What weighs us down?
People today see that a degree equals jobs, and your grade equals the degree, so there is an emphasis on grades that is devastating. I don't for a minute think that people should go to university with no idea of being well employed afterwards - university is a very expensive undertaking and very few people can do that for simple satisfaction. But the pressure, the competition, the degree inflation, presses people into an overemphasis on numbers to the detriment of learning itself. Students come to me saying "I need this grade" or "I need to keep my scholarship", and that's tied to grades. In a good education, we shouldn't be asking "why did I fail", but rather "how did I grow". You are not your grades, your grades don't define you.
Increasingly, North American Universities seem to be working with the market instead of critical of the market. There's a fairly recent culture that encourages entrepreneurship, at the University of Waterloo especially. I don't have a problem with encouraging entrepreneurship, but when we overemphasize it, we de-emphasize other issues in the market - like no one working full-time, like not having a secure pension. It shifts the emphasis on the individual to "work hard" - no longer a responsibility on the organization, the rich. The idea of entrepreneurship lifts responsibility from large structures and places it on the individual - it's this mentality that we just gotta work hard and keep trying. I have more students running businesses now than ever before. It's good for people who actually have a vision, that's good, and creative. But if we emphasize it too much, we're saying "you go out and make your success". The problem with capitalism is that for me to succeed, x amount of people do not.