About the Colony

The value of a college education

I’ve heard the question asked recently about whether it is worth it to get a college education. Pundits in print and on TV have offered that there are many successful men and women who never went to college, or at least who didn’t get a degree.

I read a news story just last week about the number of college grads working outside their field; English majors waiting tables or math majors serving as clerks at convenience stores.

I remember a counselor at Cal Poly 50 years ago who told college students who were having trouble picking a major, “Just get a degree in anything, you’ll get your education later.”

In my own field of journalism, I’ve had reporters with a degree in journalism unable to find or write a news story while at times a biology major was my best reporter. I’ve encountered non-college workers with amazing skills while some with degrees piled on degrees could only sit and make lists.

Individual talents and personality always drive success in the real world.

The cost of getting a college degree these days is obscene; it is a financial hardship on students and parents far too huge.

But, to me, a college education is priceless.

I will always come down in favor of going to college.

I think a college education produces better citizens.

Regardless of your field of study, obtaining a college degree exposes a person to literature, art, music, philosophy, science and math. The English major must take so many units of science and the chemistry major has to suffer through a class in English literature, drama and poetry.

Most everyone spends some time in a basic psychology class.

My brother and I were the first of our generation of cousins to go to college. Others have followed.

In my case, I was encouraged to go to college by a high school teacher, not my parents. They would have been just as pleased with me if I had chosen to go into the poultry business.

I could still have gone into the chicken business after getting a degree. An enlightened poultry husbandman raises happier chickens that lay more eggs.Or it provides him with the means to express all the angst garnered from those youthful chicken experiences in a column such as this one.

Seriously, never, never discount the value of a college education, whether it be a two-year or four-year one.

It is good for the individual, and it is certainly good for the nation.

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