We Don't Need No (Formal) Education: Social Media and the Edupunk Initiative
Once upon a time, we finished high school, graduated from college, and started a job that supported our families until retirement.
Then we woke up.
And plugged in.
The global financial crisis brought forth the rise of the digital entrepreneur from the ashes of corporate America. However, at the same time, many people chose to return to college and many recent graduates remained in the academic world via grad school in lieu of facing a daunting recession era job hunt.
Historically, this has been a common trend for those waiting out tough economic periods. However, the international community is currently in the longest and most widespread recession on record while the U.S. unemployment rate is at a 26-year-high. To account for inconclusive recovery data, some economists have reported that a “double-dip” recovery will occur, causing recession-like symptoms at the end of the official recession. It looks better that way on paper.
But that’s about the only thing that looks good on paper, including degrees and associated fees. In August, a former student filed suit against New York City’s Monroe College after being unable to find work post graduation. She sued the college for $70,000, the amount of her student loan debt. Although most jobless graduates would not consider going to such extreme measures to recoup what might now classify as damages, student loans are arguably the new form of indentured servitude.
A traditional college degree, be it from a classroom or an online extension program run by an accredited university, is not all that it was once cracked up to be.
No longer can a general degree catapult a graduate into a higher class in society based on the intrinsic value of the degree itself. Likewise, the sheer number of degrees being churned out has diluted their worth to the point where they hold little more value than the high school diploma of yesteryear. Many jobs for which graduates will attempt to enter upon graduation may not even exist at the time in which they enroll.
There is, however, a plausible solution to this problem in the entrepreneurial and social media spirit.Continued on the next page