I’m about to graduate college wondering what the hell I’ve been doing in college for the past few years? What could I have possibly learned at this institution that is worth so much of my parents’ savings? I cannot point to a tangible body of facts, figures, or specific examples that I have acquired. Did the dean of admissions steal my parents’ money?
The answer depends on what you value. While I value the practical applications of a product (knowledge?), others enjoy the less tangible aspects of a good. Status. Revelry. Youth. My parents have given me all of those with higher education, and I have a feeling that these compose the benefits of an institution’ s higher price tag.
Despite my general suspicion of higher education: the glut of B.A.s in the workforce, the ever mounting student debt young professionals face, and the deceitful efforts of those who seek to tie the notion of higher salaries to higher education, I believe that higher education is worth the expense. My years of a liberal arts education have taught me to literally think liberally, examining every assumption and honing solid beliefs about the world and the way that it behaves. The Liberal Arts have also given me enough confidence in my critical thinking, problem solving, and time management to act toward improving the world that I have viewed with a critical eye from my perch atop the Ivory Tower.
Is that what we pay for? Or is it status, revelry, and youth?