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University, I Dropped out With Perfect Scores

University, I Dropped out With Perfect Scores

Brendan...About 5 mineducationuniversitycanadaeducation

University: I Dropped out of Computer Science e Degree with Perfect Scores

At the close of the Spring 2022 semester, I chose to exit my final exams without completing them, effectively accepting a zero score. Previously, my academic performance was exemplary and I rarely encountered academic difficulties. My decision to dropout was fueled by deep-seated frustration with a flawed educational system. This post is about why I dropped out.

Declining value of a STEM degree

The rapid shift to online platforms during covid-19 led to a surge in tech opportunities. Platforms like Zoom took off resulting in a trillion dollar tech boom, but as covid restrictions lifted, this demand sharply dropped. Decreasing screen time and slowing demand for tech led to mass layoffs across large companies including FANGG and Canada's major telecom providers. This caused an influx of experienced developers on the market leading to increased competition and a loose job market. At the time of writing this, opportunities in the tech industry are very difficult to obtain without years of experience. Both myself and My peers who have Bachelor's and Masters degrees are struggling to break into the market and most of us are working unskilled jobs, e.g. store clerk, with university debt. It seems as those the degree doesn't matter in a boom economy where big tech will hire anyone and everyone, as well as in a bust economy where big tech doesn't care about your degree. It seems the more valuable asset in today's market is expeirence over education. Though i disagree with this sentiment it has held true throughout the post covid area.

An undergraduate degree may cost as much as 80,000$ and 5 years of your life in Canada and seems to be trending. In comparison alternatives, such as technical certifications, 2 year college degrees, and trade schools, offer qualifications at much lower price point and much quicker tracks. If you do spend the absurd amount of money and time getting a university degree, you need to earn much more than your peers to offset it. Anyone who struggles to get a job immediately out of university will most likely never match a well paid trades person in income. For my personal goals (raise a family, own a house, have a rewarding career, etc), university had a much lower odd of success than I thought. Other career paths such as 2 year technical school, joining the military, or even just directly applying to big tech during boom economy, are/were much better opportunities.

Quality of Education

The quality of instruction at the university I attended was a major concern. For instance, there was a notable incident involving a software engineering professor. This professor rudely berated studentsopen in new window for asking questions, yet struggled with basic Python programming in a course that wasn't even introductory. This quality of education was unfortunately not an outlier as more qualified professors also struggled with lectures and instructing classes.

Overall, the adaptation of universities to modern learning showed a disconnect with modern educational needs. The courses I took, costing around 700$ each, often relied on recycled slides and lackluster lectures (often out of a professor's bedroom on a low end webcam). Meanwhile, online platforms offer high quality interactive education at low price point. University was a far cry from the quality expected at such a high cost.

Disclaimer: The video link is not my video nor am I confirming the university subreddit that video is posted on is the university I am speaking about. I do not believe one institution or one professors is the problem but this is an overarching issue present across all Canadian universities.

Degree integrity

The issue of academic dishonesty is a concern in modern education. At the institution I attended, instances of cheating and exploitation of online resources were rampant. Aside from my antidotal experiences, cheating made multiple national headlines and an answer sharing platform even had a billion dollar IPOopen in new window. Rampant cheating at universities, leaves huge questions about the integrity of university degrees.

In addition to blatant cheating, I had many personal experiences where professors would panderer to other students requests and effectively dumb down assignments and tests to the point minimal effort could easily pass advanced mathematics and computer science courses. For instance, in a software engineering course the learning outcome was to understand and correct memory leaks. I was one of the only students of about 300 to have actually completed a memory leak free software. Students complained that the assignment was too difficult. In response, the professor just hand waived away the whole memory leak aspect of the assignments. That's fine and all but do you really want one of these "software engineers" writing the code that controls airplanes, medical equipment, and other critical infrastructure?

Unfortunately this situation happened multiple times throughput my experience, and I am terrified about society's future with this academic climate as essential roles like Doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc, are going to be people who lack discipline to overcome complex problems.

The housing shortage: university's Do Not Care About Their Students

A critical issue that extends beyond student life and impacts the broader Canadian populace is the alarming trend of housing shortages. In the post-Covid era, Victoria, B.C., experienced a drastic housing shortage, leading to intense competition for living spaces. Victoria, primarily populated by students and tourists, is notably impacted by the decisions of its universities. These institutions, rather than moderating enrollment rates, opted to increase first-year intakes. This decision exacerbated the housing crisis, placing vulnerable students in precarious situations.

I vividly remember attending an open house where an overwhelming number of young people turned up to a small basement suit, causing neighborhood chaos. The scene was surreal, with a mass influx of people disrupting the normally quiet suburb all competing for a stuffy basement.

My personal housing journey was tumultuous. I found myself in a variety of temporary living arrangements, from ridiculous Airbnb accommodations and slumlords to a stint on a sailboat. Eventually, I settled in a somewhat stable location. However, the environment was far from ideal. Throughout this experience I shared living spaces with a diverse set of individuals, including criminals, refugees, drifters, students, and a drug addict, all crammed into small, substandard conditions.Almost every living situation was extremely expensive even for the times.

The university's response, or lack thereof, was disheartening. Their indifference, coupled with assurances that the situation was temporary, did little to address the reality of the circumstances. This neglect was the final straw for me. I made the decisive choice to leave the university and Victoria altogether.

Conclusion

I wrote this because I believe that honest reviews that actually reflect peoples' true beliefs about our current educational system are under represented. In fact, I believe University are constantly being misrepresented by propaganda, graduates desperate to justify their bad decisions, and administration desperate to keep their high salaries and easy jobs. It's time for an honest review: university was a poor experience with bad experience with purely self taught courses that one can easily (and should) study without paying massive toll fees.

My advice to recent high school graduates is to consider their options and find something that aligns with their personal goals. You should prioritize goals such as having a family, gaining wealth, and effecting meaningful change in your community, far before academic goals. If academic accomplishments are something truly meaningful for you, then achieve them without spending massive amounts of money you don't have. Please, do not get a degree and in debt because you do not know what to do with your life.

My advice to society is to validate young peoples' hard work, knowledge, and willingness to take risks, over some flaky degree. Furthermore, In respect to the medical professionals, engineers, lawyers, and other critical roles that require stringent Curriculums, I suggest a standardized testing system open to the public allowing anyone capable of passing peer reviewed standardized tests to practices without the require 4 year degree. Allow educational institutions to compete and lower the price barrier through fair competition, rather than a broken, state-sponsored monopoly.

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