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12
Aug

Why Go to College?

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Last week I was at a soccer game, and a high school student (who knew I worked at Antonelli College) asked a simple question, “Why go to college?  Is it really necessary?”

Going to College Online

I paused before I answered him.

Five-years ago, I wouldn’t have paused.  “Of course,” I would have said, with no doubt or hesitation in my voice. “Go to college!”  The person I was five-years ago would have believed the answer with all my heart and soul.  EVERYONE needed a college education.  College was a crucible where students were magically transformed.  College was a rite of passage.  Students had parties, stayed up late and talked philosophy and politics.  Students were exposed to new music, new entertainment, new experiences, friends, and ideas.  College was coffee shops, late-night cram sessions, pizza and computer labs.

Times change, the world has changed, and I’m a different person.  I once believed going to college was embarking on a heroic adventure, and when you had a degree, jobs fell into your lap and debt was slowly, but magically, wiped clean.

“Why go to college?”  The question was spinning in my mind and making the memories of me five years ago seem so naive.  Now I pondered debt, contemplated current job prospects, gave gainful employment regulations a thought, and considered childcare and commuting costs. I wasn’t considering parties, the “experience,” or late nights discussing philosophy.

Luckily, I stopped myself before I answered.  The truth is, his question wasn’t about a rite of passage, a risk/reward analysis of debt, or my opinion on philosophy.  A party is a memory of our time in college.  We all face potentially difficult job prospects, no matter if we have a degree or not.  Debt is an investment we make in our future, with the expectation of a return.  None of this defines a college experience.

The goal of college is building a better future.  That is why we pay tuition and invest our time and effort.  We go to college in the hopes of creating a better life.  is a tool we use to create a better future.  In college, we seek knowledge, skills, experience, the opportunity to network, build relationships and ourselves.  Considering college like that, then the question is, “Why should we create a better future for ourselves?”  The answer is obvious.

“Yes,” I told him, after a LONG pause, but with no doubt in my mind.

You should go to college, but only if you are ready to make an investment.  To be honest, the five-years-ago me was a fool.  College isn’t a crucible that you dip yourself into.  College is a tool that requires an investment of time and energy.  You have to actively use it, to make an investment of effort.  Some people are happy where they are and don’t see the need to work hard, and that’s fine.  If you can find happiness in your current situation, then there is no reason to invest in the future.  The purpose of college is giving people who want to change their life the resources to change.  We should continually strive for improvement.  College is necessary because our goal should be to make our world a better place.

Looking back, the moment it took to formulate an answer to his question was packed with a lot of thought.  Good thought, I believe.

“Huh,” the High School student replied.  “Cool.”

It was a soccer game, not a late-night college discussion about philosophy.  I really shouldn’t have expected much, but hopefully, I’d made the world a better place with my answer.

Written by David Oeters, Ohio PR Associate

Tagged in: College

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