Why Go to University?

It’s an existentialist question – why am I here? On a more practical level – why am I here, taking a Bachelor of Arts degree at Red Deer College? Maybe you’re the type who just sort of fell into it and you’re going with the flow to see where it takes you. Or maybe you have specific goals and plans all lined up for the future: Short term! Long term! I came across an article called Why Go to University, which summarizes a book by Jeff Rybak called Whaunivc79771.gift’s Wrong with University, and How to Make it Work For You Anyway (ECW Press, 2007).

He claims that university is too costly, time-consuming, and important a step to just sort of get swept into without stopping and considering why you are here or what you will do with your degree when finished.

I’m not sure I agree entirely with him, although I’ll have to read the whole book before I pass final judgment. Obviously you don’t want to just drift along forever; obviously you want to take classes that interest you and have an idea of what to do when you’re done. However, do you need to know those things right away on coming out of highschool and stepping into college or university? I don’t think so. I think it’s a chance to explore a few options and begin to narrow them down. It’s also a great place to figure out what some of your future options are – you might never have known that “sociology” exists before you started at college, and certainly might not have known what a sociologist does after graduation.

So yes – don’t just spend a bunch of money and several years aimlessly drifting from discipline to discipline, eating dry cereal for dinner and writing papers on topics you care very little about. On the other hand, the last thing you should feel is that you have to have your future figured out from A-Z and know every single topic that interests you and what kind of profession is going to appeal to you the day you start at university. It’s a time to explore, grow, and narrow down gradually. By the time fourth year rolls around, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of why you came in the first place and where you might go next, as long as you weren’t hungover every minute of every single day of your college career. (Which is possible! But may make things fuzzy later on!)

Let me know if you think post-secondary means you should have plans and goals all lined up, or if you feel it’s a chance to figure out what those plans and goals might be.

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