College Interstate

As I was sitting at my dorm room desk grueling over another Calculus assignment, I thought to myself: why am I in college? The possible reasons were endless and ranged from “turning up” to establishing a solid track record before applying for a job. The truth is I did not have a definite answer, but to me, I felt college is something that most people feel is an obligation once completing high school. I walk through the motions, but I do not really take the time to think about why I am here and what I want to do with my college degree once I obtain it? I pondered numerous reasons that night before going to bed, in hope of reaching a concrete solution by morning, but unfortunately that was to no avail.

As I arrived in my 8:30 Political Science 101 class the next morning I realized the reading for Tuesday was titled “Why College?” by Louis Menand. I couldn’t believe it; how appropriate, maybe I would finally get a clearer understanding about college through an expertise’s viewpoint. As I was reading I realized how insightful as well as beneficial college is for future decision-making in any profession. Menand establishes two distinct theories about what college should be; theories that I believe will impact my life.

Theory 1 goes as follows: college should be a sorting-out process that helps professional schools and employers find academically accomplished students. However, with more and more people going to college, a bachelor degree is losing its value. I know that for whatever job I am applying for I am not just competing against numerous individuals for that position; I am competing against myself. When I speak with well-established businessmen or employers in my community, they are always looking to hire individuals who are well-rounded and effective communicators above all else, so I do not feel academic success plays the most crucial role. I know numerous individuals who have dropped out of college, but are employed in successful companies because of being well-rounded and effective communicators. Yes, you need to have intelligence, but to most employers it is not the deciding factor.

Theory 2 describes that college teaches valuable lessons about the world to people who will soon have jobs and families and no time to learn those lessons. Today, we live in a society where students all over the world are competing to get the best education, in order to receive exceptional jobs from various companies around the world. College students strive to learn as much as possible in college because they know time is limited once starting their profession. Although school work in college is a significant time commitment, it is nothing compared to the time commitment in a profession.  I know in order for me to be competitive with other collegiate students, I need to absorb myself in the various aspects of University life now to be a step ahead.

Through my classes and social engagements, I have had many valuable experiences at the University of Michigan. I have established great relationships, improved my public speaking skills, learned numerous marketing ploys, and have developed my skills in various subjects. I know that all of these areas will contribute to my success in my future profession. It is important that I take advantage of every opportunity that is presented to me here at Michigan because time management becomes more difficult after college. College is a learning experience, meaning, I need to explore as many areas both academically and socially as possible. I know that there are classes that I will not excel in, but I am still taking those classes because I know the pros I will take away will outweigh the cons. College so far has stressed my patience, but it it that same stress that has allowed me to progress in various facets.

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One comment

  1. mollygrant41 · October 13, 2014

    I really like how you related our life to an interstate and then incorporated Menand’s theories into the blog. I agree with your stance on Theory One. Part of having prepared for the career field is through extracurricular activities. Even in high school, I notice now that some of my most valuable life lessons came from activities outside the classroom; for me that was swimming. I actually believe that because I was involved in activities, I received better grades than if I hadn’t. I partially agree with you on Theory 2. I like your idea about getting the most out of college, but I feel at this point in time, many are still clinging to Theory 1 and the importance of grades. I don’t know what can be done, but I think there needs to be more of that balance because it is important.

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