As of 2007-07-01 I have a BSc degree in Computer Science. I feel relieved. It took lots of hard work for me to make this happen and I'm glad I'm over it. If one asked me what does it mean to me getting my diploma I'd happily answer to his / her question.
It means nothing to me. Absolutely nothing.
I have to make a confession. I've cheated. I've cheated 100% to complete the two hardest exams of the university: formal languages and complexity theory. I couldn't have done these two courses without cheating. I've cheated in such elaborate and subtle ways that it was absolutely impossible to them to catch me. Why do I confess it? Am I proud of it?
I am, because I honestly believe that this is a fucked up kind of education. In order to be successfull in such a system, you have to resist to think way too often and instead remember formal shit, symbol by symbol. Many people I know who teaches in academic circles are so attached of their rigid models of knowledge that they feel the urging need of capturing other people in their own prison. This attachement manifests itself in the merciless and pointless ways they test students who want to pass their exams. In my experience school generally rewards formal knowledge and discredits creativity, but my ultimate problem is that they don't teach you to think better. They give you outdated specifics and useless generalities. Regarding the Free Software Word, there was almost no mention of its culture, history and morals at all.
I've experienced way too many times that too often the smartest people are the ones without a paper. Miguel De Icaza, a person who I have the uppermost respect toward doesn't have a diploma. Larry Ellison and Bill Gates left the university without competing their degree. I don't need any further evidences.
I don't know how things are in other countries but I despise the Hungarian education system and don't give a shit of any paper people may have, because it means nothing to me. Not a damn thing.