I have what some would call one of the most outdated degrees available today: news journalism, formerly called print journalism. We were groomed to work for newspapers.
I’m guessing current journalism majors get a good dousing of social media education as well, but the reality is, by the time today’s graduates with any sort of journalism degree are my age, their degree will also be outdated.
Which leads to this question: why do we go to college if everything we learn, all the knowledge we gain, becomes yesterday’s news in light of greater innovation, broader (or narrower) thinking, changes in what the workplace values?
Because education in and of itself has value.
I went to college twice. The first time I dropped out before graduating, something, quite frankly, I’ve never really regretted. I got what I wanted out of that experience, and if I had graduated, I never would have gone back and completed my education in a field for which I was far better suited.
It wasn’t easy, however, to go back, and when I dropped out, I had to explain my decision to several people in my life who knew that would be the case. Some understood, some did not. One friend was more upset than most, and when I told him I simply couldn’t pursue a degree in something I had no interest in vocationally, he asked me this: “what about education for the sake of education?”
The fact was, it wasn’t a well-rounded learning experience at that college, at least, not for me. I needed something more. But he was right about the inherent value of education.
Today in our country a college education is often maligned, as if learning and thinking turns us into pontificating fools with no idea which way the wind is blowing. People wonder why they should bother to learn something they’re “never going to use.” Yet how do you know what knowledge you will need, and how you will use it?
You learn a lot more than facts in college. You learn how to think.
Without an education, you are more likely to fall prey to con artists who play on people’s emotions and ignorance, spouting rhetoric not substantiated by the facts. They have always existed, and they aren’t likely to go away. It pays to have the tools to sort through the mire and gain understanding.
Today I no longer work in a field remotely related to my degree, yet having an education is an essential part of my success. You can tell the college graduates from the rest. Even those self-taught individuals, those who know lots of facts and can win any game of Trivial Pursuit, don’t have the polish that comes from the college experience. It is education; it is the process of learning, of deeper thinking, of using logic and research to reach your own conclusions that changes you.
Education for education’s sake.
This is a revision of one of my most-read posts, from April 2016.
Photo Credits: (typewriter) © GraphicStock; (Graduation Day) © carballo — Fotolia
2 Replies to “Education for Education’s Sake (rev.)”
I loved this entry, and for more than your usual brilliant writing style. It’s the essence of Truth, writ large.
It’s funny, my path was almost the polar opposite of yours. I went to college for decidedly non-journalism purposes, but ended up a network news anchor. Yet I draw the same conclusion about a college education as you: one of the main skills I acquired was that of critical thinking. The ability to discern truth, to discriminate (in the logistical sense), to recognize logistical fallacies, will carry one farther in life than mere rote memorization. Bravo to you!
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Thank you! The older I get, the more grateful I am for my degree.
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