What would the true value of a bachelor’s degree hold for you? How would it serve you and add value to your life?
The immense value of the pursuit of a university degree was brought home to me on the very first day of my academic studies, by the simple act of a great teacher. My Economics professor had handed out a single sheet of paper to each new student. “Before you start my class,” he said, “consider this story.” The inspirational tale told on that roneoed piece of blue paper took a proper hold of my attention; adjusted my attitude toward learning completely; and informed my entire life course as a student.
It was the story of a Chinese gentleman who enrolled for a bachelor’s degree with the firm resolve to be a thorough, diligent student. This meant that he would endeavor to master every new idea or concept that presented itself in the course of his studies, returning to the actual curriculum only when he had done so. He also resolved never to study merely to pass examinations, but would enter them on the grounds of knowledge thus far accumulated. So, the story concluded, he managed to finally graduate after thirty three years of sustained study. Of course, needless to say, he knew his subjects well, in a complete way, and with great depth. He had become an educated man, rather than a mere graduate.
Now, we may not all have the time and resources to spend three decades at college. Life in general demands that we get done with studies as soon as possible, so that we are better qualified to take up our responsibilities as noble citizens, fulfilling our various callings and obligations.
It is important to realize though, that a bachelor’s degree is only the door to a vast new world: it exposes you to a culture of learning that could not readily be grasped in younger years; and most important of all, it introduces you to the general structure of man’s knowledge, as it is divided into the arts and sciences, so that you have at least a general idea where to find research resources when needed. You should not have to read every book in the library to find what you are looking for. Where to find what is a key that a degree imparts almost incidentally, but it has value for one’s entire life.
Well, the time of Roneo copy machines are long gone, and it has been twenty seven years since my graduation. But that memorable event at the start of my studies caused me to be a student for life. It has allowed me to work in fields that I never dreamed of, quite “unrelated” to my initial academic pursuits. I have built up a library of about a thousand books in the field of my greatest interest and passion. And, yet, I feel as if I have just begun: Internet access has opened vast new horizons for me. It excites me and consumes my days. It is my great new adventure of learning.
The day an educational institution confers academic honors upon graduation will find you not simply qualified for a potential career, or somewhat better prepared for this modern era of information technology-you will have entered through the front door into the hallway of the great house of learning that life is. And your life experience will have greater value because of your bachelor’s degree.