Is College “Worth It?”

Yeah that sounds like a prison term and that’s exactly what it will turn into if you just sit there for 4 (or 5 or 6 or 7 these days) years until college is over. But others may have caught on and realize they have more opportunities with an education than without. This is not exclusive to job advancement. It has to do with your walk through life. College affords a young person the opportunity to try things out, to see what fits, to make mistakes and reinvent themselves. It is a time of discovery and self-actualization. Personally I think “going away” to college is very important too. Although harder and harder to afford, that break from home is a real test of maturity. I recall my first dormitory was loaded to the gills with kids stuffed into rooms and even study halls that September. I mentioned to one of the floor counselors that it looked like overcrowding. He said, “Wait a month or two.” Sure enough all the homesick people, the party-too-hard people, the I-can’t-be responsible-for-myself people were all heading home by Thanksgiving. They weeded themselves out and provided the first measure of their adulthood. “NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME.”

Then there were the people who just went to class, hurried back to the dorm, turned on the TV, ate at the same time every day and wrapped it up in 4 years without ever meeting anyone, trying anything new, learning about other people. Should have stayed home and got an online degree. Their future was already being experienced. Nothing wrong with it but the implications were huge. I mean college is the absolute litmus test for the future. What kind of person will I become? Likely a version of the one I am learning I am now; away from mom and dad and teachers that say, “Don’t forget – there’s a test tomorrow.”

There are other factors. The technology of today is changing by the hour. Do you think you can get away with not learning how to use some of these tools in the next few decades? A college education teaches you how to learn, how to break large concepts down into smaller ones and achieve results.

Children are learning things today that college kids were learning 15 years ago. How far ahead of you do you want your children to be? Sure they will motor right past you as they learn the newest gadgets of this modern time, but don’t you think you’d like to have a basic grip on some of this before they just talk around you because you just “don’t get it?” And please understand I am not saying to put in time for a college degree just so your kids and peers don’t get a leg up on you it is merely this. There was a time when a man with an education stood for something. He had studied and achieved something unique that he would soon be sharing with the world. Just like the kids in the neighborhood would ask Billy’s dad, the mechanic, to fix their bike, kids in my neighborhood asked Mr. Livengood, the teacher, about history, Mr. Theibolt, the naturalist, about birds and squirrels and Mrs. C, from the conservatory, about music. They had studied. They had learned and they had skills that people recognized.

No college degree will ever replace the need for common sense or clear thinking, but there is honor to mastering any skill and for those who cannot craft steel, build homes or chase the bad guys, an education helps a man/woman find their place and legitimize their lives.

Yeah, no doubt, it’s worth it.

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at

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2 comments on “Is College “Worth It?”

  1. Well thought out article Ron. I have been fortunate that my 3 children have attended state universities, been active on campus and in the classroom, graduated from college with a higher GPA than they had in HS, and are well rounded young adults who add positively to the work environment and community. The advanced education opportunity, socially and academically, has assisted these 3 as they “chart their course”. My wife and I are especially pleased that all 3 graduated with honors and without school debt, a credit to their focus, work ethic, and common sense!

  2. Can you please send me the rest of this article? I am a subscriber, but for some reason it’s not letting read it.

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