Does it mean I am learned after my degree has been conferred on me?

20 Oct

Of late I find myself wrestling with rather odd questions; questions such as “Will I be ready for the real world after I have graduated?”, “Does it mean I am learned after my degree has been conferred on me?”, “Will I able to tender my resignation should I find the environment in which I work unfulfilling?”

Hard work and fun is what life is all about. Wouldn’t you agree? (A picture of Dumirocks)

Of all the students I feel sorry for, are those in my position. As the year draws to a close; for many people that means the preparation for end of year examination is in order, but for graduands the stress is mounting as they prepare for departure to the ‘real world’. Graduands find themselves wrestling with the idea of going to a place of employ or taking a gap-year in the exotic islands of Caribbean. The truth is these people are suffering from nervous conditions at this stage of their lives.

What really bothers most graduands is whether they are ready for the corporate world and the responsibilities that life after college offers. What will I be doing everyday of my life as a graduate and a professional. Many people who walked this path tell me that I am going to spend a better day at the premises of my employer, that sounds fantastic so long as I will grow both personally and professionally.

I did not initially plan to moan and nurse my anxiety concerning my prospects after the rector has given me a tap o the head and conferrers that Bachelor of Commerce. But what worries me is whether the University prepares its student adequately for the world outside college? As much as the health of the bank balance must always be favourable in order to enjoy the luxury of life, I hold a view that suggests that graduates ought to be socially responsible citizens, one which endeavors to critically challenge the status quo.

I wonder how will those charged with managing universities will react when I say that it is the university’s imperative to develop graduates that are highly sought-after, who are multi-faceted, are able to engage openly and think constructively and independently? Universities are academic institutions and as such students main focus must be centred around academics,getting good grades and to a lessor extent downing a glass of beer as I am doing in the picture embedded on this post. However, what benefit does it hold for a society if universities produce students who can simply read, learn and regurgitate information? I believe that university’s goal is to produce graduates that can critically analyse and question what is being shoved to them as established truth.

What does being learned mean? Does holding strings of degree define a learned man? What if he is irresponsible and self-centred with no interest on what is happening around him?

Politicians are quick to pronounce that educated people are needed to serve the needs of the economy (forget that most of these politicians academic credentials is questionable). A good friend of mine (@JustSaySid) holds a view that says we must educate people so as to prepare them to be full participants of democratic processes in this South Africa and that extend to debating a proposed green paper to doing a submission in either houses of parliament. Did I also mention that he wants to work for the Parliament of the Republic? This must be one patriotic chap! I, on the other hand honestly think that education can and should be able to inform people to discern reality from political ramblings, to appreciate life more by giving us the power to read for pleasure, write poetry to the standard of Pablo Neruda, compose music better that Beethoven or try to understand the world better and so on and so forth and stuff like that……

In all seriousness, to me education means development. Personal development and engagement in intellectually-charged conversations that seek to challenge those I interact with on a daily basis. After a number of years I have left this historic centre of learning named Stellenbosch University, I will be glad if I can be defined as learned by the virtue of the traits that I am an agent for social change, a responsible citizen, and individual who think independently, counter-culturally and open-mindedly. Learned I will consider my self…

But that’s enough from me. What do you think it means to be a learned individual?


Posted by on October 20, 2012 in Leadership


Tags: , ,

10 responses to “Does it mean I am learned after my degree has been conferred on me?

  1. fuzefairy

    October 20, 2012 at 9:46 am

    It’s funny been thinking about what happens next as well. To be honest I actually dragged out my studies over more than 3 years so that I when I graduate, its with at least 3 years work experience in my chosen field. I mean we aren’t all as lucky as our president who leads us with a grade 4 under his belt. I also agree with your mate. I believe its time to educate the masses… People need to be able to go to varsity regardless of their socioeconomic situation.

    • Dumi-rocks

      October 25, 2012 at 3:28 am

      Thank you for your contribution.

      I completely concur with you when you say that everybody must be able to attend university regardless of the socio-economic status. Just imagine the impact that would have in our country?

  2. marcfrank

    December 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I absolutely love your blog. I just finished my CTA this year and your blog has been invaluable.

    Good luck with all your future endeavours.

    • Dumi-rocks

      March 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

      Thanks man. I hope you are enjoying your training.

  3. someone

    March 18, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I’m going sounding negative, but the truth is that at most universities there are only a handful of really smart, intellectual people–the future Einsteins and Curie’s of the world (for whom Universities are mutually beneficial) . The rest are a mixture of smart, average, stupid, and don’t really care. They could probably get the same 26k a year education for like 10.00 a year at the local library…. but they understand universities (these days) are not only academic institutions, they are also a business–in the art of making people think that in order to accomplish their dreams and/or goals they need that piece of paper valued at >104k, and if we are honest with ourselves we’ll see that it’s actually true. Its not only about opening doors for those on the lower end of the SES spectrum, it’s about changing the way in which we as a generation view education, if we fail to change that, it doesn’t matter how “open” the university is to people, it will continue to churn pseudo-smart people who just regurgitate information they hear, rather than intellectuals who contribute.

    • Dumi-rocks

      March 20, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Thank you, Someone for your comment.

      I value your contribution for what it is worth. However, I must stress it out to you that I struggle to follow your argument you presented herein. Otherwise, let me address what you have here.

      There is something you are missing here; What do you mean when you say “hey could probably get the same 26k a year education for like 10.00 a year at the local library…?”. You can’t just go to a library, read about CFA 9certified Financial Analyst), do a little mathematics, Study Economics, and bingo you are eligible to write the qualification examination set by the institute. You indeed need that paper that is worth 104K (sic) to be illegible to write these examination. Just imagine being treated by general practitioner who just read books and health and claim that he is a licensed medical doctor, Would you love that?

      As much as education is being made a commodity, you need to look deeper into the benefits of going to tertiary institution than a mere monetary sacrifice that comes with education.

      i trust that if you are an alumnae of a certain university or you are currently at a university, you sharpen your train of thought so as to become a product that isn’t pseudo-smart who just regurgitate information you hear and you actually become an intellectual that challenge what is brought to you as conventional truth.

      Once again, thanks for your contribution!

  4. someone

    March 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Sorry, I should have clarified that I was responding to your comment to Fuzefairy in which you state and wonder– “everybody must be able to attend university regardless of the socio-economic status. Just imagine the impact that would have in our country?”

    I will simplify my comment, for you, to its basic premises and conclusion

    1. University is a business AND is only really necessary for scientists (i.e., mentioning Curie and Einstein, but doctors are for obvious reasons included in this category)

    2. Universities are attended by Science students and non-science students

    3. There are other means by which one can become learned

    4. If there are other means by which one can become learned and university is not required for practice (ie. doctors), then it is possible to become learned

    therefore, if you are a non-science student and want to be learned then university will not be necessary.

    So you ask, “Just imagine the impact that would have in our country?” All I am saying is that this doesn’t have to be a distant dream. If you have access to other means and are not studying towards a Science degree, it is very probable to have an educated society. How many aspiring learners can be sponsored to become leaned through Opencourseware or other similar programs versus a four year institution such as Yours or UCLA?

    The other problem is that too many companies these days use a Diploma as a filtering system , making it a quite ineffective system for two reasons 1) they may overlook a highly intelligent self educated person just because they don’t have a diploma, and 2)just because someone has a diploma doesn’t mean they’re smart or capable for the position.

    The reason I said that Universities will continue to churn out pseudo intellectuals is precisely because of using the diploma as a filtering system. Our generation must not simply see a Diploma as means to a just a job, otherwise they’re just do enough just to get that paper, even cheat.. I’m implying, universities have failed to produce, a service worthy of 26k a year and a product discernible from a library product. All they have produced is a product that thinks its intellgent just because it has attended university and has a Diploma.

    You stated: “You can’t just go to a library, read about CFA 9certified Financial Analyst), do a little mathematics, Study Economics, and bingo you are eligible to write the qualification examination set by the institute. “…. I think you can, Financial Analysis is not Theoretical Physics.

  5. someone

    March 20, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Oh, and, my intelligence is not so low that I would fail to notice you calling me stupid.

  6. Percy

    March 21, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Dumi you touched on a very critical aspect that each and everyone of us is facing at the moment…Early February during registration, I circled that finalist option on my registration form. Since that day, I ask myself if I am even ready to face the real world. What is more problematic is the fact that I have to go move to another level, is either I like it or not.

    Last night I went through my peoplesoft and I saw “Potential December qualifier” and again it hits me that I almost there. The main question is that “Am I ready?” I don’t think so. Maybe its normal to feel like this but If I am learned or not, is a very tricky question for one to answer. It is something I should ponder on.

    @someone, I need to know few things from you, (1) Are you questioning the relevance of Higher education or formal education for that matter? (2) Are you saying going through bunch of books in the Library has any equivalence to going to University? (3) Can you trust someone who just read a bunch of books with your life if he/she was a doctor and operate you? (4) Are you saying reading books solely can make one to be learned and can establish the required intimacy?

    There is one thing about opinions, it makes people arrogant since they always think their entitled to them. I think if you’re saying the higher education can be acquired through reading bunch of books then you are definitely insulting your own intelligence.

  7. someone

    March 22, 2013 at 9:21 am


    I’ve already addressed those questions.

    Everyone may not be entitiled to an opinion, but everyone is entitiled to what they can argue for and I have put forth an argument– albiet one that you do not like. If you, and Dumi-Rocks, want me to abandon my stance you will have to prove the invalidity of what I have said, rather than believing saying I am wrong and attacking me with adominems will achieve that change.


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