Monday, October 17, 2005

Degreed, Trained, or Educated?

I was running yesterday and the tangentiallity of my thinking led me to this topic. It is one which I have given a fair bit of thought and discussion with others. It is also one I have some strong opinions on. First off, my definitions are my own and may not be exactly what others would use to describe the ideas.

I'll start by giving how I define the words and then move forward.

Degreed-- a college degree of some sort
Trained-- taught in a trained separate from the degree not necessarily above or below it
Educated--nothing to do with degrees necessarily, but the basic principal being you know at least a small amount about alot of different things.

I think it is important to first describe trained as not necessarily meaning a vocational training. I am in training right now with my residency. My knowledge in psychiatry will not add a great deal to how educated I am, in my opinion, but I will be trained in a particular area. Just like a welder, a chef, or many other things. Training is great becasue it brings in the paycheck but it doesn't make you educated. For that matter money alone doesn't get you to the highest socio economic class. That is made up of income, education, and respect of your career.

Educated people are usually also degreed and maybe even also trained. Liberal arts schools push being an educated person by giving you a bredth of knowledge. There are a lot of people who get there BS and they are not educated in the least. Let me give you an example how this has played out in my experience. Piccu, Bratch, and I have been around many groups of people who are all educated though don't have a college degree. If you make some reference to big historical moments or people, literature, science, politics, .... these people know what you're talking about. Now, the other end of the spectrum are some of the people I have met while in medical school, so of them were in med school. These are groups of people who all had degrees, but probably didn't know that Ben Franklin was never president, any title to any Robert Frost poem, any of the elements on the periodic table, or any title to any piece of classical music. Now, these are random things and not knowing one or most of them is no big deal if you know other things, but the point I am trying to make is that they were degreed, but not educated.

I have to say that it was during that time, and I have mentioned this to my wife, that I realized how much I took my friends growing up for granted. I am not saying were all geniuses (although I may have been the smartest child alive and not Piccu), but we were pretty smart.

College degrees are important, being trained to get a specific job with more money is good, but it is all a pretty sad state of affairs if you are not educated. Being educated doesn't require more than a library card and more so it is a state of wanting to continue to learn things throughout life and not just to get a check.

I am a pretty driven person, and more than one person has said that I will be hard on my kids if I have children. I don't think so beyond the point of wanting them to be educated. I want that for everyone and realize just like every other aspect of life, people have to take responsibilty for themselves.


lemur_lemur said...

I have mixed feelings about the whole "educated"/"degreed"/"trained" thing. Like My_Merlin77, I am degreed, though not to the level that he is. I'm not sure how much real value the degree has, though, at least in my field. Two years of graduate school basically gave me permission to take my current job. I did learn some things through formal study, but at least 80% of what I need to know, I learned "on the job" as a graduate assistant. This was basically "training", even though I was enrolled in school at the time. In this day and age, being "degreed" is more and more important because employers want to see credentials that they can quantify. But how much this improves things overall is up for debate (apparently). Granted, you learn A LOT in medical school on the way to your degree. But, you also learn a lot through your training; experience certainly contributes to learning. When you put your hand on the stove and burn it when you are young, you learn that "hot" can mean "pain". I'm not writing off degrees completely; at some point soon, I'll need to get another one if I ever want to leave South Carolina (that credential thing again). I'm just saying that training in a non credit-bearing circumstance is important, too.

BRATCH said...

All those degrees don't mean nothin' if you ain't been learned to grill a hamburger.

That's proper western Kentucky slang and a triple negative to boot.

Travis said...

I appreciate your comment about the people you grew up around my_merlin. Not that I'm taking it as a compliment, because I didn't even know you existed until high school, but I feel the same way. I grew up around some people that were absolutely unintelligent, then went to high school with a good group of sensible friends. Bratch included.
I have a degree and in my field it worked out pretty well. I would say a lot of what I use now I learned on the job, but without the building blocks I gained at WKU, it would be jumbled up garbage to me. I learned what to do on the job, I learned to analyze it more in school. So that now I know what to do and why it will work.

What I haven't learned is how to express all of the properly. So if you don't understand what I've just said, rest assured that you're completely sane and I'm the complete opposite.