College..Is It Worth It?

December 9, 2011

Political Theory

As I grew up I became more and more familiar with the word “College”. Once I had reached high school, it seemed as though this was the “go to” question for any of my awkward relatives that did not really know me and were trying to keep a conversation. “So have you thought about what college you want to go to”. I always answered with an “I don’t know yet” until about junior year. Aside from relatives and family friends, this word was used throughout my immediate household and in school. Teachers would constantly preach that they are making us build habits that will help us succeed in college. My parents were constantly on my back telling me that I need good grades so I can get into a good college. The college you go to seems to tell a lot about the type of person you are and how your looked at. In our society, a good college is linked with getting a good job, making a lot of money, and living happily ever after.

My question is this: Is college really worth it? The countless hours that you spend in classrooms and doing homework. The hundreds of thousands of dollars you pay in order to say “I go to the University of Michigan”. Is all of that money and time worth the rewards of graduating from college?

I believe that College is definitely worth it and I know that Louis Menand would agree with me as well. Louis Menand wrote an article in the New Yorker specifically about this called: “Live and Learn, Why we have college”. He states that “Society wants to identify intelligent people early on so that it can funnel them into careers that maximize their talents. It wants to get the most out of its human resources. College is a process that is sufficiently multifaceted and fine-grained to do this” He goes on to say that college gives adults the proper cross of information needed to succeed in today’s world. I absolutely agree with him. Although we all know about the success stories of Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Larry Page, Steve Jobs, and other billionaire college dropouts, they are not exactly common. Simply put, there are always going to be exceptions and most people, that drop out of college or don’t attend college, do not create billion dollar empires. Not only does college create educational opportunities but social ones as well. College is a great place to create a social network that can be used to build everlasting friendships along with opening possibilities for your career. The entire aspect of living on your own and managing your time teaches you lessons that you cant get living at home and working for your parents. Studies show that college graduates earn around 84% more money than high school graduates. The statistics clearly show that going to college leads to a more successful career. If you do not like statistics then think of it like this. Where else can you possibly explore your interests with thousands of different classes, hundreds of majors, and an innumerable amount of clubs? College is where you are free to create and choose your own educational path. College lets you follow your dream of one day becoming a doctor, a lawyer, a business owner, and any other occupation you can think of. College is the only place that allows you to do this. I am a big believer that going to college is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Although I think that college is worth it, I do not know if me and Socrates would see eye to eye. When he is on trial for corrupting the minds of the youth of Athens, he uses his method of elenchos to demonstrate to the jurors that their moral values are wrong. He explains to them that “they are concerned with their families, careers, and political responsibilities when they ought to be worried about the “welfare of their souls”. Socrates believed that being so caught up on your career did not help you make yourself a better person. If Socrates knew how caught up society is and how important ones social and career standing is he would not be so happy. He would think that society is putting way too much weight on those things and not enough on their own “souls”

I personally always wanted to go to college. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to do so and as I said before I think college is definitely worth it. What do you think? do you ever regret going to college rather than starting out your career early and gaining experience? do you agree or disagree with the way that Socrates would look at this situation? Is college really worth it?

Live and Learn, Why we have college by Louis Menand

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4 Comments on “College..Is It Worth It?”

  1. jordanwylie Says:

    I also agree that college is worth it, especially in this day and age. When our parents were our age it was definitely not necessary but it was still considered beneficial. I think college can teach us a lot of things that we would not learn in any other situation. It doesn’t only teach us academic things and tools we can use in future professions, but also how to survive on our own. Most of us grow up and our parents take care of our every need. When we go off to college we are forced to feed ourselves, do our own laundry, and learn to budget our time. I understand why Socrates thinks people are spending too much time with their careers and political standings, but what does worrying about your soul even mean? If he means making yourself a better person, college can help people do that. There are many service opportunities for students that they may not get anywhere else. College is definitely worth it – the price of college is a whole other issue. However, I believe Socrates is wrong in this situation and attending college can help students in many ways.

  2. JustinMandeltort Says:

    I believe, and like so many would, that college is completely worth all the time, money and effort thrown into it. College is a place where many people grow up, they learn to do things they never have been used to doing. Along with that, they gain tons of new knowledge and important material so they can eventually get a career. College is also the best time of your life, experience is worth everything these days, and its hard to replace the experiences you go through at college. We are lucky to be going to the school that we go to, not many have the money nor the opportunity to attend college, we can not take this for granted. Now Socrates may be against college, but what he is saying is completely right. Our place in the social world and the career you pursue is always important, but being a good state and a happy state with yourself is more important than all. Making yourself a better person should always be priority number one, having a good career and a great position in the social world doesn’t always mean that person is happy with themselves internally. College is very important and all those that have the chance to go should, but the “welfare of your soul” is additionally very important, something that can be worked on a changed at college.

  3. zrobbins24 Says:

    Growing up, I knew that college was something that I was supposed to do after high school. Before the middle of junior year, however, I never really thought about college and which one was right for me. I mean, I watched college sports, knew about Ivy League schools, and knew about a few schools near my home, but that was the extent of it. I was never a big fan of any one college in sports, especially because my parents did not go to a big sports school, but I did enjoy watching the games. Nor was I mentally committed to any one school because of reputation or visit. Basically, going into my senior year, I still did not know which college I wanted to attend after graduation.

    However, I always knew that college was worth attending. Without college, it is very difficult to get a “good” job and “succeed” in life. College allows students to explore their interests and select the classes that they want (depending upon your registration date of course…). As to Socrates, I believe that his statement that youth “ought to be worried about the ‘welfare of their souls,’” is an argument that the youth should be involved with philanthropic activities and helping the community instead of worrying just about themselves. I agree that community service is necessary and helpful to the community, but one can do this and still get a college education. There are many clubs on campus that contribute to the community as a whole. By attending college, students can get involved with such activities, while at the same time broadening their education and learning essential life skills. This can definitely make college worthwhile.

  4. lukeythekid Says:

    You can succeed quite easily without going to college – all you need is to be incredibly smart, have a bankable business idea with interested and potential investors lined up, and a couple hundred thousand dollars of startup money. Otherwise, you’re pretty much screwed if you don’t go to college. Short of being an entrepreneur, you’re going to go nowhere in terms of getting a good job. The days of working your way up from the mail room to the CEO are long gone, because not only are you competing against people who went to college and graduate school, but these days you probably need an undergraduate degree to get a job in the mail room!
    I had to apply to a bunch of jobs this summer to make some money before school, and I saw a bunch of juvenile and mind-numbing jobs which required degrees. Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the prerequisites for a job that required me to work at an arts supplies stockroom that wanted at least some college experience. I think I might have seen a few pyramid schemes up there that wanted a high school diploma – it appears that even the scams have become more educated these days (I’m still waiting on my payment of $10 million from Nigeria, but the teaser e-mail had impeccable grammar).
    I know that is is easy for me to say, but it would be worth it to go to college even if you had no financial backing whatsoever. I would get as much aid as I could get and then get the rest from student loans – going to an in-state school would come up to a total of about $50,000-$60,000 even without significant aid. This is a huge amount of money, but it is nothing compared the difference that it will make on the rest of your life. You absolutely cannot survive in the working world without a degree unless you want to do manual labor or get a job with no possibility of promotion.
    I have always considered the argument about going to college as incredibly stupid, because without college it is impossible to succeed. I don’t just mean financially, but you would be missing out on an opportunity to better every aspect of your life – your social life, your enjoyment of things that you would never have been exposed to, and also your love life. College is where a huge group of like-minded and (for the most part) intelligent people gather to share ideas and grow as a whole. Without college, you will perpetually be a child, ignorant to the very best parts of life. College has been the most stressful time in my entire life, but I would not trade a second of it away.

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