Thursday, November 29, 2012


                                              photo credit: SonOfJordan via photopin cc
          In the short period of time I spent taking English 101 I have learned more about writing than I ever expected to. I assumed, like most freshmen do, that I would write several really long papers about subjects that didn`t matter to me and after they were graded they would look like a homicide crime scene. This class has been different than anything I ever expected. First of all, I learned what a blog was and how to create and publish my own which I thought was very cool from the beginning. Then I learned how to write for a much broader audience than I ever had before. One of the most important things to me was that I truly learned things about a subject that I had never given any thought before and I was able to give my own opinions instead of everyone else`s. It made me feel like what I was doing had a real meaning and was more than just an assignment. 
          In my post, College: Good or Bad , I discussed whether or not college was really all that everyone had promised. I was able to share many different viewpoints from a variety of sources and along with my own opinion. I feel I had a good mix of voices and that it gave the readers a thorough knowledge base about my topic. I also learned how to choose an image that not only added to the post but caught the reader`s attention and cite it properly. One of my favorite sentences from this post was, "There is no downside to college as long as you don`t miss out on it because you`re too busy rushing toward the end of it." I believe this statement summed up my thoughts really well and was a really good end to my post.
                                  photo credit: mezone via photopin cc                                           
          My absolute favorite blog post of the semester was,"I Don`t Follow, I Lead"! This is the post where I really found my voice. I had a very strong opinion about my topic and I feel like everyone who read it could tell how much I cared. While I was planning this post was when I realized exactly why I was here even though the odds are against me. 
"My goal, and I`m sure some of yours too, is to be a part of that future. I am getting an education, not so I can sit on the sidelines and wait until the game is won, but so that four years from now I can hit the ground running and be a player in this new world that is developing around us. I`m not just going to be a part of the future, I`m going to build it. That`s why I am in college, so I can have a foundation for my dreams. So my point to all of you is this: no, not everyone has a happy ending, but you can be that one in a million."
                                              photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc                                           This is one post that I am very proud to let anyone read because I feel that it was my absolute best.
          The last post I would like to discuss is,"Is College a Scam?" This was my revision post and I am very happy I chose this one. The first time I attempted to write about this topic I got very lost. The last half of it really didn`t even have anything to do with the topic. I did a very good job of going back and making my revision much more focused even though I used many of the same sources. I also discovered the topic of my capstone project in this post.
"Colleges don`t teach anything based on trial and error. There is only one right answer and one chance to get it. College students need hands on learning so they can see how the things they learn apply to real life. Colleges have their downfalls but they are a vital part of society, they just need to be reworked in order to keep up with the needs of their students."          
          Overall I feel my writing has developed a lot over the course of the semester and I am very happy that I chose the class that did. I don`t think my experience with English 101 would have been the same if I had been in any other. I am much more confident in my ability to write for an audience and really express my own thoughts. This class has proved to be more beneficial than I ever could have imagined.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is College a Scam? (Why Do They Want Us To Go To College? revision)

          After doing more reading and thinking about the topic "Is College (Good) Enough?" I realized that I needed to redirect my questions from "Why Do They Want Us To Go To College?". My new questions are, does college teach us what we need to know? Who does college really benefit? And, is college good enough for everyone.

          So, does college teach us what we need to know? John Coleman doesn`t think so. He points out the bad habits that a learning environment like college plants inside even the most brilliant of minds. No matter how motivated or intelligent a new college grad is, they come out not fully prepared for a work environment. They look out for only themselves, are too perfection oriented, fear failure, and don`t understand true leadership. On the other side of that argument is Andrew Rotherham who explains that "...without a college degree, only 14 percent of Americans from the bottom fifth of parental income reach the top two fifths. But if they complete college, 41 percent of this same group can then expect to make it to the top two fifths." He then goes on to say that, "Children from low income families gain more by going to college than children of the wealthy lose by not going." I personally don`t believe that today`s colleges are teaching us what and how they should. We should be learning to treat our classmates as coworkers trying to achieve the same goal rather than being in constant contest with them and there should be more hands on learning so that we will know how to apply the ideas the courses are teaching us. At the same time I don`t believe that a college will ever be able to replace true experience.

          Who does college really benefit? This is a question that many people are asking now. They see tuition prices skyrocketing while the quality of education you receive at a university seems to be waning as the number of young adults attending college is at an all time high. A`s are now awarded to all average students and a college degree will be given to anyone who is willing to pay their tuition for at least 4 years. So what good does it really do you to have a piece of paper just like everyone else and nothing else to show for your time and money spent to get it. Noam Chomsky refers to this as a "vile maxim".  He points out that education is much cheaper in many other countries whether they are rich or poor and that the excuses made for the drastic rise in tuition rates are insufficient. He also tells about how many colleges are cutting programs in engineering, computer science, and nursing even though these are some of the few fields that are actually looking for new workers in this economy. I have also read many articles and blogs where tuition prices are being compared to the recently burst housing market bubble. According to Megan McArdle, "The average price of all goods and services has risen about 50 percent. But the price of a college eduction has nearly doubled in that time." So are the people in control of these universities really out there to educate people and add to society, or are they scamming us out of our money with useless degrees and nothing to show for our  effort? I don`t know but Rotherham points out that "...only 40 percent of Americans felt that colleges provided an 'excellent' or 'good' value for the money. At the same time, 86 percent of college graduates still felt the investment was a good one for them."

                               photo credit: Debbie Koenigs (probably outside) via photopin cc                           

          Is college good enough for everyone? The short answer is, no. Some people just don`t need college to achieve their goals. Some people are born with a passion or ability to do something that doesn`t involve a formal education. Others don`t get enough out of college to jump straight into the job market no matter how long they`ve studied a text book or how many tests they`ve taken. Then there are those who get exactly what they need out of their education. Then they can take their diploma and the basic skills they have learned and use that as a foundation to build a career on. Not everyone should go to college and I believe that less people should begin college just because they don`t know what else to do. College is not for partying, or escaping your parents, or "discovering yourself". It`s for getting an education so you can move on with your life. You shouldn`t just go through the motions of college without really knowing what you`re doing and what your goals are. According to The Case Against College Education, "40% of kids who enroll in college don`t get a degree within six years." Another factor to look at is how much the reward will outweigh the investment. According to Donald Marron in McArdle`s article, "If you`re in a position to be able to pay for education, it`s a bargain."

          So is college good enough? In some ways yes, it provides you with connections you may not be able to make anywhere else, it gives you a foundation of knowledge that you can continue to build on, and even though a degree is just a piece of paper in many career fields it`s the only option. On the other hand colleges don`t produce good employees. They have to be given a manual to know what to do and they lack the ability to turn what they know into something functional. Colleges don`t teach anything based on trial and error. There is only one right answer and one chance to get it. College students need hands on learning so they can see how the things they learn apply to real life. Colleges have their downfalls but they are a vital part of society, they just need to be reworked in order to keep up with the needs of their students.