It’s been 365 days since I graduated from college. What do I have to show for it?
I have a piece of paper that says I have a Bachelor’s Degree.
I have student loans to pay for every month.
I don’t have a fancy job to brag about. But I do like my job.
I have a mind that is jam-packed with four years of knowledge about everything from Chemistry to the recurring motifs in the work of Hemingway (that’s what a Liberal Arts school will do to you).
I have an awareness of the world around me. I know about the desperate need for life-giving water wells across Africa, about the devastating monstrosity that is human trafficking, and about our responsibility for taking care of this earth that we live in. You can’t live the same way after you learn about these things.
I have character that has been shaped by four years of life experience in a diverse and vibrant community. I can’t turn a blind eye to injustice anymore. I stand up for the right of all people to live their lives in freedom and peace, regardless of gender. I show compassion to people who are hurting. I care deeply, I live strongly, and I keep my spirit calm.
I have unforgettable memories from spending four years with close friends. Late nights in the dorms, library dates, and meaningful coffee shop conversations. Faces, adventures, smiles, and kind eyes– memories that will never leave.
So everyone asks this question: Was college worth it?
To be honest, I have struggled with this question. I’ve been living in the adult world for a year now, paying bills and going to work 40+ hours a week and fighting the monotony. Has my college education made an impact on how I navigate this world? Was all of the money, homework, and headache worth it? Do the benefits outweigh the cost?
The answer is yes.
My college experience has enabled me to live in the real world while not falling victim to it. It has enabled me to thrive, to set myself apart from the machine of the working world. There is more to life than going to work, making money, and paying our bills. There is always something to learn, to try to see differently, or to explore. Life is vast and grand, if you let it be. Yes, college is expensive. And no, I don’t currently have a job in my field of study. But at the end of the day, my college education shaped me into a better person than I would have been without it. It’s worth it. And I’m thankful for it.