ESSAY 2 "A UNIVERSITY EDUCATION CHANGES LIVES "
I. "Every bird has to leave its nest!"
If we want insight about human behavior it is often useful to take a look at nature. Let's take the life of birds as an example. Once a bird is old enough, it leaves the parents' comfortable nest and with it all the conveniences. Suddenly it has to survive on its own, changing the previous life dramatically.
Referring back to the human experience, leaving the security of the family home is also a life changing event whether you attend a university or not. However, I want to show in the following in what ways a university education changes lives.
II. First of all, there are all the supposed little things that come upon a person who moves from the family home to a dormitory or a flat-sharing community in another city or even in another country. All of a sudden you have the sole responsibility of cleaning or grocery shopping. No one does your laundry, prepares your meals or wipes the dust off of the bookshelves. Every one of those little things which was basically taken for granted in the previous life becomes important and more appreciated than before. Thus, even if it sounds trivial, but having to organize your own household changes your life considerably. This change is of essence not only in terms of a greater amount of responsibilities but also in values.
In close connection to the aforementioned examples stands the meaning of money. While living at home, one has probably never taken much interest in financial matters, like paying rent or additional costs such as bills for electricity because these matters have always been taken care of by the parents. But as you become responsible for keeping to your budget you change your attitude and, for instance, turn off the heating when you leave the house.
In summary, it can be said that even though these little things tend to be neglected in the discussion about maturation processes they nonetheless play a crucial role and change one's life.
However, getting a university education changes one's life in particular ways. First of all, it is the last stage of the classical concept of learning with features such as having to create your own schedule or meeting professors during their office hours in order to discuss an assignment that force you to be more proactive. Time management and motivation become more important issues compared to high school, for example, where you are presented with a fixed schedule and a controlled input of subject matters. The peculiarity of a university education in regard to life changing experiences or maturation processes lies in one's own responsibilities, i.e. setting the goal (graduation) and reaching it. You have to show a lot of self discipline because no one forces you to attend lectures during the semester. The examinations are usually at the end of the semester and until then you have to work on your own. A great deal of emphasis should be put on keeping up with the work and of not getting behind.
Second, it provides you with specialized knowledge that goes beyond the surface. The objective of a university education is not primarily to gain a quantitatively large amount of knowledge but rather to obtain a qualitative amount. Through the discussion of various topics in order to prepare term papers or oral presentations you go through an intense learning and thinking process. It is not only about accumulating a gigantic amount of factual knowledge but about making knowledge accessible to you, i.e. working scientifically or researching economically and efficiently.
Third, while at university you not only come in contact with a vast amount of specialized knowledge you also gain expertise in various practical techniques needed for the future — probably the most important skills sought by potential employers.
- Quote paper
- Florian König (Author), 2008, A University Education Changes Lives, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/137973
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