18 pages • 36 minutes readMatthew L. Sanders
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“The primary purpose of college isn't learning a specific set of professional skills; the primary purpose of college is to become a learner.”
How best to become a learner is a major focus of this essay. This often-repeated line reminds the reader that the focus of college is not job training, rather it is to imbue the students with a set of “soft skills,” such as critical and creative thinking. These skills are far more flexible and set the foundation for productive members of society.
“You are not in college to become an employee.”
This quote goes hand-in-hand with the above one, reinforcing the fact that education and work are not synonyms. College is not job training or even remotely similar to a technical school for advanced jobs; it’s a resource for becoming an adept learner.
“The words and stories you use to describe and make sense of college will either orient you toward taking advantage of your opportunities or they will work against you by obscuring the most important outcomes of higher education.”
An important theme in the essay is the power and importance of positive affirmation. The way one views and discusses education has a direct impact on how one goes about obtaining an education.