Why You Should Study In College
In case the link goes away, as sometimes happens with the WSJ, the essay references studies cited in a recent book, Academically Adrift, the gist of which is that college students aren’t studying or learning very much.
Other studies are out there too. A CIRP survey said that 32 percent of college freshmen study fewer than six hours per week. For more factoids, check out this eye-opening article, What Happened to Studying. (It suggests that today’s students just don’t know how to study.)
Leaving us to wonder why? Why is the rise of college education associated with the fall of learning?
Here’s one idea. The college degree has become a product, to be marketed and sold at the highest price the market will bear. Schools sell their product the way McDonald’s sells Big Macs, by appealing to our sense of greed (“you have to have a college degree to get a well-paying job!”). Also to our craving for comfort and entertainment: Colleges compete for students in ways that have nothing to do with scholarship, offering climbing walls, gourmet food in the cafeterias, free laundry services, etc. Higher education has become just another consumer item.
Where is the focus on learning?
Worse (because good food in cafeterias can hardly be called a bad thing), professors are demanding less reading and writing and studying from students. Do they want to be popular? Do they dread being criticized on some rate-your-professor website? Have they realized that asking less of students means less work for them?
Also, it doesn’t help that students have far more distractions nowadays–Facebook, Twitter, constant cellphone/text/email interruptions, etc., etc. Young people just wanna have fun.
Finally, dare Working Girl suggest that many young adults nowadays are less independent, less prepared for adversity, less able to cope on their own than they should be? One shudders to even suggest it. Yet evidence exists that some popular parenting practices (i.e., “hovering”) are having the effect of making kids more fragile and less resilient (“A Nation of Wimps“).
So, here’s a thought. Question the conventional wisdom. Think first before going two hundred thousand dollars in debt for a law degree that may or may not lead to a high-paying job as an attorney.
And remember that we as individual people are not statistics. We don’t have to fall prey to trends. We can buck them. All we have to do is think things through. Use a little common sense. Be brave. Be daring. Discipline, self-motivation, and resourcefulness are qualities that need to be cultivated and worked at, all our lives long. It has never been easy to strive and toil and sacrifice the amusement of today for the achievement of tomorrow.
If no one taught you this when you were young, you can teach yourself now.