I was doing up my CV in the weekend. Looking at the approach I had proposed in the post "Being Interesting".
Anyway, it turns out, I'm not educated. My section on education looks really pathetic. I'm not qualified. I have a few tertiary papers that I passed (a couple of those being high school equivalents) but none of it adds up to a qualification.
But does that really mean I'm not educated? I'd like to think I'm very well educated.
I'm fairly studious though have problems when I'm not that interested. I've got a fairly good reputation for my Linux knowledge. Before I got into Linux, I was fairly well regarded for my programming abilities (in an informal setting at least). I have a blog which, even when I'm talking about objectifying, I'm talking about the skewing of statistics based upon certain attributes. At times in the workplace I've been pushed to take more control and authority over situations that I wouldn't have thought myself ideal - things like business processes and the like. I read - admittedly probably more fiction than non-fiction - but I still read. I'm opinionated and I would like to think that I can back up those opinions with something verging on justifications.
Do I object to education? Of course not. I've been working to get into the education sector. First with POINTS (Promoters of Open INformation and Technology in Schools) and then with OLPC and Manaiakalani. I wouldn't spend quite so much time reading if it wasn't for my love of education.
So what went wrong? I went to tech. I didn't finish anything. I got bored. Bored bored bored. I wasn't challenged or the papers failed to engage me. My age played a factor in this I'm sure. I hadn't had the experience to realise the applications of those business papers I so disliked (though really... what is "business context" meant to mean?!?). I was treated as my age.
So would I go back? Hell no. I can just imagine my frustration at doing some computer course only to find myself not challenged again. Would I stick to it? Just for something to put on my CV? Not likely.
Yes. I'm being a little bit of a drama queen. What I'm really alluding to here is the fact that there seems to be a serious flaw with the way we think about education. Does it all have to be formalised? Is education a goal unto itself or is the goal the piece of paper that says "according to our probably flawed tests, this person has passed". It doesn't say anything about competency in most cases. It says nothing of attitude. Perhaps a little something about aptitude.
I was questioned today about the claim that perhaps I had put things around the wrong way. A qualification may tell you something about attitude rather than aptitude. I stand by what I wrote originally. The reason being, I don't really think it says all that much about attitude really. Because of this attitude to qualifications and formalised learning, we may be pressured into gaining a qualification or we may be coasting or we really do see a qualification as something valuable. The ability to stick to something that is quite potentially boring and probably hasn't challenged you or pushed you says to me that either you were challenged and pushed and thus didn't face that boredom, thus you have a low aptitude, or you're quite willing to coast along and just do what you need to do to get something for your CV thus you're never really going to reach your full potential and thus have an artificially lowered aptitude. Sorry to all those out there with qualifications who are offended by this. You can be fairly certain that I am just over compensating for my lack of qualifications by implying that a qualification may actually be a negative thing.
A friend of mine quite often says "We're all learners". He works with primary school children so letting the kids know that we're learning too is generally a good thing to do. You go to university or tech and you start learning. And then a few years later, it's declared that you've learnt and you get your piece of paper. Is that it? Do you stop learning? Do you stop getting an education?
This has all the hallmarks of a trip to me (and no, I don't mean drugs). It's the journey, not the destination that's important. So why do we place so much emphasis on the destination?
So the question still remains: What do I write in my CV under education? A single word seems almost right to me. "Yes."