“But it’s impossible to put a dollar value on a nimble, adaptable intellect, which isn’t the fruit of any specific course of study and may be the best tool for an economy and a job market that change unpredictably.”
Higher education is positioned within a time period of an individual’s life when exploration is a necessity. Higher education encourages adventure and discovery. Even though society thinks of a college education as specific, it teaches young adults much more than what is printed on their degree. This idea/quote speaks to me because it’s true! As an open major, I may not be learning specific techniques or processes but I am acquiring a variety of work skills that can be applied to any profession. Society needs to take notice of how it is viewing higher education. Instead of using a lens that is based on dollar signs, government officials and citizens need to appreciate the positive long term effects of higher education.
Within the years of higher education, character is formed. According to George Kuh and Paul Umbach in College and Character: Insights from the National Survey of Student Engagement, character holds morals, values, beliefs, and personality. This combination of education and character is what allows the future leaders of society to become successful within our constantly changing job market. As Paul Corrigan states in Preparing Students For What We Can’t Prepare Them For, the top ten in demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004. Without the skills developed in later years of education, would individuals of had the necessary skills to fulfill these job occupations? Is this a trend that will continue in the future? In general, higher education is simply preparing students for the unknown future.
In reference to the author’s specific example, King Lear, not all students find Shakespeare intriguing, memorable, or inspiring. However, the lessons students learn and the challenges they overcome continue to strengthen certain skills, such as work ethic. In life, individuals will be faced with tasks or responsibilities that they may not have been properly prepared for. However, they will be capable of completing these tasks with an experienced skill set from higher education. Personally, this is how I felt while reading Shakespeare’s King Lear. Did I have an emotional revelation with text while reading King Lear? Absolutely not, but the takeaways of the experience were much greater than the temporary discomfort I had while attempting to decipher King Lear. These takeaways include: learning how to overcome language barriers, interpret information from a different cultural era, analyze intertwining plot lines, communicate with others to understand deeper meanings, etc. Thanks to College’s Priceless Value by Frank Bruni I have changed my perspective on Shakespeare’s King Lear. Now, I understand that I am becoming a more experienced individual with both an education and character.
Discussion Questions: How will society encourage students to pursue higher education as the prices continue to rise? Will politicians such as Gov. Walker ever view higher education from a non-economic perspective?