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Opinion

Liberal Arts education, college campus better prepares us for life

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May 8, 2014

I am sure people have heard other people comment on the usefulness of a college education. It costs a lot of money, a lot of classes do not have to do with your job and some classes do not teach you much. A teacher I know has commented that when they look back on their college experience they only use one or two things from it. That teacher believes a better teacher education would be to simply put a person who want to be a teacher in the classroom. They could just follow a teacher around to learn how real world teaching works.

Think on it for a minute. What would make a better teacher? A purely classroom setting with a lecture on the finer points of teaching or an in-class interaction with kids under the supervision of an experienced teacher? One setting would provide theatricals while the other would provide real world facts. You wouldn’t need to guess what teaching strategy works best for you and your students; you would know. You would have experience dealing with kids who misbehave or have special needs.

Now maybe I have you convinced and maybe I don’t. If I am uber convincing perhaps I have seniors thinking of burning up their diplomas. But don’t light them up yet, there is hope! (Though if you feel frustrated with that expensive piece of parchment while job hunting and loans looming, I recommend making a copy and burning in effigy.)

There is a reason we go to college, particularly a liberal arts university. One reason mentioned a lot is that it makes well-rounded individual. Although it is a frequently said, it is nevertheless a good reason. Honestly, do you want a country filled with people who only about their job matter? How dull would that be?

“How do you feel on that issue in the Middle East?” “Well since e=mc2 I believe…” “How about medical marijuana?” “The history of marijuana is an interesting one…” It would be awful. Continuing to receive a broad range of education helps us to relate to a broad range of topics. Common facts about the world would be lost if everyone only focused on job-related studies. An educated populace is generally more tolerant and less prone to mob mentality.

Another benefit of going to college is the non-school skills that you develop. Many of us had challenges learning how to live with another person in a confined area. We learn how to take responsibility for ourselves since we no longer have reminders from parents or siblings to make us get to bed on time, eat healthy, and do our homework. Our lives are determined by our own actions and we are forced to make sure we don’t stay us till 2 every night or only eat chicken and fries from Pete’s Creek. In my opinion, college dorm life is an excellent stop towards complete independence. We still have people around us, a meal plan, and some rules. It helps us to adjust to being on our own without actually being on our own.

It also is important to note that college is not a pure-lecture format. If you have been in the Agriculture Engineering Building, you will know they bring in farm equipment in to work on. Future teachers are required to have observation hours. Market Communication majors need an internship. The university does offer experience for students and also a knowledge base to work with this experiences. It is the best of both worlds.

Finally there are a large number of opportunities in going to college. Organizations and campus jobs can give you a professional edge that may not be available if you just went straight into the job market. In today’s up and down economy, we frankly need any advantage we can get. Developing skills beyond your field of choice can increase your hirability.

You never know what the future might bring, and by going to a liberal arts college, you will be prepared for whatever life throws your way.

Rachel Molitor is a student at UW-River Falls.

Comments

Matt on 09 May 2014: Proof-reading would have added a lot more credibility to your article.