The following is a bit of a development of my response to a blog post. (Oh, man, I can't remember who wrote it or where it was...). [In searching for the article I responded to, I came across this blog post, which, although it may have ulterior motives, shares some of the same feelings I had at high school graduation.]
I remember graduating from high school, looking at my GPA and thinking "Was this really worth all the tears, and not hanging out with friends in order to stay on top of the honors classes?" And I don't have clear-cut answers.
I might write a blog post about this, but it seems like it's a balance between learning conventionally and not fettering yourself with convention. It's learning how to be self-directed in your discovery, but also not taking so few structured classes that you can't function in the world.
One way I keep running into this wall is that I want to graduate, but I want to take classes that are interesting to me—that I love, have a passion for. And the university keeps trying to guilt me into leaving. They say I should power through the required classes and get out of here—that my spot is taking the spot of someone else who would love to be here.
And that's true. But if we all sacrifice the education we want (with the extra, non-required classes) to move so someone else can have the spot, does anyone really get a full education?
Similarly from outside sources—the champions are the people who take 20 credits a semester and don't have a life outside of schoolwork. I hear people say "now, that person really values education." But do they? Is it ok for me to have a different idea about what education means? Does it matter that other people don't recognize what I've learned as valuable? I don't think it should. But that's harder to put into practice than it is to decide.
What about different learning styles?