires, at best, skills which are only tangentially related to your courses, then how is an employer supposed to efficiently consider applications without needing to interview every single person?

I sympathize with a lot of the frustration expressed in this thread, but I don't sympathize with building a life story around the world not being perfect in the way you wish it were.
 
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  • #11
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And comptetition is by no means fair, partiality is inherent in nature.
Life is unfair. Some people are intelligent and some aren't. Some can run faster and some can't, but such is life. My professors were always partial to students who had learned more. Unfairness in my view would be giving different grades for the same work. IMO a professor as unfair if he or she gives the same grade to all students, whether or not they had done the work and learned the material.
But the most important thing is that those exemplary people don't ask you to worship them,
None of my college professors asked me to worship them. And in the 25 years I've been teaching, I never asked people to worship me, and I don't mind if they call me by my first name.
Even in the pursuit of pure learning, you have to eat and be sheltered. Who is going to pay for it? If you don't have your own funds, then what is your claim on the resources of others?
This was exactly my point.
With respect to grades, they are simply a proxy for some combination of aptitude and skill.
Yes, indeed.
 
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  • #12
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None of my college professors asked me to worship them. And in the 25 years I've been teaching, I never asked people to worship me, and I don't mind if they call me by my first name.
:rolleyes: I didn't mention you or your professors, I just requoted what Jedishrfu once taught me.
 
  • #13
jack action
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IMO a professor as unfair if he or she gives the same grade to all students, whether or not they had done the work and learned the material.
Agreed. But it is not necessarily the teacher that is unfair, it's the whole system behind the teacher.

What does a teacher do when he gives a low grade to a low quality work and the student wants to fight it? The teacher will have to fight back. Some students can be pretty strong in the argumentative department or have contacts who can be. I personally witnessed such argumentation of a student who admitted cheating and still won against the teacher who wanted to blame him and had zero consequences for his action. How many fights will a teacher get involved in before he decides to give the same grade to everyone? Will he put his job or his mental health on the line for the principle?

Oh yes, there is that darn"you have to eat and be sheltered" philosophy that comes into play - from everybody, at every level: The school needs the student to survive, the teacher needs the school to survive, the student needs the grade to survive. But that excuse is usually used by people who are afraid to loose their wealth or social status (not basic food & shelter). And when people hang on to this excuse to lower the standards, all hell breaks loose.

Nobody does Math, Physics, History, Biology, or build a phone or an airplane to "eat" or "find shelter". It's been done for centuries - heck, millennia - before without any of those things. After you have eaten and found shelter, you should get interested in these things just for the fun of it. Just like you sing a song for the fun of it. If you have no interest in it, then don't do it. Any other reason - especially the 'eat & find shelter' one - is somehow about someone getting richer at the expense of someone else.
 
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  • #14
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Oh yes, there is that darn"you have to eat and be sheltered" philosophy that comes into play - from everybody, at every level: The school needs the student to survive, the teacher needs the school to survive, the student needs the grade to survive. But that excuse is usually used by people who are afraid to loose their wealth or social status (not basic food & shelter). And when people hang on to this excuse to lower the standards, all hell breaks loose.

Nobody does Math, Physics, History, Biology, or build a phone or an airplane to "eat" or "find shelter". It's been done for centuries - heck, millennia - before without any of those things. After you have eaten and found shelter, you should get interested in these things just for the fun of it. Just like you sing a song for the fun of it. If you have no interest in it, then don't do it. Any other reason - especially the 'eat & find shelter' one - is somehow about someone getting richer at the expense of someone else.
I hope I didn't give the impression that I was using a person's need for food and shelter to rationalize lowering standards. I only used it to show that even if your goal is to learn for learning's sake you still need resources that are not going to appear out of nowhere. You will have to network and apply for grants to convince others that you should get those resources. Or you could just pray that one day some rich benefactor will send you an unsolicited check, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
 
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  • #15
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What does a teacher do when he gives a low grade to a low quality work and the student wants to fight it? The teacher will have to fight back. Some students can be pretty strong in the argumentative department or have contacts who can be. I personally witnessed such argumentation of a student who admitted cheating and still won against the teacher who wanted to blame him and had zero consequences for his action.
I think you missed my point about what was fair and what wasn't. In your example, if the teacher has evidence that a student cheated, including by that student's own admission, this has little to do with what I was talking about. In this case, the teacher should be backed up by his or her administration. Unfortunately, there are way too many administrators who are cowardly, and give in to outside pressure because they lack a backbone.
Oh yes, there is that darn"you have to eat and be sheltered" philosophy that comes into play
Nobody does Math, Physics, History, Biology, or build a phone or an airplane to "eat" or "find shelter".
I think you might have missed my point here, as well. What I was talking about was deciding on a course of study as the start of a career, one that would put food on the table and a roof overhead. This was as opposed to "following one's dream" toward a degree for which one is unemployable except as, say, a barista.

jack action said:
It's been done for centuries - heck, millennia - before without any of those things. After you have eaten and found shelter, you should get interested in these things just for the fun of it. Just like you sing a song for the fun of it. If you have no interest in it, then don't do it. Any other reason - especially the 'eat & find shelter' one - is somehow about someone getting richer at the expense of someone else.
In the best of all possible worlds, the college major you decide on is one that satisfies your intellectual curiosity, and is one for which you can find a job.
 
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  • #16
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Before I even start let me state I was never a marks oriented student. I did what I needed to get by. This philosophy got me through High School and into my local state collage way back in 1959. I always felt learning was one thing and marks were another. This was my first miscalculation. Marks are everything learning is entirely dispensable.
My teachers seemed more interested in getting my spelling right than in understanding physics. I remember one lab session where we were trying to take pictures of water waves traveling in a tank. I added a transformer to allow the oscillator to put more energy in a wire suspended between two magnet poles. The pictures got much better but when it was graded the professor gave me a D. Then added a note "Good pictures though".
ROTC was more of the the same. I thought the class started when I arrived in the classroom and tended to carry my rifle like a suitcase. It was easier (or so I thought). Here again in spite of passing grades I received an F.
Even in astronomy where my 19 year old brain could not quite accept being taught by a professor in his late 90's. It just did not work. Another F.
Hmm... Your chief complaint here seems to be that you did some of the things well, but still failed or received poor marks, presumably because you did other things not so well. Correct?

So what should I have done different. Should I as said be true to yourself or stuff it an conform to the system. I have no idea.
We can't answer that. And if your idea of college and university is to "stuff it and conform to the system" then I don't know what to say. Higher education is not for everyone.
 
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  • #17
jack action
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In this case, the teacher should be backed up by his or her administration. Unfortunately, there are way too many administrators who are cowardly, and give in to outside pressure because they lack a backbone.
That was my point. But, often things don't get to the administration level: the teacher doesn't even have the backbone to go through the process. I'm not really condemning the teacher (or even the administrators) per say, the way the system is build puts enormous pressure on everyone.
I think you might have missed my point here, as well. What I was talking about was deciding on a course of study as the start of a career, one that would put food on the table and a roof overhead.
I think you have missed my point as well. I think you think some diplomas are worth more than others. I don't share that view. Because you need an engineering or medical degree to put food on the table as much as you need a degree in fine arts or in astronomy; i.e. the work you do with that degree has little to do with the basic needs of any living being.

Sadly the former gives almost instantly a high-paying job and that steers people in those domains for the wrong reasons. Those high prices are the result of the elitism system we live in where we restrict the offers by dividing people in two groups: those who can (very few) and those who can't. All of this is maintained by making it difficult to access knowledge and by forbidding people of doing certain labors. And this is where having contacts become essential. If you have no contacts, it is almost impossible to get into the elite, no matter what are your aptitudes . And if you only have contacts, you can often get into the elite without having the proper aptitudes.

This is when the work, somehow, is all about someone getting richer at the expense of someone else.
 
  • #18
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"Is there life after flunking out of college"?


That was my point. But, often things don't get to the administration level: the teacher doesn't even have the backbone to go through the process. I'm not really condemning the teacher (or even the administrators) per say, the way the system is build puts enormous pressure on everyone.

I think you have missed my point as well. I think you think some diplomas are worth more than others. I don't share that view. Because you need an engineering or medical degree to put food on the table as much as you need a degree in fine arts or in astronomy; i.e. the work you do with that degree has little to do with the basic needs of any living being.

Sadly the former gives almost instantly a high-paying job and that steers people in those domains for the wrong reasons. Those high prices are the result of the elitism system we live in where we restrict the offers by dividing people in two groups: those who can (very few) and those who can't. All of this is maintained by making it difficult to access knowledge and by forbidding people of doing certain labors. And this is where having contacts become essential. If you have no contacts, it is almost impossible to get into the elite, no matter what are your aptitudes . And if you only have contacts, you can often get into the elite without having the proper aptitudes.

This is when the work, somehow, is all about someone getting richer at the expense of someone else.
I believe that post has a point or more than a point.

Ideally, an elite is very very good at what he does, and would usually also have earned mostly excellent grades in his courses.

Someone wanting to follow a dream for a university or college education, if lacking in some aptitude, needs to be directed to one or both of practical courses to increase his employability, and possibly to VOCATIONAL Training.
 
  • #19
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That was my point. But, often things don't get to the administration level: the teacher doesn't even have the backbone to go through the process. I'm not really condemning the teacher (or even the administrators) per say, the way the system is build puts enormous pressure on everyone.
If the teacher doesn't have the guts to stand his ground against a student who blatantly cheats, you can hardly blame the system.

In your example you cited a teacher who is somehow "forced" to give a student who blatantly cheats a passing grade. I don't know what your background is, or whether you have ever been a teacher. In one of my careers I taught in a very small high school for two years, and then later taught in a community college for 18 years. Following my retirement from my other career, I have been teaching at a couple of community colleges one or two classes a year. The scenario you presented has never happened to me, so my sense is that what you described isn't all that common.
I think you think some diplomas are worth more than others. I don't share that view. Because you need an engineering or medical degree to put food on the table as much as you need a degree in fine arts or in astronomy; i.e. the work you do with that degree has little to do with the basic needs of any living being.
I definitely think some diplomas are worth more than others. That is to say, I believe some degrees are worth less than the paper they're printed on -- for example, any degree in _________ Studies, where you can fill in the blank with any of a number of groups.

I don't understand the point you are trying to make; i.e., "the work you do with that degree has little to do with the basic needs of any living being."
I really don't get your point here.
Sadly the former gives almost instantly a high-paying job and that steers people in those domains for the wrong reasons. Those high prices are the result of the elitism system we live in where we restrict the offers by dividing people in two groups: those who can (very few) and those who can't.
It's certainly reasonable to divide people into these groups for certain vocations. In my first career, I taught mostly mathematics at the freshman and sophomore college level. Many of my students aspired to becoming engineers, for which the prerequisites were a year of calculus and about another year of mathematics beyond that level. Some students were able to do the work, and some weren't. Many of the students at the college wouldn't have been able to do any of this work. Are you saying that anyone should have been able to go into engineering, despite their inability to do any mathematics above the level of arithmetic, if even that?

jack action said:
All of this is maintained by making it difficult to access knowledge and by forbidding people of doing certain labors.
This sounds more like a "guild system," a system that is often promoted by labor unions and organizations to limit the number of cosmetologists, taxi drivers, and other occupations. Are these the elites you're talking about?
jack action said:
And this is where having contacts become essential. If you have no contacts, it is almost impossible to get into the elite, no matter what are your aptitudes . And if you only have contacts, you can often get into the elite without having the proper aptitudes.
That isn't my experience. I taught at the college for 18 years, at a position that I enjoyed, and at which I made a satisfactory amount of money (but by no means got rich). Following that, I went to work for a large software firm, where I stayed until I retired after another 15 years. At neither place did I have any contacts whatsoever, so neither position was the result of a friend or relative or any "elite" putting in a good word for me.
 
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  • #20
jack action
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If the teacher doesn't have the guts to stand his ground against a student who blatantly cheats, you can hardly blame the system.
Fighting the system is hard, because it is big and have a lot of inertia. Think of the problems that face people who are whistle blowers. These are the extreme cases, but they contribute to prevent people from getting involved in smaller problems ... which grow bigger until a whistle blower comes along, often sacrificing himself.

As I'm writing this, we are living such a situation in Canada. Because of COVID-19, the Army went to help in some nursing homes. The living conditions they found were so horrific that they reported it. Luckily, the army is a strong organization itself, so it fears nothing. But it took a crisis to get them. And I can assure you that everyone living here knew about the poor conditions, just not to what extent. It's been making the news for years. The question is how come none of the workers came forward before that (employees & administration)? It's their job, they are trained professionals, they are direct witnesses. But they don't. They can't. The system is too strong and they risk loosing everything. They all have the excuse of "I need food and shelter, I can't loose my job", and most people will have the same excuse if they were in their place. It's the system.

All other big systems work the same way, we all know it. It's the same people with the same mentality. The education system is certainly not an exception.
I don't understand the point you are trying to make; i.e., "the work you do with that degree has little to do with the basic needs of any living being."
I really don't get your point here.
One upon a time there was a guy living his life. He was gathering food and building a shelter for himself and his family. One day, in his leisure time, he look up to the sky and notice that stars were forming the same pattern that he noticed the previous night. He had just created the basis for astronomy that lead the future generations to walk on the moon.

The moral of the story is that nobody needs to know about astronomy to make a living. Because that guy could before he knew anything about it. He didn't look at the sky because he needed to, he did it for the fun of it. There are no ways that this is not true anymore.

I used to work on the production line of a major computer company in the nineties. It always amazed me how there was so much pressure to go faster, to produce more. Why? At that point, most people had a computer and others were able to live without one. But being in those companies, we felt like our life depended on this stuff, like food and shelter. It should be just for fun, an optional addition to our life. Just like the guy looking at the stars in the sky who was working 1000 h/year for survival and the rest was just free time, for fun. And he probably had more fun doing its 'survival' work than most of us do today. So why the need to cut corners and go faster all the time?
Are you saying that anyone should have been able to go into engineering, despite their inability to do any mathematics above the level of arithmetic, if even that?
I don't believe that only a few humans have abilities to do mathematics. Sure, some are better than others, but anyone can do it. Nobody looks at a baby and wonders: «I hope he will be able to walk.» He's a human, all humans can do it, it is expected. Of course, you could convince a baby that he can't. Push him down every time he tries to get up. Tell him how he walks too slow or he doesn't do it properly. Show him people in a wheel chair and tell him «Not everyone can walk, this might be your case.» Then put a law where only people who have the proper credentials can walk. If we were doing this, I'll bet a lot of people would spend their life fearing trying to walk.

Right outside my window, there are plenty of birds and squirrels. I don't really notice that one squirrel or bird has different abilities compared to another one. If one can do it, most likely the other one can too. There is nothing special about someone who can do mathematics.
This sounds more like a "guild system," a system that is often promoted by labor unions and organizations to limit the number of cosmetologists, taxi drivers, and other occupations. Are these the elites you're talking about?
Yes. There the ones spreading ideas saying that only special people can do specific tasks and only those should be allowed to do so. Of course, being special and limited in numbers, requires higher pay. Somehow, everybody wants to be special.

I remember at a certain time, everybody was going into law around here because it was so easy and so profitable. At one point there was many people with a law degree that they fear a price drop. But to be a lawyer, you need to be a member of the Bar, and suddenly the entry exam became a lot harder. Order was restored. But what is so wrong if, in the end, everybody knew its way around the law and could defend himself? Shouldn't that be the objective?
 
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Fighting the system is hard, because it is big and have a lot of inertia.
You've wandered so far from the point I made, about a teacher grading students fairly, that I had to refresh my memory on what it was I said.
Your point was that sometimes a teacher will give a passing grade to a student who is an admitted cheat, because of the "system." What you blamed on the "system" in the example you gave was really a lack of spine on the part of the teacher. That's not the system.
One upon a time there was a guy living his life. He was gathering food and building a shelter for himself and his family. One day, in his leisure time, he look up to the sky and notice that stars were forming the same pattern that he noticed the previous night. He had just created the basis for astronomy that lead the future generations to walk on the moon.
Well, hardly. People have been looking at the stars for hundreds of thousands of years. No one would have gotten to the moon without the work of engineers, physicists, and mathematicians.
jack action said:
The moral of the story is that nobody needs to know about astronomy to make a living. Because that guy could before he knew anything about it. He didn't look at the sky because he needed to, he did it for the fun of it. There are no ways that this is not true anymore.
I suppose you could tell this to the astronomers who work at the Keck Observatory and other observatories around the world. They might have started off with stargazing for the fun of it, but they were able to turn their hobby into a vocation that earned them a living.
I used to work on the production line of a major computer company in the nineties. It always amazed me how there was so much pressure to go faster, to produce more. Why? At that point, most people had a computer and others were able to live without one.
I think you don't understand the basic purpose of a company, which is to make a profit. If, as you say, most people had a computer, and others were able to live without one, was your company able to sell more computers? If so, they were satisfying a demand for new computers.
jack action said:
But being in those companies, we felt like our life depended on this stuff, like food and shelter.
And didn't it? If you lost that job, because no one needed the computers you were making, you would either have to find another job or else go hungry and be unable to pay your rent or mortgage.

I don't believe that only a few humans have abilities to do mathematics. Sure, some are better than others, but anyone can do it.
You really believe that? As someone who has taught mathematics at the college level for 20+ years, I can attest that this isn't true. I'm not even certain that everyone can learn arithmetic, at least to the level of being able to do long division.
jack action said:
Nobody looks at a baby and wonders: «I hope he will be able to walk.» He's a human, all humans can do it, it is expected. Of course, you could convince a baby that he can't. Push him down every time he tries to get up. Tell him how he walks too slow or he doesn't do it properly. Show him people in a wheel chair and tell him «Not everyone can walk, this might be your case.» Then put a law where only people who have the proper credentials can walk. If we were doing this, I'll bet a lot of people would spend their life fearing trying to walk.
Yeah, because of the unfair "system." Boo hoo.
Right outside my window, there are plenty of birds and squirrels. I don't really notice that one squirrel or bird has different abilities compared to another one. If one can do it, most likely the other one can too. There is nothing special about someone who can do mathematics.
The ones who lack certain abilities get eaten...
 
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You really believe that? As someone who has taught mathematics at the college level for 20+ years, I can attest that this isn't true. I'm not even certain that everyone can learn arithmetic, at least to the level of being able to do long division.
On this, I'm with @jack action and strongly disagree with you (perhaps because we're both Canadian -- although I believe @jack action is from Quebec, and thus from a distinct culture different from mine).

Your perspective on this is coloured by your experience teaching mathematics at the college level, a level by which many students have developed habits from childhood and adolescence that may hinder their ability to learn mathematics.

If you take a young child and give them enough encouragement and effective teaching methods and enough resources, far more people will be able to develop their mathematical skills. So in this case, I feel that @jack action is right.

Yeah, because of the unfair "system." Boo hoo.
The ones who lack certain abilities get eaten...
I think you should carefully reflect on what you're saying above, because it frankly comes across like you have no empathy or compassion toward your fellow human beings.
 
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I think you should carefully reflect on what you're saying above, because it frankly comes across like you have no empathy or compassion toward your fellow human beings.
That’s true, he follows that policy Stat, I’m being victimised by it.
 
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On this, I'm with @jack action and strongly disagree with you....

Your perspective on this is coloured by your experience teaching mathematics at the college level, a level by which many students have developed habits from childhood and adolescence that may hinder their ability to learn mathematics.

If you take a young child and give them enough encouragement and effective teaching methods and enough resources, far more people will be able to develop their mathematical skills. So in this case, I feel that @jack action is right.



I think you should carefully reflect on what you're saying above, because it frankly comes across like you have no empathy or compassion toward your fellow human beings.
, and perhaps Mark44 still expects his students to give an effort and therefore his experience does push his opinion to what it is. If children into adolescence into adult become students of Mathematics (not as major field) and became discouraged and remain so, that is not Mark44's fault. When these students go into university and college enrollment and enter Mathematics courses, THEIR effort is necessary. The teacher (or professor), cannot make it up for them; he can only try to encourage them to give the effort. Maybe Mark44 does this, but his main goal is, review the material in a systematic way and conduct assessment.
 
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, and perhaps Mark44 still expects his students to give an effort and therefore his experience does push his opinion to what it is. If children into adolescence into adult become students of Mathematics (not as major field) and became discouraged and remain so, that is not Mark44's fault. When these students go into university and college enrollment and enter Mathematics courses, THEIR effort is necessary. The teacher (or professor), cannot make it up for them; he can only try to encourage them to give the effort. Maybe Mark44 does this, but his main goal is, review the material in a systematic way and conduct assessment.
Yes it is not his fault, but making statements like
I'm not even certain that everyone can learn arithmetic, at least to the level of being able to do long division.
Will surely make a man loser.

I just want to write an anecdote about Karl F. Gauss. One day he came from school and he was probably a kid of 9 or 10 years, hanaded a letter to his mother and said
“Mother, my teacher has given me this letter and told me to hand over it to you without reading it”.
His mother opened the letter and read it (in her mind, not loud out), after reading it she remain quiet for few minutes. Gauss asked her many times about what was written in the letter, finally she replied
“Your teacher has written that you have far more ability than what the school can offer and develop, so your teacher suggested you to leave the school and work on your own great mind, develop it by your own as no one is able enough to teach you my child”
After that, Gauss became an autodidact and did many charismatic works in Matheamtics. After many years when his mother died, he was just looking for her things, suddenly in her old box he found that same letter and read it, something like this was written in it
“We are sorry Mrs. Gauss but your son Karl F. Gauss is a very stupid kid and we cannot keep him in our school anymore.”
Gauss murmured “It’s my mother who has made me what I am, It’s only because of my mother that I have reached here in my life”.
 
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