Saturday, April 15, 2006

Academic qualifications are like bikinis

And now for something completely different...(allusion to Monty Python for the uninitiated).

A few posts back, the topic generated a hefty discussion; this one's a little more on the lite side. The title of this post comes from last weeks US News and World Report's editoral. I've been wanting to post this for a week, but have been academically strapped. Mortimer B. Zuckerman (USNWR's Editor-in-chief) wrote this Op-Ed piece and the rest of the simile goes like this:

"Academic qualifications are like bikinis: What they reveal may be less significant that what they conceal."

Alright, I apologize for the PG-13 content, but I wanted to point out the quote for a few reasons.

1) I thought it was pretty funny :-)
2) I think it's true.
3) Many of the people reading this blog are at a season in life in which they are pursuing academic degrees. Such a quote may help us "keep it real" and not take ourselves too seriously. It had that effect on me.
4) The rest of the piece fascinated me. The gist of the editorial is that Harvard's academics are going down the tube. They're becoming a diploma factory and though grads have high GPAs, they're extremely uneducated and dissatisfied.

Let me expand point 4 a little more. First of all, it's comforting to know that even ivy league schools aren't perfect. Second, it's a helpful reminder that a good education is more important than impressive credentials. Too be sure, I don't want to create a false dilemma. That's precisely why I'm setting my sights on Aberdeen. Finally, and totally detatched from the rest of these observations: I can't help but wonder if SOME of what's going on relates to our generation. I am quite dissatisfied with my undergrad education. I previously thought that that that was the fault of my alma mater (did I get it right this time?) or at least my selection of that school. While I have not abandoned that hypothesis entirely, I am somewhat comforted to discover I'm in good company; Harvard's grad's feel the same way. Sure, they still have a degree that will open more doors than mine, but that's beside the point (well, almost). I'm curious if this disatisfaction with one's education has anything to do with our generation and perhaps the impact (even if it's at the subconscious level) of Postmodernism. I don't mean that as a cheap shot at Postmodernism; I tend to view it more positively than many. I'm just wondering if there might be a connection.

Meanwhile, Lord willing, I'll be starting at HSBC in a little over a week in order to fund my incredibly expensive bikini...

1 comment:

Luther's Stein said...

Mihelis, you have a knack for illustrations which turn the stomach!