Sunday, December 18, 2011

Reflections on higher education

Thoughts after reading, "What is College For?" in the NYT:

I've heard increasingly over the years the argument that college is worthless, and that we can learn everything outside the classroom. It seems a symptom of our lazy intellectual culture, which has been exacerbated with the age of the internet where answers are a google away, so who needs to learn or retain anything?

I'm probably biased, having earned a doctorate and worked in a university setting for a short time. And I do agree my major life lessons were outside of university. But my years of education taught me to explore subjects which I knew I'd hate because they were required (and discovering I liked German, anatomy, writing, etc...). The critical thinking aspect of university and having a few years to be away from home with the security blanket of the university walls was a stepping stone to adult life and contemplation.

One of the greatest joys in life is a lifelong love and respect for learning. I am sad for those folks who think college is about memorizing facts and preparing for a job. It is about something entirely different. It is creating a foundation of learning and questioning for the rest of your life.

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