i Why College? | COLLEGE WRITING: DEBATE(S) IN HIGHER EDCUATION

Brock Moldenhauer

I fell for it. I bought right into what society wants us all to fall for today. All through high school I did my homework and studied for test just to get good grades. Those grades were useless to me besides to get into a college. That’s what society wants though. College is great, it essentially is the kick start to our society. The jobs that are created just due to college is huge for the economy. It’s not like forty years ago where you could get done with high school and start evolving right into your career. Today in order to have a well paying job, a college degree is almost always necessary. 

Let’s be honest, I wasn’t ready to grow up anyways. I didn’t want to leave high school and go to a job that requires minimal education just to bust your back day in and day out without a significant amount of money to show for the labor. I wanted to go to college and I also wanted to play football for four more years. I wanted to make more friends and simply live the college life. Wouldn’t you? The movies make it look so much fun so I decided why not give it a shot. No one would be holding me there. I could leave at any point and go work construction or in a factory. Yes, my parents would be disappointed and frankly I don’t like to disappoint my parents. College just seemed like the right path for me.

Why Saint Norbert College though? Why not UW- Whitewater or Carthage? Let me put it this way. Let’s say you are looking for a tree. You find trees vaguely scattered in many spots. If you wanted to find the perfect tree for you though a better spot to look would be in a forest.  So how does that connect to Saint Norbert? Saint Norbert is my forest and I want to find a job as much as I want to find that tree. Saint Norbert sold me on that they would be able to help me find that tree through networking and their reputation and with that I would be set for life after college. Frankly, a well paying job is all I am looking for and if my chances of finding that job are that much higher here, then that is why I choose Saint Norbert College.

I want to be ready. I want to be ready to take the next step after college. For now, my first step is a step towards completing my Liberal Arts education at Saint Norbert College. Edward J. Ray puts it perfectly when he argues that a Liberal Arts education will prepare you for the wide array of ever changing jobs down the line: “No one knows what the jobs of the future will be, but a liberal arts degree provides a great foundation for adjusting to new careers and further education.” Right now I have no idea in what direction that step is going to take me after college. I may get lucky and land that first step on a gold mine or I may have take multiple steps to end up where I want to be. Either way I know I will be ready to lunge any which way with my Saint Norbert College education.

College is so much more than just an education with a degree tacked on. It’s a game that all must play here. Some will be able to by pass the game and get a job right out of high school but for those who choose college have to buy into it. A degree from any college increases your chances of getting a job greatly, but there is a difference between what game you play and where you play it. Some schools have shortcuts to this game, an example of that would be networking through the connections your school has. Many people will pay extra just to go to school that offers such shortcuts. As Larry Wilmore said on The Nightly Show, many of us go to college to network: “Sometimes what you’re paying for is access to a certain community, access to an elite group, you’re not paying for education because physics is the same no matter where you are.” If you can learn to network in college, it is going to help you more once you are on your own looking for a job. Experience is a trait that can beat all others when it comes to the work force.

When I leave Saint Norbert College in four years I want to be able to say that I am no longer a rookie in whatever direction my first step is. Through Saint Norbert’s networking I want to be able to say that I completed an internship and started to create my own network. This skill will be essential to which steps I take after my Liberal Arts education is complete. In the long run, that is what is going to make that extra money well invested.

College is all what you make of it. To some, college seems like a complete waste of money, but to others college can be their backbone to life. If you aren’t willing to go to class and put in your study hours, then you probably are better off taking the easy route and living in your parents’ basement. Many people can slide through High School doing the most minimal amount of work and yet get passing grades but college is different. There is so much more room for slack and irresponsibility. In college teachers leave you with the responsibility compared to in high school where they practically babysit your grades. You won’t have the professors telling you what you are missing and constantly reminding you to get it in. In college you are on your own and you have to choose if you want to buy into the degree you are earning.

If you do put in the work though, then college can be the smartest investment you’ll ever make. People have to understand that in order to be successful you have to invest in the future. An investment is exactly what college is. You pay more upfront but can receive more in the long run. Some people disagree with this and say that you can easily make it in todays world without a college degree and that all that degree is, is a waste of your money. Many people go to college, get a degree, and yet still can not get a job. This is where putting in the work applies. As Dale Stephens argues, success isn’t granted to one overnight and in order to reach that success you need to be constantly climbing that ladder: “We think of college as a stepping-stone to success rather than a means to gain knowledge.” That knowledge is an extra plus of college. If you follow the stepping stones to success, put the money up front, your investment will lead to a brighter tomorrow.

At college you aren’t the only one on that journey though. You have fellow classmates pushing you to climb higher and higher. You also have professors that have already made it to the top of their ladders and know a lot of other people that were beside them on that climb–their network. Everyone at college is all competing for that million-dollar job after college but if you can learn how to network and put in the hard work you will continue to pass up your classmates in that competition. With a hard work ethic college will be worth the money in the long run.

 

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