Today’s post will be brief, and draw from a conversation I had with a professor and something I saw from BBC Radio 4. In discussing what education means, the professor brought up one of his favorite courses (and one of the most popular at Harvard) was about Happiness. He alluded to the fact there were a ton of successful but unhappy people. And that course touched a nerve.

Interestingly enough we then briefly discussed how much of a degree is self-improvement and learning to be a productive member of society, how much is learned skills that are valuable in the workplace, and how much is signalling. We sure as hell don’t know. However college is getting increasingly less important, he contendeds, as people have a longer lifespan and more of an ability to reinvent themselves.

Interestingly this doesn’t necessarily jibe with the BBC article, but I think it does point to an important truth. Although there is a tendency for the rich and those at better universities to have on average better outcomes, those outcomes are only averages, and individuals are certainly capable of defying them.