Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

July 5, 2013

The practicality of a college education

Just how practical is a university education?

People love to tease professors for being absent-minded and a little out of touch. Legislators sometimes become more than a little upset that higher education is not more practical, but instead appears to reside in some ivory tower, separated from the real world.

Most of us in academe work on a campus with manicured lawns and lovely buildings. We work only ten months a year. And we spend our time on esoteric fields of study, such as quantum mechanics, metaphysics, and Marxist sociological theory. It seems to an outsider as an intellectual’s playground and not so much a serious enterprise for making contributions to ordinary life.

If you share these thoughts, you would not be alone. Furthermore, you are not far from wrong. Higher education is designed to be a place set apart, withdrawn from the hurly-burly of commerce and war and governing. Students are pulled aside for a period of years in order to exempt them from all that, so they can do something else.

What to busy parents and employers looks suspiciously like leisure is precisely that. You need leisure to acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities represented by a college degree. Just ask working adults trying to go back now to finish, who just have to shut the world aside to study and make the grade.

Let me give you an example. Ordinarily, you can communicate readily with your neighbors or customers or co-workers. So why is it once a student goes away to school, one of the first things they do is examine their vocabulary, looking at all the definitions and adding new jargon to the mix? Why do professors seem bent on complicating things?

The cute answer is that we do so because we can. We are not under any urgency to rush. We can take a giant step back to recognize the potential for confusion, as well as introduce new thoughts and ideas for which most folks have no words. The objective at the start is to complexify the mind, opening it up to possibilities and to intellectual puzzles that only the smartest people really have to solve.

Text Only
News
  • AT A GLANCE... Obituaries: Brenda Precious Ross McMillian, 67 Lawrence E. Schroeder, 94 Maryland Beth Beard, 89 Thank you! The Daily News thanks the following subscribers for their continued readership: Francis Wesseler-Greensburg John Wheatley-Greensburg decatur

    April 24, 2014

  • Early voting continues through May 5 About 100 Decatur County residents already have voted, and early voters have until noon May 5 to cast a ballot before primary election day. Election Day is May 6. Polls will be open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Until then, voters can cast absentee ballots at the

    April 24, 2014

  • Legion's Day for Children and Youth is Saturday GREENSBURG - The well-being of Decatur County children is the focus of a program at the Welsh-Crawley-Kramer American Legion Post this weekend. Set to run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, the Legion's Children and Youth Awareness Day will bring law e

    April 24, 2014

  • nws-gb042314-youth to yellowstone - pic Youth to Yellowstone trip to inspire teens GREENSBURG - In a couple short weeks, six local high school students will be chosen to be part of a group that will visit Yellowstone National Park this summer. Helming a project called "Youth to Yellowstone," the trip's organizers, many of whom are

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • nws-gb042414-ges dancing drum - pics1 GES program full of drumming, dancing, clapping and chanting GREENSBURG -- "Rhythms from around the World" echoed through the gymnasium at Greensburg Elementary School (GES) all day Wednesday, as rhythm-based educational duo Dancing Drum entertained students in three separate sessions. According to Dancing Dru

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Decatur County Events Calendar Local clubs, service groups, fraternal organizations and others are encouraged to send their Coming Events information to the Daily News at news@greensburgdailynews.com or Daily News, PO Box 106, Greensburg, IN 47240. April 24 7 p.m. - "Meet Your Can

    April 24, 2014

  • nws-gb042414-Relay Garage Sale logo Annual Relay for Life garage sale approaches GREENSBURG - Multiple teams from the Relay for Life will be holding a large garage sale at the Decatur County Fairgrounds on May 3 and 4. Each team will have many items for sale, which may include but is not limited to: Clothing of all sizes for chil

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cougar boys win Charger Invitational The South Decatur boys track and field team captured the Charger Invitational win Thursday afternoon at North Decatur. The North track and field program hosted South, Milan, Knightstown, Tri High and Waldron. The South boys scored 141 points, well ah

    April 23, 2014

  • Decatur County Events Calendar Local clubs, service groups, fraternal organizations and others are encouraged to send their Coming Events information to the Daily News at news@greensburgdailynews.com or Daily News, PO Box 106, Greensburg, IN 47240. April 24 1:30 to 3 p.m. - Croche

    April 23, 2014

  • AT A GLANCE... Obituaries: Lawrence E. Schroeder, 94 Edith May Aulbach, 99 Thank you! The Daily News thanks the following subscribers for their continued readership: Jerry Downey-Greensburg Ruth Hamilton-Greensburg decatur county events calendar Local clubs, se

    April 23, 2014