Archive for May, 2013

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Guilt-tripped by a Crap Educator

May 21, 2013

I attended Westwood University for roughly a year, which had no summer break, took 4-5 days out of my week, and had rests of no more than a week between semesters. The classes lasted longer than a normal college night class, though I never had issues getting A’s since most of the general education instructors appeared to know less about their subjects than I did.

Did I mention I went for the dubious degree named “Game Arts”? Its lack of specificity should have been the tip off. Of course, if I’d been less impulsive, less swayed by their recruiters, who I’m guessing they pay better than their teachers, I might have done a great deal more research. I might have determined that I could gain more of a footing in the gaming world by learning 3DS Max in my free time and mastering a few level designers in popular games. In short, the degree seemed worthless, and an instructor once told me they bumped up their statistics by counting former students who got jobs at Gamestop as working in the game industry.

Proprietary schools, or for-profit schools, are generally garbage, which is why their degrees only really count at other garbage for-profit schools. They even made up their own lame accreditation that only works at other awful overpriced schools. It’s just no good no matter how you slice it. Don’t take my word for it, just google any of these schools and see how far you get before scam websites fill your screen.

My year at Westwood generated 10 times more debt than my entire associates degree from a community college has cost. What’s worse is that friends told me they discontinued the games program, which made the email I received extra galling:

Previously you took what may have seemed like the most important step in advancing your career – you started your education at Westwood College. Unfortunately, something got in the way of being able to commit to completing your degree and making the important change in your life.  It may not be unlike the many stories of our graduates who have faced challenges along the way.  Click the Westwood Success link to learn how people just like you overcame difficulties and are now enjoying the life they have dreamt about!

Are you ready to overcome obstacles and make a difference in your life?  Are you ready to reach your goals?  I urge you to once again evaluate your current situation so that we can offer my assistance in your journey.

You may still have the opportunity to get back into school and change your future as well as those around you as classes are starting soon!  Please let me know when the best time is to contact you or feel free to contact me at the number or email below.

Regards,

Daniel (Assholes Last Name Removed)
Director, Admissions  |  Westwood College – (Removed) Campus

I’ve heard more than once that college loans may be the next bubble to burst. Regardless, it’s such a deeply predatory system. It tries to grab up the people too intimidated by the bureaucracy of school, or those who couldn’t pass the Accuplacer tests for a regular community college. For me personally, it came down to not having enough self-esteem to really push through into a regular school. I had more than one Westwood teacher ask me why I was there.

During my tenure at Westwood, I actually attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, catching a ride along with a former teacher. More than one artist from Westwood recounted their experience with industry professionals, where interviewers would sneer or roll their eyes when they saw the Westwood name. If a big chunk of the value of a degree is to signal value, then that’s the exact value of a Westwood degree.

So it amuses me when a scummy admissions director, the sort of person overseeing these sleazy, high-pressure recruitment departments, tries to make me feel bad for not tripling my debt with another two years at their degree mill. I understand sunken costs enough not to stick with an abusive educational relationship.

Seriously, just go to a community college. Yes, it will take more effort. That’s because the counselors don’t get a commission from you enrolling.

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The Vacuum of the American Male

May 17, 2013

If you want a divisive conversation opener in mixed company, I can’t think of a better one these days than to ask, “Who do you think is a good role model for young American men?” No one will agree on any political leader, and a sports figure only works if the young man in question actually cares about athletics, which I could never say as a child and can’t say now.

Perhaps, like many men of my generation, I had less than stellar personal role models. My step father, a quiet and often brooding man, did many of the most stereotypically masculine pursuits imaginable, from home repair, to fishing, to camping, but had little patience for dealing with children or explaining his methods. It gave a lot of the old fashioned tropes of masculinity a bitter edge to me, a sense that it was a club full of mean spirited bearded men who would sneer with derision at liberal-arts-loving, video-game-playing nerds such as myself.

Combining this with a liberal mother who did most of the actual teaching around the home, and I ended up with a notion of correct masculine ideals that looks like a gray haze, like a guest star not yet be revealed.

Americans can’t really agree on how they want men to behave, just how they would like them not to behave. They shouldn’t say anything sexist or disrespect women, but equally loud voices will tell them that this is weak and effeminate. They play on underlying notion of homophobia while others chide them for sneering at anything they might deem gay. You can only send so many different sets of memes into the population before some men get overwhelmed by the choices and simply opt out of the normal social constructs altogether. And most of the alternatives are incredibly unsavory.

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