Why Do We Go To College?
I want you to ask yourself a question. What does it mean to you to have a college degree? Some may say that it means they will have a better job or that they will be making more money. Others simply go because it was what was expected of them. Maybe to even attend the same school their elders did to keep with traditions.
But genuinely, deep down, what will having a college degree mean for you and your life? Having a college degree does not guarantee a job, nor good pay. Especially not in this day and age, during which applicants are removing their well-deserved master’s degrees from their resumes to obtain entry-level positions. If this is what the economic downfall of the decade has in store, what is really the value?
The truth is, I am writing an essay for a college course, and I came across an article that discusses these very same questions. It tells the stories of multiple people and the outcomes of their lives based on the decision of whether or not they went to college. Of the two subjects interviewed, the person who did attend college is faring much better than the subject who didn’t. But what about the people who still do well, getting on-the-job training, starting from the bottom and working their way up to the top through hard work? That was my father. He never attended college because he couldn’t afford it, but he knew the value of hard work.
Though he didn’t get to see me graduate or attend college, he did spread to me the value of hard work and dedication. My father grew up as the oldest of eight children in a family without money. Along with his brothers and sisters, he had to do his part in taking care of the family. In hindsight, he always seemed a bit old fashioned. I realize now that he didn’t have the things I had growing up and simply did what he knew how. He worked hard and dedicated himself to his family.
That is what a college education is about. Learning. To open up to the vast amounts of information that have been set down by generation after generation. The fancy diploma is just a consolation prize to remind you of the hard work and dedication you put into making yourself a more well-rounded person. So whether you start from the bottom and work hard to the top, or if you attack college with everything you have, know that we are one in the same. Our hard work, strength and dedication is what gets us good jobs and good wages, regardless of the degree, even though many jobs in modern America actually do require one.
I know if my father could see me today, he would be proud. I am too.
The author is a political science major and sociology minor at Owens Community College. She is currently working toward improving college retention for other students by serving as a peer mentor under Title III, a grant from the U.S. Department of Education.