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, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Fiction

BIOGRAPHY

WORK
» "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)
February 2016
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29  

Twitter

Visitor Map

Locations of Site Visitors

RSS Recent Posts from Towleroad

  • Wednesday Night News: Kim Davis, Hollywood Stuntman, Whales, Rachel Maddow, Hump Day Hottie
    TRANSFORMATION. Johnny Depp is Donald Trump in Funny or Die biopic movie (it’s 50 minutes long) parodying the Republican frontrunner. KIM DAVIS. Federal judge denies ACLU’s request to force Kim Davis to reissue marriage licenses that omit… Read The post Wednesday Night News: Kim Davis, Hollywood Stuntman, Whales, Rachel Maddow, Hump Day Hottie appeared first […]
  • 10 Reasons Every Gay 20-Something Should Go to Key West Before They’re 30
    Key West, the southernmost point in the United States, has long been known as a gay getaway and is even considered by many to be the original gay vacation spot. However, as gayborhoods have faced encroaching gentrification and some members of the LGB… Read The post 10 Reasons Every Gay 20-Something Should Go to Key West Before They’re 30 appeared first on To […]
  • Dallas Councilman: Anti-Gay Bigots Have No Prayer of Repealing City’s LGBT Protections
    A group of anti-LGBT pastors is again threatening to try to overturn Dallas’ LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance, but one city council member says the so-called Christians have no prayer of succeeding. A week after Houston’s Equal Rights Ord… Read The post Dallas Councilman: Anti-Gay Bigots Have No Prayer of Repealing City’s LGBT Protections appeared first on T […]
  • Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie Suspend Presidential Bids After Devastating Defeats in New Hampshire
    Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie have ended their 2016 presidential bids after coming in 7th and 6th place, respectively, in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary. Florina shared her news on Twitter with a link to a longer announcement on Facebook. T… Read The post Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie Suspend Presidential Bids After Devastating Defeats in New Hampshir […]
  • Biopic About Iconic Gay Erotic Artist Tom of Finland Set to Shoot This Spring
    A new biopic based on the life of Tom of Finland is set to start filming in Sweden later this year. The simply titled projectTom of Finland will be directed by Finnish and Swedish director Dome Karukoski from a script by scribe Aleksi Bardy. Tom of F… Read The post Biopic About Iconic Gay Erotic Artist Tom of Finland Set to Shoot This Spring appeared first o […]

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 996 other followers