What is college for?

A mom’s advice to her daughter

You will be graduating high school soon and will be taking the last of your college entrance tests (CETs) tomorrow, at my alma mater, no less. While I admire your dedication in preparing yourself for your CETs (and I have joked often enough that I will not finance your education if you do not study at UP), I reflected on why a college becoming a college grad is important.

In a 2014 Pew Research survey of American college grads, results 74% said that their education was very useful in helping them grow intellectually; 69% said that college education was useful in helping them grow and mature as a person; and 55% said that it was useful in helping them prepare for a job or career.

Beyond these numbers, what is college for, especially in this day and age where the information on almost any topic can be accessed with a few taps or mouse clicks?

It teaches not just information, but how to get information.

While textbooks and handouts will still comprise bulk of your lessons, you will need to supplement these with your own research. You will need to pore over books in the library or take advantage of Google. More importantly, with the academe’s discipline for citing sources and references, you will learn how to discern credible information from what we today call “fake news.”

It will help you develop your own point of view and, hopefully, respect those of others.

I am glad that you have, on your own, taken up the cause of feminism and have developed your own opinions about it as well as other social issues. In college, you can expect to meet people who will have similar and differing views and backgrounds. You will need to learn how to strengthen and defend your point of view while still making allowances for the validity of other people’s opinions.

It will teach you that you will not always have things your way.

There will be times when your work will not meet your professors’ standards. There will be times when you would need to line up for hours for the pre-req class you need. There will be times when you would have to rush from one building to another to make it to class on time. These experiences will teach you be adaptable, even to unfavorable situations.

However, learning does not end with your college graduation.

You will continue to encounter learning opportunities long after you have left the halls of whichever institution in which you chose to spend your college years. Whether they come in the form of workplace norms you will need to adopt, mentoring that well-meaning co-workers will impart to you, or new experiences that you will need to discover for yourself, learning opportunities will abound. I hope you will be able to spot and take full advantage of them.

Good luck on your test tomorrow and know that I’m already proud of you.

This article was first published in thelearneratlarge.wordpress.com

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