Why I Value a College Education

Jaclyn Rider / Waynesburg University »

Throughout high school, I simply thought that the function of college was to get a degree and go into the workforce. However, after my first year of college, this ideal drastically shifted. Now, to me, a college education serves as a medium into the real world. Throughout my time at Waynesburg University, I have learned about the value of both friendships and connections. 

I am not minimizing the relevance of a degree, moreover stating additional factors of a college education. As more and more jobs require comprehensive knowledge in the area of expertise, college is valuable in the creation of job security and increased prosperity in the future. On a personal note, I have always aspired to become a certified public accounting (CPA). However, without a college education, achieving this ambition would not be possible. This is the reason nearly everyone values a college education, because it jumpstarts your career. 

More Than a Degree

The basic textbook answer that you receive from every individual about a college is that it is solely for a degree. What most individuals don’t share is there is so much more to college than that. One of the biggest things, other than education, that I have valued the most in college is my friendships. I have created bonds with individuals at college that will last a lifetime. These companionships are the ones that will last the longest in my book. After living with these friends (who are probably going to see you at your worst) they are more likely to stay with you in the long run. The friends that I have created at Waynesburg are more like sisters to me than they are friends, which gives me the ease and ability to trust them.

A Strong Network

Ultimately, regardless of whether you are acquaintances or best friends with people in your college, they all could turn into valuable connections. From a professional standpoint, these individuals have seen your ethics and can be utilized as connections for future professional development. I have known so many upperclassmen that have gone into similar career fields and would be willing to share tips with me and be future contacts. Throughout this process you additionally develop a strong set of interpersonal skills that are needed in any career path.

Professors can also become some of your biggest assets when it comes to creating connections and stepping into your career path. I go to a college where the majority of the professors in my department have professional experience in the real world—not merely in academia. This is great because not only do they interject real-world experience in the classroom, but they also have many connections. I have had a specific professor tell me, “Come talk to me your senior year,” implying he would help provide connections for a job. From a future professional like myself, this provides so much value and confidence. 

The value of college isn’t solely based upon getting a degree, but also about building connections needed to prosper in the professional realm. Personally, I see the value of college as more than the piece of paper that you receive at the end. Instead, I see it as a place to foster growth and expand your connections. The key to success is not always about what you know, but is sometimes about who you know.