The Incongruency of Education and Life

There’s no syllabus for life.

No course objectives, learning outcomes, class schedule, homework, or textbooks. We’re not told when to show up or given a rubric. We don’t get a choice of instructors, access to their office hours, or the topics they believe we should explore.

As adults, we lead a self-directed life, periodically influenced by family and friends, but ultimately driven by our own actions. We influence (if not control) our own destiny, making decisions we believe are best at the time, and then discovering whether they are. When we learn proactively, we choose the class, the book, the seminar, the blog, or the mentor.

But higher ed doesn’t prepare us for all this. Whether a college senior, grad student, or post-doctoral candidate, the syllabus directs us. We’re spoon-fed what to do, when to do it, why to do it, and for whom. Sure, the flipped classroom is helping us move away from that, but it’s still only used on the fringes.

The way it is isn’t working. Because the way it is in there isn’t the way it is out there.