Never Trust Your Liberal Arts Teachers

Never Trust Your Liberal Arts Teachers

Why you should never trust your liberal arts teachers or traditional education


Most people who are looking for a creative career go to school for it. After all, it is logical and makes sense. If you want to be a writer, you should major in create writing. If you want to be a manager, what better than a degree in management? If you want to be an entrepreneur, then a degree in entrepreneurship seems like the best bet.

And these degrees come from reputable institutions with sometimes very long traditions that both parents and prospective students should be able to entrust with their future.

This is how most young people aspiring to have creative, entrepreneurship or management careers get scammed into debt and despair. And they only discover that when it is too late. This is the reason why I wanted to write this article. Many have spoken and written about this issue but if this article can prevent even one person from wasting their life, then it was worth it.

If you are curious about my credentials, I have a Bachelor and master’s in computer science engineering (EPFL) with a Minor in Cultural Studies (Specialization: Eastern Asia). I also took concept art courses from CGMA (CG Master Academy) and from a local art school (Fenomenarium). In school and high school, I also took optional Ancient Greek and Mandarin optional courses. And I also worked as a manager in a large bank where I had the chance to attend high quality management courses. This allowed me to see all aspects of education: STEM, liberal arts and business both in a university setting and online. I am satisfied with everything I studied. They all taught me something different and very valuable to my work today. But it is not because I am satisfied with the education, I received that I do not see the system as completely broken and doing more harm than good. Most of what I learned in each of these fields was based more on specific skills and less on theory.

Colleges Today

Most liberal arts colleges, art schools and business courses are unfortunately not like that today. Most people I learned from were working professionals. Many of them had their own company and were experts in their fields. But in the world today, this is a rare exception, not the norm. Moreover, ideology has taken the central stage and skills are relegated to the backstage for most institutions. Even STEM colleges now have difficulty resisting that change.

Another issue is that it is nearly impossible to find competent teachers in traditional institutions. Competent teachers would be experts in the craft they teach and regularly practice it. The emphasis is put more and more on complexity and sophistication of thoughts and less and less on actual skills, even in STEM. The accent is put on learning about the theory of everything and rarely on actual skills. But the real world only rewards real skills, even in the liberal arts. Most teachers are teaching because they are not good enough or strong enough to live from their field.

The traditional education system has been relegated to giving students overpriced credentials to get a place in a dying economical system where skills do not matter. Only the ability to fit in and the ability to find allies and play politics is rewarded. And this is not a bug but a feature of the current system. You should indeed learn to fit in and parrot the current political line because this is what you will find in most corporations. They give you the best preparation for what you will encounter later in your career. The system will be dying and your place of employment will be a sinking ship but you will fit well on the sinking ship.


This is why you should be extremely careful with whom you trust to teach you or your children. In certain countries like the US, college debts cannot be erased by bankruptcy and are acting as indentured servitude. Most colleges have become ideological businesses trying to stay relevant with the current trends.

The paradox is that it has never been more difficult to develop the right skills following traditional paths and easier to create your own education. If I had to do it again today, I would forego a traditional education and self-teach as much as I can as soon as possible.

A good teacher does not have a 2-4x but 10-100x better impact on your future than a mediocre one. And this is valid for your managers as well. If you choose your education well, your progress can be exponential compared with your peers going the traditional route. Great teachers are usually hard to find and even harder to convince to teach but if you find them, they are the only ones who can really teach you any skill and not theory.