As we sat there in one of the mismatched booths in the only mom-and-pop diner in town, we debated whether the tone-deaf host was planning on belting Cher’s greatest hits — over the radio that was playing different music, no less — through our entire dining experience.
Then an unexpected declaration redirected the conversation.
“I think I’m going to go to college,” our nearly 14-year-old said with the sheepish, insecure grin of someone admitting to something a little embarrassing.
Given how often his dad — who, mind you, has a college degree of his own — refers to college with words like “pointless” and “obsolete,” I wasn’t expecting this teen who so passionately hates the eighth grade to kick off Sunday brunch by committing to four additional years of school — although I was thrilled to hear it.
Despite having been out of school for over a decade, I regularly discover new applications for not only my college degree but my entire college experience.
I can see how projects I completed while in college prepared me for life as a professional. Even something as seemingly simple as learning how to extract data from a primary source so that data can be structured into a compelling argument has been invaluable.
I can’t help but be a little unsettled by some of the conversations I’ve heard, even in my own home. Is it only because I’m a graduate that I see this declaration to attend college as objectively positive?
While publications insisting that you no longer need a college degree to “land a great job³” are technically correct, some have interpreted this message as meaning that college no longer has value. But a college education has immense value, even beyond majors and minors to consider the college experience as a whole.
Instead of throwing out the baby with the bath water, perhaps we need a new strategy for higher education.