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)
December 2016
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Twitter

Visitor Map

Locations of Site Visitors

RSS Recent Posts from Towleroad

  • Scott Pruitt, Princemas, Linda McMahon, Zac Efron, Tiffany Trump, Royal Family: HOT LINKS
    ANTI-TRANS. In addition to being a staunch critic of the EPA, Trump’s pick for head of the EPA (Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt) is also transphobic. In a letter to AG Loretta Lynch, responding to guidance on transgender students: “Your determin… Read The post Scott Pruitt, Princemas, Linda McMahon, Zac Efron, Tiffany Trump, Royal Family: HOT LINKS appeared first o […]
  • Homophobic Preacher in Ghana Says He Can Increase the Size of Your ‘Manhood’ with Christian Massage – WATCH
    Bishop Daniel Obinim, founder of the International God’s Way Church in Ghana, has been gaining attention online for a ceremony he performs which he claims can increase the size of men’s genitals with the laying on of hands. But not, you k… Read The post Homophobic Preacher in Ghana Says He Can Increase the Size of Your ‘Manhood’ with Christian Massage – WATC […]
  • Trump Picks Anti-Gay Iowa Governor Terry Branstad for Ambassador to China
    Donald Trump has named Iowa’s anti-gay governor, Terry Branstad, as his ambassador to China. The Washington Post reports:  Branstad has extensive ties to China and a personal friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping that dates back decades.… Read The post Trump Picks Anti-Gay Iowa Governor Terry Branstad for Ambassador to China appeared first on Towleroa […]
  • Paranormal Organization Claims Gay Men are Possessed by Female Ghosts
    According to a paranormal organization 85% of all gay men aren’t really gay, they’re just possessed by female ghosts that cause them to have attractions towards men. The Spiritual Science Research Foundation (SRF), which has 12,000 follow… Read The post Paranormal Organization Claims Gay Men are Possessed by Female Ghosts appeared first on Towleroad.
  • LGBT People in Bangladesh Flee Abroad Following Brutal Murder Of Activist Xulhaz Mannan: VIDEO
    Seven months after Xulhaz Mannan (above), a gay rights activist and the editor of Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine, was hacked to death by al Qaeda-linked militants, the country’s LGBT community remains in hiding and around 12 people have fled abroad… Read The post LGBT People in Bangladesh Flee Abroad Following Brutal Murder Of Activist Xulhaz Mannan: VIDEO […]

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

Categories