The last few weeks of the semester in colleges throughout America are the most decisive times in educational pursuit of many students. It is a period where many students decide to drop out of college.
Faced with impending exams and final paper deadlines, many students become overwhelmed and suddenly begin to question the necessity of a college education. A common conversation at this period, in student housing complexes and dormitories center around Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs and their overwhelming success despite being college dropouts.
What many students need at this trying period, then, is encouragement, a reminder of the indispensability of learning and why colleges exist.
For starters, the advancement of human society might not have been possible without the advent of formal institutions of learning. Among the earliest include Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum, where the earliest concepts of democracy, rule of law and ethics were debated.
The successful functioning of the human society even now still depends largely on institutions of learning such as colleges. College is where society identifies the potential of people and subsequently train them to maximize their talents for the betterment of society and themselves. One’s success in college is measured by the G.P.A and degrees, which is among the easier ways society identifies one’s productive potential and intellectual capacity.
The ancient Greek aphorism. “know thyself” is one of the highest goals any human can achieve, and for many, college is one of the places one can go to “know themselves.” College also sorts people by aptitudes. It helps one to identify their areas of specialty and interest. It separates the math type from the poetry type. Institutions of higher learning not only give people skills to understand themselves, it also puts people in contact with other selves and fosters empathy and tolerance of other people and views.
Humans ought to grow both biologically and psychologically. Education is about personal and intellectual growth, and college education provides this intellectual growth by teaching students how to think critically, reason analytically and communicate effectively.
There are certain conversations, certain ideas that can only be had in colleges. There are things we learn in colleges that we are not likely going to learn anywhere else. According to Louis Menand, “there is stuff that every adult ought to know and college is the best delivery system for getting that stuff into people’s heads.”
It is true that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were college drop-outs, but it is also true that they are two people among more than 6 billion in the world. Finishing college is a safer bet. It offers an easier guarantee to one’s chances of earning a living.
For many students, the end of a semester brings additional stress to lives already burdened by work and family responsibilities. It is easier and understandable for some to give up on their education in favor of their jobs and family ties. But while college education might be difficult, it is necessary for students to remember the all round benefits and importance of education