We all know what BS is

When the topic of higher education comes up I often think of a little saying I heard years ago. I don’t know who wrote it, but it goes like this:

We all know what BS is.
MS is more of the same,
and PhD is piled higher and deeper!

If you don’t know what the acronyms stand for, maybe you didn’t go to college. If not, perhaps you should go. Then again — and I know that this sounds like heresy nowadays — maybe you don’t need to go to college.

If you didn’t graduate from college, chances are you are doing just fine — probably no worse than lots of indebted underemployed people who did go. (The average student loan debt for 2012 graduates was over $29,000, and over half are unemployed or underemployed.)

If you did go to college and you know the meaning of the acronyms, you might be offended by that little saying. Probably you think it’s more “wise guy” than wise.

I went to college. I got a BA, not a BS. I considered getting an MBA or a JD, but I was sick of school, and I had a good job opportunity, so I entered the workforce, and I never did (yet) go back to school. My lack of a post-graduate degree hasn’t been a hindrance. Of course, I’ll never know what could have been if I had continued my education.

But one thing I do know. There is some truth to that saying. There are plenty of people with lettered degrees of all sorts that don’t have a clue. I went to school with some of them, chances are you did too. Some never applied themselves. Some coasted. Or cheated. They took easy classes. Got poor grades. Partied all the time. Learned very little. They paid for a diploma, and they might as well have mail-ordered it (which some do).

Then there are those who think that having a college degree — especially a higher degree — makes them authorities on everything. Smarter and better than those who don’t have the same letters after their name.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, MD, appears to be such a person.

Howard Dean had this to say about Republican presidential hopeful Scott Walker: “Were he to become president, [he] would be the first president in many generations who did not have a college degree. He’s never finished…. The issue is how well educated is this guy.”

As if being educated requires a college degree.

In my career field it is common for someone with a “qualifying” college degree to not have any aptitude for the work they went to school for — so common that the company I work for almost considers a degree in my field to be a liability when hiring. Meanwhile, I personally know several people without a college degree who excel in my field.

These people are not rare exceptions. There are countless people who succeed in life (not always measured by monetary success) who didn’t go to or graduate college (or in some cases, high school), or who ended up in a career that had absolutely nothing to do with what they studied in college.

Here’s a short list of some of the most well known (in no particular order, except for the first one, of course):

  • Scott Walker — Current Governor of Wisconsin & possible candidate for POTUS.
  • Abraham Lincoln — Self-taught lawyer, and, in my considered opinion, the greatest President of the United States.
  • Albert Einstein — Scientist.
  • Michael Dell — Founder of Dell Computers.
  • Charles Dickens — Author.
  • Stacey Ferreira — Co-founder of MySocialCloud.com.
  • Steve Jobs — Founder of Apple Computers.
  • Bill Gates — Founder of Microsoft.
  • Oprah Winfrey — Talk Show Host.
  • Jim Carrey — Actor.
  • Jane Austen — Author.
  • Glenn Beck — Talks Show Host, Entrepreneur.
  • Ray Bradbury — Author.
  • James Francis Byrnes — United States Supreme Court Justice, Senator, Governor, Secretary of State.
  • Andrew Carnegie — Industrialist.
  • Thomas Edison — Inventor.
  • Benjamin Franklin — Inventor, Author, Diplomat.

This list doesn’t even scratch the surface. Clearly, the ability to do great things really has nothing to do with whether one has a college degree.

Now, I’m not anti-education. I just believe that a good education can be obtained in a myriad of ways, and that it is truly BS to discount someone’s accomplishments and potential because they lack an expensive piece of paper.

Indeed, we do all know what BS is: the inane comment that Howard Dean spewed about Scott Walker’s “lack” of a college degree.

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