Originally published on Medium.
“People like Yash get nowhere. Don’t do online courses, sit in class and study”
“Study”. The meaning that this word conveys to people in India is way different than what it means in the western world. I belong to a tier 3 engineering college in India. The quality of education you get here is sub-par. Why am I enrolled, you ask? Well, my Indian parents need me to get a degree and they choose to pay for it.
That being said, I don’t sit for almost all the lectures in college. It’s my radical approach towards stealing my right to education. It is a regressive curriculum, that is not taught well. I would not like to comment on the quality of teachers, as some of them are reading this right now, thanks to the power of social media. Have a nice day, ma’am.
So as usual, I skipped Mr. K’s lecture and was sitting in the library, trying to understand the concept of a Convolution. Later that day, my peers told me that he was talking smack about me in class.
“People like Yash get nowhere. Don’t do online courses, sit in class and study”, these were the words. Obviously, I felt good after hearing this. I like when people shit on me. I know I’m the one who’s gonna be accurate in the long term. Who gives a shit about the micro game? Well, turns out Mr. K does.
The whole Information Technology department in my college (borderline) hates me. It’s almost as if you are fighting with these so called “teachers” for your own right to be educated. Meanwhile, people sit in class and learn nothing.
So, Mr. K, here’s a few things I’d like to bring your attention to.
You suffer from a serious case of Einstellung
I’m sure you don’t know what that means, you did not study that in 1991.
According to Wikipedia, Einstellung is the development of a mechanized state of mind. Often called a problem solving set, Einstellung refers to a person’s predisposition to solve a given problem in a specific manner even though better or more appropriate methods of solving the problem exist.
You think that one can learn about Arduino by reading it on the web with no implementation whatsoever. You think one has to have the number of GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi memorized. That’s not how the world works, sir.
You can google shit. It’s 2018. Memorization is not how people grow and make things. India’s focus on memorization from the early years is probably the root cause of it’s lack of innovation.
Please let students explore, do not impose your views on them. Let people make projects they love, not ones that you read about on instructables.
The future is decentralized
History repeats itself. Services come to us, instead of us going to them.
Want a date? Tinder. Want a cab? Uber. Want a home? Airbnb. Want to buy stuff? Amazon. Want to watch a movie? Netflix. Want food? UberEats. Want to sell stuff? Ebay.
20 years ago, to do all the things I just mentioned above, you would have to go out of your house. Hang out with people to get a date. Go stand under the hot sun to hail a cab. The tedious search process for a house would last months. Drive to the supermarket to buy stuff. Drive to the cinema to watch a movie. Visit a restaurant to pick up food. Set up a garage sale to sell stuff.
Now, all this is a press of a button- on an app that runs on a phone which runs on technology that did not exist 10 years ago. Mind=Blown?
Similarly, if you want to be educated in 2018, you do not need to go to college, especially not a tier 3 college with egotistical professors. You can get world class education at 10% the cost of generic college.
You hate me as I challenge your worldview
People like me — the so called rebels, the thinkers, the ones who actually want to learn and make a difference. You aren’t used to us.
You are used to a whole bunch of people who would write mindless assignments and get a 9 pointer by memorizing the clock frequency of an Arduino Uno, without knowing how to build a real project. Those are the kind of people you favor.
You are used to a whole bunch of people that would slog for a week before the exam, memorize each and every thing in the syllabus, and get a low paying, banal job that they hate in TCS.
You like people who would sit all your lectures and make all diagrams with a ruler.You won’t like the ones who are doing shit. Because you never did shit. All you did was write mindless assignments for your egotistical professors and got 9 pointers. That is all you ever did and that is nothing to be proud of.
Your whole life is a lie
Seriously. You judge people by their score on a standardized test. You think knowing the number of GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi would make me a good developer. You think that attending lectures implies kids are learning. You think getting a job in TCS for 3.5 Lac per year is going to make me a valuable engineer.
What are you. Seriously. It’s 2018.
It is the time to do shit, to learn, to grow, to make a difference in the world. And you’re sitting on your ass, judging me for not attending your lectures? Seriously?
You don’t know how I work
You blame me for doing online courses and tell others that they’re not enough, you’re right— online courses aren’t enough, they’re the way you start.
But I’m not one of those kids that do an online course and make pretend that they know everything about the subject. I read blogs, I write blogs about some of the things I learn. I build projects based on the stuff I learn. I read textbooks and research papers. I’ve probably read more textbooks in 2018 than you have read your whole life, sir.
So before you sit in class and talk shit, try and understand that maybe I’m doing more than you, maybe I’m doing more than almost all the people sitting in class. Don’t discourage people from defying the system to do what they love.
Apprenticeship is the future, not lectures
Technology is changing at a rate faster than ever. There has been more change in the past 15 years than there was in the 30 years before that.
College education with good professors certainly has some benefits. But apprenticeship is the future. People will pay to work with people. CEOs of companies would be paid so people could work with them.
Skill-based learning, adaptive education is the future. The future demands for people who can keep learning, not for people who can memorize. What are SSDs for?
In most cases, the chef who learnt from his grandma is much better than the one who went to culinary school.
Your ego is just a mask of your insecurity
You are scared, aren’t you? Ask yourself this question. I’m sure it sucks to be you. What do you think is going to happen to people like you in the next 20 years. Your job is easily automate-able. You are nowhere close to being a creative. You are nowhere near innovative, neither do you have the zest to learn. All you are good at is bragging about your 20 years of experience to 19 year old kids.
You know that people like me grow up to be better than you, we win. And you hate that. It does not fit into your mold of a generic student, does it?
You use your ego and your authority hide your insecurities about yourself. You talk shit about me to other people as you don’t like people winning. You don’t think that a student can know more about something than a professor. Stop fooling yourself.
What do you take away from this? Us doers, learners, thinkers, or losers, as you would like to call us. We work hard. It gets tough to sit through your shit in college for 8 hours and then go home to work on the things we like, and the things that actually matter, for another 4 hours.
All I want is my peace of mind to work on my stuff. Your college is a for-profit organization, you run it like a business. My parents are kind (and naive) enough to pay you your inflated tuition fee, let me study, it is a plea.
If you and your institution cannot support people like me, please don’t scare others by talking smack behind my back. Online courses, decentralized, personalized education is not the future, it is the NOW.
Please do not discourage people from pursuing what they want.
This post is applicable to all professors like Mr. K, please, I implore you to not stop students from doing things. India needs doers, the world needs doers. And for that, I think you have to stop manufacturing slaves.
For you cannot improve yourself, please do not inhibit our growth.
End note: This is a highly personal blogpost inspired by a personal attack by a professor on me. Albeit, it is intended for every Indian professor who is like Mr. K. I use his initial, but think of “Mr. K” to be an alias for all generic professors out there.
I wrote this post as I needed to channel my inner frustration about how shitty the system is. It is rigged against the doers. Creating something, like this blogpost, is a way for me to channel that. There is no need to be offended by this post, it is nothing personal against anyone, all I ask is for my right to work.