College Degrees: Some Effort Required
In an article featured in the Washington Post, former Cornell University President Hunter Rawlings writes of the value of higher education. Through Rawlings’s 50+ years of experience in academia, he succinctly explains what makes a phenomenal college education: the effort students put forward and the decisions they make to get the most out of their education.
Higher education is not the sort of commodity we are used to, he writes, in that most of the work is done by the buyer as opposed to the product. The responsibility, therefore, of the higher educational institution is to provide environments in which students can explore and dream.
The article concludes in the following, powerful, manner:
“The ultimate value of college is the discovery that you can use your mind to make your own arguments and even your own contributions to knowledge, as do many students pursuing research in college. That too is a new sensation, and a very good one. Yes, it generally leads to higher career earnings. But it is the discovery itself that is life-changing.
To create what is, for most of us, that “new sensation,” you need a professor who provokes and a student who stops slumbering. It is the responsibility of colleges and universities to place students in environments that provide these opportunities. It is the responsibility of students to seize them. Genuine education is not a commodity, it is the awakening of a human being.”