i Why am I here? | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Nolan Matson

Why am I here at SNC? Over the past few days here and the weeks prior to moving here, I have asked  this question to myself several times. The first time I heard of St. Norbert College was in my senior year of High School. SNC sent me an email about applying to the college. At first, I did not think anything of it, but my mom said that I should apply and see what would happen. One thing lead to another and a couple of months later, I was here taking a tour at SNC in the middle of the winter. Even though I was absolutely freezing and the ground was covered in snow, I fell in love with the campus and the community. That was when I knew that I was going to come to school here in the upcoming fall. The reason that I am here this fall is to gain an education that would put me ahead of my desired work field; to gain experience new life experiences, friendships; and most importantly, find out who I really am as a person. And to also quickly adjust to the speed of college and succeed in this fast pacing environment, in sports and in the classroom.

I believe that coming here to SNC and their liberal arts education will help me grow my passion and educate me in my field of studies. Fareed Zakaria, who is a huge supporter in the liberal arts education, believes that it is one of the best ways to get an education. In his article, he says: “The final strength of a liberal education is that it teaches you how to learn – to read in a variety of subjects, find data, analyze information.” Being here at St. Norbert, with their liberal arts education, will hopefully help me increase my overall education. I will still have to put in the effort for my studies, but I should see the results in the future in the job field that I would like to be in. I have always loved being outdoors and watching nature, so I cannot think of anything better to do in my life than to do a job that I love, and this is why I want to major in Environmental Science.

But is going college and to gain a better education worth the investment? Should someone go to college or should they go straight out of high school into the work field? These are some really interesting and important questions that are being asked here. On the Panel on the Larry Wilmore show. The host is Larry Wilmore and his guests are Anya Kamenetz, Kurt Metzger, and Fareed Zakaria. During the show,  Anya Kamenetz explains why some people might find college as a rip off and a waste of time; “There’s a lot of technical degrees that pay more than a bachelor’s degree…” and “there are a lot of people for whom it’s (college) absolutely a rip off…”. I believe she is trying to say; why go to college when you can start working at a job that pays more for a bachelor’s degree and waste four year to get that degree? That’s why they believe that college is a rip off. I would have to agree! Do not waste time getting a degree that will cost more than you will gain in the long run. Though in my opinion, I do not believe that college is a rip off to everyone. People who want a significantly higher paying job will most likely have to go to college and get a degree. This initial investment will pay off in the long run. So to some people, college might seem like a rip off, but to others, it’s just a little sacrifice they are willing to pay to be better off in the future.

Now another Liberal Arts and college “hater”, Dale Stephens, will discuss his opinion on two topics of college. Mr. Stephens, who is the founder of Uncollege, believes that college is a complete waste of time and money. He talks about this in his article, “College is a Waste of Time”; “College fails to empower us with the skills necessary to become productive members of today’s global entrepreneurial economy.” He says this because  he does not believe that college can make him, or anyone else, a productive member of society. The next point Stephens brings up is about the cost of college. He says that college is expensive: “tuition is about 3.6 times higher today than it was 30 years ago”.  Just a reminder, Mr. Stephen’s article was written in 2011, and I presume that the cost has only gone up and will continue to grow in the future.

Personally, I would have to respectfully disagree with most of Mr. Stephen’s statements. I believe that college does allow us to be product citizens. Getting an education should be the most important reason everyone is here at college, but there are some other reasons that might have come to college, such as sports and the communio experience. College is also where you go to make new life experiences. This includes: making new lifelong friends, supporting sporting programs, joining campus groups, finding out your passion in life, and what type of person you are. Yes, this also includes partying, if you choose too. It is part of the college experience after all. These reasons alone will help anyone at college become a better overall person and will hopefully help them be productive members of society.

On the topic of the expensiveness of college, Stephen’s comments are most likely true and should be questioned on why college expenses are being raised. Student debt is at an all-time high! Shouldn’t we want people to go to college to get a better education, without the fear of not being able to pay their debt? Fortunately for many others and me, our parents are able to help us pay for college. Though, if I were paying for college myself, I would be extremely worried/stressed. One thing all students all have going on our side, is that we have the rest of our lives to pay off college debt. Hopefully sooner than later.

College also gives us an advantages that other routes do not.  Like, giving us a step ahead against our competition in our job field. A degree is a big deciding factor in whether or not you can get a job. Your degree that you receive from college, in your indented major, will also give you a better starting salary, than someone who has not received their degree. So in my opinion, as long as you enjoy yourself in college, make some new friends and memories, and let’s not forget, to graduate and get your degree, college will be worth the investment that you will be putting forth.

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