It is always motivational and an exciting event to see students realizing their dreams by graduating from college. For some it is a life-long struggle while others make their way with ease. However, each comes hoping to achieve something in their lives and find new opportunities. To many, these opportunities come through education which further helps prepare them to understand the complex nature of working life in the Internet Age.
As the nation seeks to compete on a global level it is important to ensure that students are prepared to not only take careers but also advance within their relevant fields. One of the ways people can do this is to continue their education so that they can either update their skills or advance their knowledge on particular topics. Those who have not received a formal higher education may experience additional financial difficulties in life as they are pushed into a highly competitive and lower wage market.
Higher education is more than just making money. It is also part of gaining a wider understanding of the world in which we live. There is a balance between learning specific skills for quick application in the workplace and still having a broad enough education to adjust those skills when times change. It is the concept of specialist versus generalist wherein specialized skills have practical utility but may lose that utility when fields have fundamentally changed. Strong businesses often have a mix of specialists and generalists to encourage efficiency and adaptability.
Higher education also provides an opportunity to build the fundamental building blocks to higher order thinking. Each piece of information creates a framework for understanding the world. Certainly, one can gain that knowledge by simply having a library card and being an avid learner. They can also learn it through trial and error throughout their lives. However, the Socratic method of teaching affords an opportunity to have people challenge assumptions about those beliefs so that they can create more logical vantage points of life. College often affords the opportunity to find a guide to developing higher order critical thinking. What would the world be like without Nietzsche, Kant, Freud, Spinoza, Einstein, and other great thinkers? Perhaps society would be half of what it is today.
The inspirational speaker this year was a well known actor that helped to celebrate and create enthusiasm for student successes. LaVar Barton was involved in a number of important artistic endeavors such as playing Kunta Kinte in the 1977 ABC series roots as well as Lt. Commander Geordi la Forge in Star trek the Next Generation. He was the host in the PBS children’s program called Reading Rainbow. His work in Roots was one of the most important shows that helped people change the way they view each other.
When and if you are ready to go to college think about what you want to do, which schools offer the programs you desire, and make sure you are ready for the commitment. It may just change your life.
You may be interested in the graduation video below: