We always hear scholars talk about college as though it’s supposed to be a vehicle of learning and enlightenment. If you turn on your television and watch some of the ads regarding institutes of higher learning, it’s usually all about establishing a career, and career advancement. For me, college was simply the next step. It was the thing I was made to believe I needed to do upon graduating high school, if I was to have any hope of establishing a stable career and a fruitful future.
Many people believe that college is about training. You want to be an engineer; college will train you for that. Interested in going into business, college will make you a business person. Go to college, get your training, and get to work. From my perspective, this notion about college or institutes of higher learning is somewhat flawed
College will teach you something. There’s no doubt that within the core programs offered in many schools, the fundamentals associated are presented in the required curriculum; that being said, in this current day and age, knowing basics and fundamentals is just scratching the surface. I can’t tell you how many times I would hear in that first job after college, “that’s not how we do it here.” Weather it be software, processes, perceived interpretation of industry standards, whatever; consistency among like-kind businesses is becoming a practice of the past. Training for many organizations has now become a very pointed and unique undertaking. We’re living in a time where everybody is doing their own thing.
So what’s the purpose of getting a college degree? I’m inclined to believe that getting all the way through a college program is like passing some massive test. It’s like being presented with an obstacle course to complete. Finish the course, and you’ve proven that you’re capable of finishing the job, a characteristic that many employers seek out when attempting to find suitable employees. Finish the course with no mistakes, and you’ve proven that you have desirable skills to boot. It’s not really about the task at hand, but your aptitude and ability to deal with that task, or for that matter, any task that you may find yourself up against.
That’s not to say that college doesn’t have the potential to make you more knowledgeable, but intelligence and problem solving skills are key, and it’s my belief that they are the things that you’ll need to bring along with you for the ride.