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)
August 2015
M T W T F S S
« Jul    
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Twitter

Visitor Map

Locations of Site Visitors

RSS Recent Posts from Towleroad

  • Australia’s Got Talent Star Greg Gould: ‘I’m Gay’ – VIDEO
    Greg Gould, who was runner-up in the 2013 Australia’s Got Talent competition, has come out as gay ahead of the release of his debut single “Run to You.” The Guardian reports: Throughout Gould’s run on the show no reference was made… The post Australia’s Got Talent Star Greg Gould: ‘I’m Gay’ – VIDEO appeared first on Towleroad.
  • John Oliver Shares Some Fib Facts from His New Book ‘Stranger Than Truth’
    Most of the time, John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight topics are meticulously researched and expertly explained. But every once in a while Oliver likes to sprinkle in a completely bogus historical fact to shake things up and see if you’re rea… The post John Oliver Shares Some Fib Facts from His New Book ‘Stranger Than Truth’ appeared first on Towleroad. […]
  • Miley Cyrus and the Queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race Slay the VMAs With ‘Dooo It!’ – WATCH
    Miley Cyrus closed out the MTV Video Music Awards last night with a dragtastic performance of her brand-new song “Dooo It!” accompanied by the queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race. “People need to see every type of human being on that stage… The post Miley Cyrus and the Queens of RuPaul’s Drag Race Slay the VMAs With ‘Dooo It!’ – WATCH appeared first on Towleroad. […]
  • Nick Jonas Is Ready to Take Your Love Higher in New ‘Levels’ Music Video: WATCH
    Nick Jonas debuted the music video for his new single “Levels” at the MTV Video Music Awards last night. Features cars, tires, warehouses, scantily clad women, and other set pieces that feel right at home in the masculine music video,… The post Nick Jonas Is Ready to Take Your Love Higher in New ‘Levels’ Music Video: WATCH appeared first on Towleroad. […]
  • The Indianapolis Star Is About To Set A New Standard On Gay Rights For Daily Newspapers
    The Indianapolis Star is launching an unprecedented campaign in support of LGBT rights that likely will set a new standard for what it means to be a gay-affirming daily newspaper. The Star‘s editorial board initiative is designed to convince GO… The post The Indianapolis Star Is About To Set A New Standard On Gay Rights For Daily Newspapers appeared first on […]

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

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 996 other followers