January 11, 2012

Is College REALLY Necessary?!

My entire life it was always assumed that I would go to college. The only matter was, "Which one?"

I decided to get a degree in music on violin and considered a double major in biology to pursue a career in the medical field. After I completed my freshman year, while taking several hard science classes and my required music classes (to fulfill my music scholarship obligations) I nearly pulled my hair out. My grades were good, but it was stressful and my Christian fellowship dwindled. So, I decided to focus on my music degree with a biology minor, then see what happens.

During the last two years of my Bachelor's I considered that I could make music my profession. However after 4 years in a secular university I was unprepared to take a major orchestra audition. I knew I needed more training, but I had no money. Providentially, after $40K spent, I had no debt either.

I took a year off to work and save money while I decided where I would go to further my education. I got info from every music school and conservatory in the US (except Julliard) and then my music minister plugged Southern Seminary into the mix. After visiting two prospective schools with their respective auditions, I prayerfully considered where God was leading me: Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA or The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

I received my Master's in Music, Solo Performance in the Church, on Violin from Southern and finished my program without debt, but very scarily almost living on the street. It cost me about another $20K total. (I didn't know anything about credit or loans at this time.) However after my post-graduate degree, I still felt somewhat unprepared to take an audition for any orchestra, although I was definitely more prepared than before.

After marrying Jeramy and being exposed to the true history about the government (public) school system and how liberal most secular and religious colleges and universities have become, it dawned on me what a waste of time it is while a person is in the prime of their life.

Think about it. The average school student spends a lot of time in history classes learning about all the great leaders of the past who never attended formal schooling and somehow accomplished so much - but we never stop to think that they were home educated then apprenticed into their profession and achieved their goals much quicker, by 20 or 25 years old or while still teenagers. Why don't we do that today?

If I could go back, I would change my entire learning experience. I would not have wasted 4 years going to a secular university and then another 2 years getting a Master's degree. A grand total of $60,000 and 7 of the peak years of my life (18 - 25) were gone and I was still unprepared to take a major orchestra audition.

Instead, if I were 18, I would take 90 minute private lessons twice a week with a very high caliber teacher in a major orchestra, perform in community and other local orchestras while building a network at the same time in the musical field. All the other musical training: sight-singing, music history, music theory, violin pedagogy, piano keyboarding, etc. I would have just read the books and taught myself. I estimate that the cost would have been only half as much money rather than going away to school. If I had pursued this apprenticeship pathway, then at the end of 4 solid years taking the lessons and playing in orchestras - I feel like I would have been adequately prepared to take a major audition at 22 or earlier.

Pursuing an apprenticeship would have saved a lot of money because the only expenses would be the private lessons, any audition fees, and gas. Most local community orchestras are free to participate in. Some college orchestras may let you play without paying for the credit hours too. You'll save money on college admission, room & board, $X per credit hour multiplied by all the courses that don't advance you toward your goal. For example, two years of General Education classes (high school repeated = waste of time), piano keyboarding classes (= waste of time), and elective courses (= waste of time). In addition to all these, there is so much ideology that you will be forced to tolerate that you may completely abhor if you're a believer in Christ (a repeat of all the convoluted worldviews in the government education system = a minefield for Christians = imminent death).

Government schools, colleges and universities are cultivating in their student body a particular worldview not a set of career/professional skills.

However, I must say that given my limited knowledge at every turning point, I felt like I made the best decisions possible. In the providence of God, had I not taken that pathway, I never would have met my husband and had my children. In that sense, God used my poor educational choices to bring about a better circumstance for the present. Sure, if I could go back and change those things, I would - but look at what I would be sacrificing. I'm thankful for my family and I'm content to use my experience to encourage others to choose a less expensive, more direct route to their life's pursuits.

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