Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Is College Worth It?

I am a proponent of higher education.

In general, and removed from modern connections to financial success, the idea of higher education is one that pleases me to no end. I’m thinking about higher education–for an intellectually curious student, not just someone who attends college as another rung in the life ladder–as something that feeds the soul, introduces great thinkers, teaches us to question and reason for ourselves. Rebecca Mead meditates on the utilitarian value of higher ed in this week’s Talk of the Town. Separating college from money, she writes:

Unaddressed in that calculus is any question of what else an education might be for: to nurture critical thought; to expose individuals to the signal accomplishments of humankind; to develop in them an ability not just to listen actively but to respond intelligently.

I could not agree more whole-heartedly. The merits of higher education can be seen, if I look at my own place in life: Where would I be if I hadn’t gone to college? And if I had chosen a state school in the Midwest as opposed to the private, liberal education I ended up choosing on the East Coast? Would I have encountered and met the same diverse community? I think of certain friends whose taste in music, whose real engagement with good books, whose desire for travel all helped nurture my own passions. I think of my partner and his intellectual passions and deliberations, and how his powerful life of the mind impacts (directly, through our conversations, and indirectly through his actions) my own.

How has higher education influenced me? Above: Horsing around with friends my first year of college in 1990; Below: Addressing students at the university where I teach, earlier this spring.

Mead writes in response to recent talk that college just ain’t worth it. “Don’t go to college,” argue many, like economist Richard K. Vedder, founder of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Mead cites Vedder’s line of thought, including “eight out of the ten job categories that will add the most employees during the next decade–including home-health aide, customer-service representative, and store clerk–can be performed without a college degree.” The conclusion? The number of college degrees awarded statistically does not match what the economy needs for workers.

But this line of thought seems to ignore Mead’s, and my own, thinking that a college education can not be measured merely by post-collegiate salaries alone. And I’m not going to the other extreme, of the Steve Jobs and Ellen DeGeneres, famous folks who never received their diplomas. I’m trying to assess how college, as a total experience, both the in-class and out-of-class, makes us more whole. I think about how lucky I was to have spent six years as a student of higher education, and how this has led me to my current position within the academy. In a series of small, perhaps serendipitous, moments my college years provided the incubation period for me between adolescence (and adolescent thought) and adulthood. I think of the mess I would have been going straight from high school into the working world.

Filed under: economy, education, work, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Writing

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
June 2017
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Visitor Map

Locations of Site Visitors

RSS Recent Posts from Towleroad

  • Governor Cuomo Unveils Design for New York’s Official Monument Honoring the LGBT Community
    Governor Andrew Cuomo today unveiled the design for New York’s official monument honoring the LGBT community and all victims of hate, intolerance, and violence. The competition for the monument was launched after the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooti… Read The post Governor Cuomo Unveils Design for New York’s Official Monument Honoring the LGBT Community appeared […]
  • The Gay Hanky Code, Explained: WATCH
    For those of you who weren’t around in the ’70s when gay men put color-coded handkerchiefs in their left (top) or right (bottom) back pockets to indicate their sexual needs, this helpful video will sort it all out. Watch:… Read The post The Gay Hanky Code, Explained: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad.
  • NYC Pride March: WATCH LIVE
    Click HERE to watch the NYC Pride March Live Stream. The parade starts at 12 pm ET Sunday at Fifth Avenue and 36th Street. Heritage of Pride, which produces the NYC Pride parade on June 25, agreed earlier this year to allow Trump resistance groups to… Read The post NYC Pride March: WATCH LIVE appeared first on Towleroad.
  • Trump’s New DOE Appointee William Bradford’s Deleted Hate-Filled Tweets Are Very Disturbing
    An archive of unhinged and hateful deleted tweets by recent Dept. of Energy appointee William Bradford make Donald Trump’s look almost normal by comparison. Dino Grandoni from The Washington Post stumbled on this garbage patch of vileness, and… Read The post Trump’s New DOE Appointee William Bradford’s Deleted Hate-Filled Tweets Are Very Disturbing appeared […]
  • Katy Perry Shares Video of Backstage Experience at Ariana Grande’s Manchester Benefit Concert: WATCH
    Katy Perry shared a four-minute video compilation of her experience backstage at Ariana Grande’s benefit concert for Manchester bombing victims. The video follows Perry as she rehearses, greets Justin Bieber, Niall Horan, and Miley Cyrus, and s… Read The post Katy Perry Shares Video of Backstage Experience at Ariana Grande’s Manchester Benefit Concert: WATCH […]

Polls

RSS Breaking News from The Daily Beast

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

Pics from Africa 2010

No food for lazy man

Mao and Du Bois

Inside W.E.B. DuBois' library

Commemorating the great pan-African writer

African drumming and dance

More Photos

About Me

https://rsiasoco.wordpress.com/about/

About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

Top Clicks

  • None

Categories