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Reflection on Dubois’ Opinion of Higher Education

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Reflection on DuBois’ Opinion of Higher Education

College is something that many people see as a definite way of knowing they will have a well-paying career over the course of their life. Students are typically brainwashed into believing that as long as they attend a college or university, they will have a significantly better life financially compared to those who chose to not attend. Many people have the ingrained thought in their minds that a degree is equivalent to being a valued member of society, but is that the reality of a college degree? W.E.B DuBois once stated, “The true college will ever have one goal—not to earn meat, but to know the end and aim of that life which meant nourishes.”

  By this, I believe DuBois was trying to make the point that education should be about learning how to expand a student’s understanding of the world around them, not just about learning a specific trade. If college focused on this, the reward of graduating would have a larger sense of meaning because of the newfound sense of “true” freedom from becoming more well-rounded in a better learning environment.  According to what I took from DuBois’ quote, a college degree should do much more than just prepare students to earn a living. College should prepare individuals to be able to satisfyingly live a life of meaning. Students should be able to leave college with a better knowledge of not just the things they hope to do in life, but a mixture of worldly ideas.

I whole-heartedly agree with DuBois’ stance on this. Without a common knowledge of things outside of someone’s interests, there is not an effective method in having a clear understanding of things when one is in the “real world” by themselves. Aside from learning more about their major, students should strive to figure out who they “really” are outside of the ideas and morals that have been given to them by their parents, friends, and peers. Instead of only focusing on the occupation students may or may not have after their time in college, maybe if they concentrated on discovering their passion and purpose, the rest would come easier. Unfortunately, college is looked at much differently than that. One reason, and probably the biggest, that people choose to attend college is because of the assumption that it provides more career opportunities as well as the chance for a higher salary than for those who choose to not attend. While this is true in some instances, it is not always the case. College degrees give a good reputation for individuals, but it does not mean they are the better job candidate when lined up next to someone who has a better job performance but little or no degree from college.

Twenty-year-old Dale J. Stephens reflected on higher education: “What you learn in college is generally the same skill set that you learn in a traditional school environment. You learn how to follow directions, meet deadlines, and memorize facts.” In a lot of situations, a student is not going to be as willing to learn something unless they actually wish to do so or are interested in it. Many classroom settings are identical in their ways of teaching students, but just as Delbanco’s book addressed, “Book learning alone might be got by lectures and reading; but it was only by studying and disputing, eating, and drinking, playing and praying as members of the same collegiate community, in close and constant association with each other and with their tutors, that the priceless gift of character could be impaired to young men.” Because of this, many students could experience less learning if they are constantly in the same typical learning environment, and I believe that DeBois’ quote backs this argument up

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