College degrees offer more than a job

Staff Editorial

We think it is pretty safe to say that college students want a job after they graduate. The Daily Eastern News editorial board does not anticipate many angry emails disputing this fact in our inboxes tomorrow.

It is also pretty safe to say that in this day and age, going to a 4-year university is almost a necessity. According to USA Today, college graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than those who only graduated high school in 2015.  While there are many ways to earn a respectable living and contribute to society without a college degree, we imagine that students and others reading this editorial chose to further their education with a certain career in mind. This career choice, in turn, dictates what major they choose and then what classes they take.

However, your college experience is about more than just getting a career. While the importance of being prepared and thinking about your future cannot be overstated, going to Eastern or any university is more than just a way to get a good job. It is about learning everything you can while you are still going to school, from people who are oftentimes experts in their field. It is a chance not many get, and unless you are going to graduate school, a chance you might not get again.

However, some people do not see it like that. As one panelist pointed out at a forum about threats to higher education, some students are going to see higher education more as a product. This is an unfortunate truth in society: that higher education is only seen as valuable if you can get some monetary gain out of it. But what about the connections you make in classes, with professors and other students? What about the facts you might learn in a general education course that stick with you your entire life, even if this class isn’t necessarily for your major? What about all the other classes you take that might not get you the job, but will teach you to think critically, and empathize with your fellow human beings? What about the fact that students, alumni, faculty and staff members of higher education institutions regularly make a difference in their community?

Though college can help students when it comes to getting a career, there is so much more to it than that. We need to start thinking of college as more than merely a means to an end, and really invest in the time and what we can gain from being at a university while we are there.