As I was studying for a test today (at home), I heard some people making noise, shouting and laughing stupidly....talking like they were from "da hood". So I looked outside my window and saw some kids from the local high school (my old school) walk by. They looked like juniors/seniors and most of the group looked like the typical jockey, preppy, cheerleader type that smoked weed under the bleachers during school (low academic standard kids).
I though to myself "these guys probably screw up in school and most likely don't know ****" ....or something to that effect. But after I though about what had just run through my mind, it seems like I don't really know that much s hit either (not applicable s hit anyway).
Sure, I may know how to do math better than them, or know US history better, or know more biological concepts, or understand organic chemistry better but does that really make me "smarter" than people who don't know that?
A majority of the concepts that I've learned in my post-high school education have been vague and inapplicable to the real world. What can an individual really do with the knowledge of integrating an elementary function, knowing when the civil war ended, describing a watered down version of the Lac Operon, or writing a basic Friedel-Crafts Mechanism? What can I really contribute to the world with all of these concepts when I don't plan on knowing most (if any) of them in the next 5 years?
Sure, they may help in answering questions on jeopardy, but why am I learning this stuff again? what can I do that a high school kid with a 2.0 can't?
It's not like I've actually learned anything significant about these concepts that couldn't be obtained by a 2 minute google search or a scan of a relevant section in a wikipedia article (which I do around 40% of the time anyway to translate my professor or the book).
I feel like by coming to university, I'm only aware that there are much bigger and more complex concepts out there, ones that I will be unlikely to ever grasp. It's been a humbling experience and it's shown me that the brilliant professionals in these fields (from CS to psychology), the one's who actually do understand the complex concepts, are practically invisible to the lay public who form their uneducated opinions on issues with less knowledge than even me.