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Sunday, October 23, 2005

A student in my sociology course (I think I've quoted her before on this blog - I doubt more than one student in my class has been to Cambodia) posted the following last Thursday:
During my time in Cambodia (one of the most poverty stricken countries in the world) I learned that just because you earned a college education didn't gaurantee you a job. Many young people would come to the capital city, go to colleg for two or three years, and after graduating they still wouldn't be able to find a job as hard as they tried. There just wasn't the need. Many of the students would then end up going back to their province to live with their families without fulfilling the dream of attaining something better. It weemed like an endless cycle.

Oh, heavens! Those poor Cambodians! Thank goodness we live in the USA where college degrees are always put to good use. Can you imagine the horror of going to a city to get a degree but ending up afterwards in the backwater rural area where you grew up!!?! Praise God Americans - particularly Central Pennsylvanians - don't face this problem.

Of course, I was compelled to write a snarky reply.
Regarding your experience in Cambodia: that's not exactly far off from the situation in the USA, is it? At first, I couldn't even tell if you were talking about Cambodia or this country. I know plenty of people in Central Pennsylvania who went to college in Philadelphia or Pittsburg and found their degree pretty much worthless when they graduated. They ended up back in Central PA, working unskilled jobs that shouldn't even require a degree.

I was shocked when I first arrived in the USA to discover that some advertised receptionist positions require applicants to hold a degree! Personally, I think this is not only a result of a poor job market, but the degradation of the American education system. From what I can tell, American high schools have been doing such a poor job of educating students recently that young Americans now require a degree just to be able to write a correct sentence (and even a degree doesn't necessarily guarantee that - I have also come across many degree-holders and even professors who can't seem to grasp basic grammar). As more and more people feel entitled to a degree, universities come under pressure to pass students rather than face failing a large percentage of the student population, and degrees become practically meaningless.

I wonder if our professor will read it. She told me my work was excellant again this week.
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