Academic Knowledge is Worthless

Posted by & filed under All Subjects, Asia, Business, East Asia, Europe, International Education, Middle East, North America, Politics, Southeast Asia, United States, Western Europe.

So commonly within the walls of Academia, we are told that it is ‘critical’ to know this, or ‘vital’ to know that. Certainly, there are many important knowledge bases, mental mind sets and complicated techniques useful in every industry obtainable from any academic institution worth its weight. But how much of what we learn is truly useful and is there any point attending higher education?


Around a month ago, a colleague of mine left his workplace to work overseas with his company, upon opening new offices in the region he was made the branch manager and has rapidly accumulated respect among his peers as well as a very nice salary. It’s no secret that he’s very skilled at what he does and that he certainly knows the ins and outs of the role incredibly well, but this all comes after only around a little over a year of working in the company. Furthermore, he’s only twenty.


I, on the other hand, a university graduate with a Bachelor’s degree who studied for three years and accumulated over twenty grand in debts, have yet to see a payoff. Truly, I enjoyed the experience of living a university life, and striving for something always had you emotionally fulfilled. But after stressful piles of coursework, mountains of tattered notes and years of all-nighters (especially the all-weekenders, those were particularly brutal) you begin to question the value of a degree when it can’t help you find a job (as it certainly didn’t seem to give me any bonuses whilst on the doll).

  • Those who work after school rise through work quickly
  • Those who attend Uni tend to end up behind those who didn’t attend Uni
  • Too many graduates in UK and US have flooded the job market and devalued it

Perhaps it’s the rising costs of living in the UK (and by extension, the US) and perhaps it’s just simply that the amount of graduates being churned out of the country’s higher education institutions, but it seems that the qualification of a degree only goes so far and your laurels will only do you so good. I’ve actually found in my three-or-so years in the working world that my strong grasp of the English language and my writing skills have taken me further than my degree has, and my colleague, who never even graduated a college level course and spent more time in the working world instead, is managing a large branch of his company’s offices. Meanwhile, I’m years behind him and, again, have yet to see a payoff for my studies.


But I hear many of you pipe up, “But it’s not about the qualifications!” “It’s about the skills learnt!” “It’s about the academic processes learnt!” and I understand that. But it’s also commonly said that you learn more in a year in the working world than you do throughout twenty years in academic institutions. And to some degree I have to agree.


It’s not about a knowledge base, it’s about a mind-set. Knowing how to address the queries of both clients and candidates on the phone, how to liaise effectively with colleagues, partners and associated companies through email, how reputation and social structure works in the industry and how to handle an irate boss (which is something a university could never teach you how to do, trust me). Among other things, academia paints a very black-and-white world, which might be easier to understand, but upon entering the working world it becomes apparent very quickly that those things are more of a shade of grey and academia’s image is something much more outdated.


If there’s something my entire time in academia taught me, it’s how to stay organized and how to find information effectively. However, a crash course from your local government job-center can teach you organizational skills and RSS feeds find information for you (provided you’ve set up your sources correctly) so it’s not exactly difficult to do. Ultimately, unless you are hoping to become a lecturer or researcher, there isn’t a huge amount of point to entering university, I’d even go so far as to say that unless you’re planning on becoming a school teacher, there’s not a whole lot of point in even attending college. That is unless you’re planning on swearing the Hippocratic Oath.

  • University only good for teaching organizational skills and locating information
  • Job center can teach organizational skills
  • RSS feeds can find information for you
  • No point in going to Uni unless you’re going to pursue an academic career

Of course, this is just university in the west and the associated job market located nearby. Many countries in the Middle East and Asia are undergoing major developments and are looking to hire ONLY graduates. This is where education at a higher level is truly valued and shines through, as this knowledge and the specialists in the industry are minimal and subsequently are in high demand, unlike the west’s flooded job market.


It’s quite incredible actually; Qatar in particular has been making leaps and bounds in its developments and is seeing a huge number of graduates hired and is looking for specialists, especially in construction, mechanical, medical and pharmaceutical industries, among others. This is due to the huge construction works taking place to improve the country’s infrastructure (especially in transportation) as well as the new hospitals and surgeries being built all over the region.


If you’re looking for a teaching position in the Middle East or Asia, now is a good time to be applying as these regions are booming and rapidly expanding. SeekTeachers hires for a range of positions all over the world and provided you have a teaching qualification, are a native speaker of English and a degree, there will very likely be a position somewhere where you can be placed!

  • Middle East and Asia are expanding rapidly
  • These areas respect academic knowledge and reward it
  • SeekTeachers hires for these regions


[Wikipedia: RSS Feeds]
[The Daily Mail: The cost of living in the UK]