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Why go to college?

July 17th, 2005 · 2 Comments

Kathy Sierra questioned the value of college, sharing excellent concerns and the story of her daughter’s decision:

So here we have a pile of issues:

* Does it still make sense to major in a high-tech field? (and the offshoots I didn’t mention about whether gender makes a difference)

* Does it really matter what you major in, or is the benefit of college something beyond the actual field of study?

* If college = money, but money != happiness, what does that mean with respect to a college degree?

* Does it still make sense to go to college… at all?

But I think the biggest question of all is something entirely different:

Where does passion fit into this equation?

I too have concerns about our educational system. I don’t know whether our daughters will go to college. I hope they will. I believe there are benefits to pursuing a degree. But they are at least ten years away from admissions processes. Many things can change, both in them and in our society. I hope they will follow their passions but becoming who they were each meant to me, may not mean that they each need to attend university.

College cost me thousands of dollars, all of my savings, and left me owing the bank more thousands at the end of it. Much of what I learned for my biochemistry degree is long obsolete. Since graduation, I’ve changed careers a few times. One could argue that I haven’t needed my degree for years.

Was college worth it? Sometimes I wonder. But I know I would do it again and make the same specific choices in an instant.

Why? I found passion. Sure, I took courses I liked. But what I gained from college went beyond the auditorium walls. Alone, thousands of miles from home, I began to peel away the layers I’d wrapped over myself and discover who I am beneath the disguise I’d worn for others [I’m still peeling and revealing…]. It was a time of transformation that changed the choices I would make. For the first time I felt I met people who understood me in multiple dimensions, peers who shared my interests and hopes both inside and outside school, forming deep friendships, ones that have lasted through the miles and years. It was a time of spiritual growth and exploration. I found a place where I belonged. I found passion deeper than any degree. I found love worth my life.

Why go to college?

Because you might make excellent connections that wouldn’t happen any other way.

Because you might meet someone and decide to spend the rest of your days together.

Because you might discover passion beyond what you had imagined!

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(picture taken by a neighbor, one of Abigail’s playmates, at a party tonight, with our camera)

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hazel // Jun 23, 2006 at 9:29 am

    Thank you.

    Every little but helps… I was looking for reasons to stay in college. I am a 25 year old single mother, and beginning in commumnity theater. Life is tough…

    I am trying to find myself, and build my self-esteem. That, in itself is very difficult. I want to be more social. I want to meet better quality of people. I want to be respected. I want confidence. Being in college is challenging and competitive for me…

    Personally, I am coming across others whom I admire; who obtain aspects in their lives that I don’t have: supportive family members, athlete scholars, teammates, strong self pride, etc…
    I am learning to value my achievements. I get discouraged, and wanted to reach out. I want to feel I belong somewhere. I always have. I am trying to be well-rounded… and “everything.”

    I needed reassurance. I just wanted to say thank you for your bit of advice…

    Hazel Hernandez

  • 2 daniel messing // Dec 17, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    You could just as easily meet someone at a job who could turn out to be your soul mate, nemesis, or whatever. And you wouldn’t have been in debt. The real question is: why do businesses require a college degree at all?

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