What does that ‘A’ grade really mean? Does it mean you have full grasp of a topic, or is it just you’ve managed to perform consistently on the material that is taught that semester. Is it enriching for you? Would you find yourself discussing the topics when not in a classroom setting?
The main difference in formal ‘education’ and ‘learning’ – one ends, the other follows us through life.
Whereas formal education trains certain skill sets and certifies us for employment. Life long learning is something that is less structured. To begin with, learning happens when one asks questions and set out to seek the answers for them. One can draw their own conclusions from their own research – whereas in formal education settings – a topic is brought to mind and questions are encouraged thereafter, but ultimately, students are given an uniform answer. Though one of course could disagree with one’s professor, one does it at his own discretions and consequences.
Already, we see this linear education system breeds mental laziness. If an instructor’s job is to inspire ideas, then under this model they’re hardly doing their job. There’s transferring knowledge, and there’s inspiring for progress. Not to mention, nowadays, students care more about their GPA rather than what they’re taught and how it fits into their day to day lives and in turn, how they could use the knowledge to improve the world.
The aforementioned flaws are the reasons why I think supplementation to formal education with self-education would be much more rewarding. Rather than seeing the acquisition of knowledge as some form of punishment or something that must be done, one could follow one’s curiosities and ask questions – not only in classroom settings, but ask questions in their day to day lives and set out to answer those questions by their own means through research.