Education for Education’s Sake (rev.)

I have what some would call one of the most outdated degrees available today: news journalism, formerly called print journalism.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 gueNews text on typewriterssing 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the reality is, by the time today’s graduates with any sort of journalism degree are my age, their degree will also be outdated.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.
book and background Graduation
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

Education for Education’s Sake

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 gueNews text on typewriterssing 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.
book and background Graduation
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 to start with, at least, not for me. Turns out that’s true at many colleges and universities. But he was right about the inherent value of education.

Today I no longer work in any 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.


Newspaper


Photo Credits: (typewriter) © GraphicStock; (Graduation Day) © carballo — Fotolia

Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Best Friends

Friends sNot long ago, a friend of mine told me he had a tremendous amount of respect for the way I’d handled a challenging situation a few years back. This was someone who, more than just about anybody in my circle, knew what I’d dealt with, and recognized the struggle I faced overcoming the pain and resulting obstacles.

He didn’t presume to know what I’d gone through, but listened and learned, and in that way was able to lend me the support I so desperately needed. It meant a lot to me. What was even more significant was his offer to help me move past my current situation and on to a life more suited to my needs.

When we go through a painful time, friends can either help or hinder us. Not everyone has the same gift of a heart that listens; some help in other ways, perhaps not as profound but ultimately part of what makes us whole again.

cat with mauseThere are the friends who believe in you because they know who you are, and the friends who believe in you because the facts add up in your favor. The friends who just met you and say, “I’m sorry,” when there’s a setback, and mean it, but don’t let you wallow in self-pity.

The friends who call others fools for rejecting you because of rumors.

I don’t believe “all things happen for a reason,” because there is no justification for some behavior, some deliberate actions that hurt people for no sound purpose. (In particular, you can’t tell me the horrors of war “happen for a reason,” but that isn’t really what I’m talking about here.) I do, however, believe the character of a person is found not in their success, but how they handle life’s hardships, whether it’s their fault or not.

A young woman I know, about to graduate from college, had her heart set on a high-profile, prestigious career, and she was well on her way to achieving that goal when she was diagnosed with a chronic disease that will prevent her from pursuing that path. I don’t know her that well, but I imagine she felt stunned, confused, angry, perhaps a little lost. No one’s at fault here; illness is part of life. A painful part, sometimes, physically and emotionally.

3 birds pyramid. Watercolor

While I feel for her, at the same time I believe in a way she’s lucky. I wouldn’t be foolish enough to say that to her now, and it may be years before she reaches that conclusion herself. I believe, however, she’s savvy enough that she will.

To face a setback like this when you’re this young, and to overcome it, which she most certainly will, brings phenomenal strength. It won’t be the last disappointment she encounters (I wouldn’t say that to her now either), although, perhaps being the first of its kind, it may be among the hardest.

I hope those closer to her than I am, those who know her better and know what she needs, are giving her the empathy and support to help direct her onto the right path. No doubt college counselors have seen this sort of thing before, the details different, the results the same, and they have practical advice. Her sister knows her better than anybody, and can put her arm around her and hold her. And so on.

Life’s a journey. Thank goodness for friends.

 

Image Credits: (All)© Wegener17 — Fotolia