This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

The difference between a University and a trade school

When my gggggrandfather, Hope Atherton graduated from Harvard in 1665, it was clear what his career path would be - a clergyman. Harvard had been established in the New World to prepare young men like him for a career as a congregationalist minister, which he became. The Puritans became the Congregationalist, by the way. He studied the Bible, Latin, the classics, that sort of thing. And the tone of a University like Harvard has stayed very high to this day, in spite of the movement towards secular subjects in the 19th century.

For young men who desired to learn a trade in the 17th century, there was usually apprenticeship. These men did not learn Latin, or the classics, or any of that stuff. They learned to be craftsman, to be practical. And as the demand increased for men with practical skills in America, schools started putting an emphasis on educating with practical knowledge that would allow men to earn a living. Trade schools began.

The Universities remained, where the emphasis was not on teaching a trade, but rather on creating a well-educated man who could be a leader, whether in the church or in the secular world. And to this day, there is something snobbish about going to a University to study the classics, versus going to a trade school to learn a practical trade. Of course, if you want to get a job you would be wise to learn something practical, but there is still a stigma attached to trade schools.

In response to the need to teach practical subjects, many Universities added *trade school* type classes to their curriculum. You can now take classes at Universities in such practical things as engineering, or computers. Of course, you can still study the classics, literature, poetry. And over the years many people have become confused as to what a University is supposed to provide.

Most of the classes that I took at ASU for my Graphic Design degree were practical, and they prepared me for the *trade* of being a Graphic Designer. And all of the classes that I teach at Glendale Community College, which are Adobe software, are practical, too. Essentially, I am a *shop teacher*, not a professor.

My recommendation to you if you want to earn a living is to learn a trade. A University can work, but it is a poor compromise. Attend a trade school. No, you probably won't ever become the President of The United States, but you really didn't want to, did you?
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