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Old 01-27-2009, 01:20 AM   #1
Mad Professor
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Over-educated?

Of course as a Professor I can speak from experience

I was wondering what people thought about this, can you be over-educated?

I heard a commentator use the term on the radio the other day as a negative attribute of certain social types.

I think too much time in the ivory tower can lead to intellectual snobbery and elitism (most our Prime Ministers and half our MP's here in the UK seem to have come from Oxbridge).

It can play against you in the job market if you're over-qualified for a particular job as well, but I'm more interested in whether over-education exists as a social and cultural phenomenon and what are its' effects?

In no more than 2000 words please
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Old 01-27-2009, 02:40 AM   #2
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I think you're over-educated if you don't use the knowledge you've gained for a worthwhile purpose. Most of the 'well' educated people I know don't seem to lord their knowledge over anyone though. In fact, many are highly qualified in their field and yet you'd have a perfectly good time with them down at the local pub on a sunday arvo - which is my definition of a 'good bloke/chick', meaning that they're still down to earth enough to enjoy the simple things and to use their knowledge for good and not evil.

I'd probably have to consider myself over-educated for the job I currently have. I probably didn't need 3 1/2 years at uni to be a full time mum and wife. It did broaden my horizons though, and I have a different perspective on things now, but that could just be because I'm older too. It's hard to know in retrospect because you simply can't do the experiment.

Some people who have a high degree of education can be a pain in the arse to be around though, so I can certainly understand any social commentator saying so. Why are they so annoying though? I think mostly because they have a need to make sure everyone around them knows they're the 'smartest' so they're always blowing hard. What would I know though. I'm still an undergraduate.
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:04 AM   #3
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I don't believe I'm over-educated. I do have an advanced degree in my field, however, I am quite forthright about admitting that I learned nothing of practical use in my degree program, and that I have been taught everything I know from direct experience. If only hanging out with crazy people conferred the extra letters I'm entitled to after my name, I would have saved a good bit of money and time.


Now, I have been accused of being a know-it-all. Nothing pisses people off more than when you can back that one up, though. Like by running the board while watching Jeopardy.
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:38 AM   #4
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Over-education is the state of having disproportionately more education than experience, to the point of not being able to accurately apply your education.

(23)

(edit +7: accurately might not be the best word.)
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:01 AM   #5
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Agreed. When looking at intellect versus common sense, I consider common sense to be the ability to apply one's intellect to resolve a practical situation. This is where experience and well roundedness come in. Common sense may be present at many levels of intellect. I consider the term "over-educated" to be a misnomer for "under-experienced."

"Over-qualified," as in the job market, is separate consideration. There are valid reasons not to give an over-qualified person a job (e.g. they may leave shortly if a more challenging position becomes available elsewhere). It depends on the individual, their personal situation, and the skill of the interviewer to determine if they are getting a bargain; or, asking for trouble.
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:02 AM   #6
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I think Sam Clements said it best, I try not to let my education get in the way of my learning.
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:49 AM   #7
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I can see somebody being over-qualified for the job they're doing. Or over-educated for the lifestyle/world they're in. If somebody is living in an environment where nobody else shares that level of education it could conceivably be a divisive or isolating thing.

Usually though, I think people use that term when they mean something else. Like NoBoxes said: a misnomer for under-experienced. What's being commented on isn't so much the high level of education, but the low level of competancy in other areas of life (like social interaction, or practical living skills).

I don't believe it is truly possible to be over-educated. Unless one adds to that sentence 'for x'.
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Old 01-27-2009, 09:42 AM   #8
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I can't be over-educated, having quit full time education at the age of 16. However I constantly find myself overly-intellectual for my lifestyle/ world.

I would change that if I could. On the one hand I wish I had the same group of people around me IRL that I do here. I'd sit and smile in the corner and listen and try to learn when I was out of my depth. I am hungry for knowledge and if it means I sometimes soak up trivia that's okay, as long as I trust the source and/ or can verify it.

But part of me thinks I'd really be happier with a lower IQ. I'm not claiming I am a genius, that I would stand out in any normal line-up, but I have so often felt isolated by being bored by conversation. I got on great with my co-workers when I was an evening working shelf stacker. But two or three times a night I would be called deep or weird or told I think too much. I laughed it off - another team member was vain, another obsessed with getting pregnant again, it was just my quirk. We got on well, but partly I think because we only ever spent 5 hours together.

In more highly skilled jobs it has happened too. I've been deferred to when I don't deserve it, and treated like I'm some sort of Ultimate Mind. Sadly, the one place I felt I fit in intellectually, I am no longer employed by. And even then, these people were better educated than me and certainly moved in higher social circles (being horrified to find I thought Weatherspoon's served a good meal for example).

I dunno. I think I'm under-educated for my brain, and just a misfit for my social class. I'll never walk with Kings nor lose the common touch. Perhaps in the end it comes down to self-consciousness.
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Old 01-27-2009, 11:27 AM   #9
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Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

Some people do let their academic qualifications substitute for wisdom, judgment, or just horse-sense. This is often to their detriment.

Some people on the other side of the educational divide suffer from a condition commonly referred to as 'sour grapes'.
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Old 01-27-2009, 12:31 PM   #10
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I don't think you can ever be overly educated. If it turns one into a snobbish elitist then that's a separate character trait.

There is always more to learn, and no education is wasted or too much.

imho
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Old 01-27-2009, 01:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundae Girl View Post
I dunno. I think I'm under-educated for my brain, and just a misfit for my social class. I'll never walk with Kings nor lose the common touch. Perhaps in the end it comes down to self-consciousness.

I can relate to that.
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:39 PM   #12
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I'm with Shawnee. Who cares how much education you have. Good Will Hunting gives a good perspective.

"See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you're gonna staht doin some thinkin on your own and you're gonna come up with the fact that there are two certaintees in life. One, don't do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library "

Education doesn't determine anything but social status, how you hold yourself and how you apply that knowledge are completely different topics though.
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pie View Post
Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes.

Some people do let their academic qualifications substitute for wisdom, judgment, or just horse-sense. This is often to their detriment.

Some people on the other side of the educational divide suffer from a condition commonly referred to as 'sour grapes'.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawnee123 View Post
I don't think you can ever be overly educated. If it turns one into a snobbish elitist then that's a separate character trait.

There is always more to learn, and no education is wasted or too much.

imho

what they said. Except for the Latin bit, because that's not a nice thing to say about her.

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Old 01-27-2009, 06:00 PM   #14
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I've never completed what is considered even the very lowest level of formal education.
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:07 PM   #15
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Bravo Shawnee! Now the book I was reading last night is safe! Ha!
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