For the Last Time, College is NOT a Waste of Time

I stumbled upon this article in which a financial analyst says that college is not worth it because in our economy even a bachelor’s degree doesn’t guarantee a job. He claims “undergraduate education is primarily a four year vacation interrupted by periodic bouts of cramming or Google plagiarizing.”

I have all sorts of problems with this.

First off, I don’t know where he went to school but reducing our education to cramming and plagiarizing is more than a bit much. In college I’ve learned how to write, ask questions and research. I’ve been introduced to a variety of different literature, math problems and social issues. Without college I’d be woefully unaware of the world around me.

He continues to argue that a skill-based curriculum is the answer. Yes, that might prepare college students for particular jobs in engineering or statistics, but ultimately this would do a disservice to us. To me, college is about broadening your academic perspective. I would hope that curricula develop our ability to learn and introduce us to new courses that we might not have ordinarily taken, art history, economics, or a foreign language for example. In my opinion we shouldn’t forget about the humanities merely because they don’t directly prepare us for particular jobs. Believe it or not, there is still something to be said for students who are actually knowledgeable about history and philosophy…

And of course the most glaring issue with his claim? That college is all about preparation for the work force. Of course that’s a big part of college, but certainly not everything. College is a place to develop your social skills, make life long friends and generally “find yourself.” Trust me, I know that’s corny but before entering college three years ago I had no idea the kind of person I wanted to be and what I was most passionate about in life. By living in a dorm, rushing a sorority, struggling through science classes, and participating in IMs I have begun to uncover just exactly who I am and who I hope to become.

Can you imagine jumping right from high school into a vocational school, or worse the working world? I switched my major, pursued a variety of interests and still am not deadset on what I want to do post grad. Without college, I’d be buried in some cubicle right now hating my life.

College is also an opportunity to gain some independence without totally being pushed out from the nest. Ever present support systems allow students to hit a stride in their adult lives without risking failure in a big way. Like most students, I started paying rent on my own and balancing school work with a job and extracurriculars — and college provided the perfect environment to start doing all of that. Without the family meals I ate every night in high school, I’ve learned how to cook (you might think this is a small accomplishment but considering the sheer number of lean cuisines I’ve consumed and burned stir frys in my past, I assure you, it’s not). College taught me how to multitask and prioritize, which we all know comes in handy in the work place.

And last but not least?

College IS fun. And a fun, learning experience can hardly be considered a waste of time.

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