I assume that you, the reader, are in fact in college. If not, you at least had enough interest in our college to pick up its newspaper. Regardless, I’m sure we all begin to wonder from time to time if a college education is worth it?
Now I know how cynical a question like that can sound, and I’m sure many of us coming back from our summer fun can agree that it might just be the September blues, but let’s examine this for a moment.
What is the value of our liberal arts education?
Certainly, for some, it is the hope that they, can one day use their bachelor’s degree to enter the work force, yet it is a thin security blanket for many who are graduating into a poor economy.
While it is difficult to say how much our degrees are worth, a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers might give us a clue. English majors receive an average offer of $32,553, economics majors get $48,483, and starting wages for computer science graduates are slightly higher at $53,396.
When we argue for or against a degree in terms of money, the case is clear. However, if you are actually majoring in something like English, sociology or one of the many liberal arts degrees, we see that the money isn’t all it is cracked up to be.
But hope is not lost, for we liberal arts majors have one last blade of grass to cling to, one final moment in the sun before we graduate into a world set against us. We have the distinct and unique ability to think, and to think well.
“The ability to perceive or think differently is more important than the knowledge gained,” American physicist David Bohm once said.
Ask yourself this though. Do you have the motivation to excel after you graduate? A skilled electrician pretty much knows precisely what his salary will look like once he joins the work force. We on the other hand could earn half of what any skilled craftsman makes and be completely dissatisfied with what we are doing.
Or if we get creative and really put our minds where our passions lie, we can find that there are hundreds of doors for us to explore that only a liberal arts education could have made possible.
If this is true and the value of our degree isn’t worth a quarter of the value of our minds, should we not then be ravenously reading our texts and harassing our professors with questions?
Let us use this time wisely to stop and-dare I say it-think before our time is up and we find ourselves, well, unable to think.