Millions of adolescents and even people at 25 or 30 around the world make a decision to go to university. In doing so, they expect a number of positive outcomes. In my personal experience, these positives were plenty. In the first place, I gained an improved understanding of the profession I am about to enter and can make a more informed decision of what exactly I want to be. No less important is the joy of meeting lots of new interesting people at college and making new friends. I also think that university studies introduced me to a variety of foreign cultures and historic events that I could have missed otherwise.
Undoubtedly, the most valued effects of education is the competitive edge it gives one aspiring to a professional career. Most prestigious jobs are closed to those without a college degree; on the contrary, a degree received at an elite college will open many doors. The university also prepares an individual for a successful career, giving a background in theory and practice.
College experience is also of great value for personal social development with plenty of opportunities to broaden one’s social circle. Graham Spanier (2002), President of PennState University, said that “a college campus is one of the few places in our society where young people of vastly different backgrounds, viewpoints and personal characteristics come together”. This gives youngsters plenty of opportunities to meet people with different life experience and make connections outside their traditional sphere. Improved social skills is yet another positive effect of university education.
The value of education is not limited to workplace experience. Particularly in the case of universities with their well-rounded programs containing a mix of core courses and specialized subjects, students can enhance their cultural background. This will not in itself make their life experience happier, but it can make their lives more complex and varied. With a thorough knowledge of world culture, there is much more one can learn from the observation of a theatre performance, watching a movie, going sightseeing, or listening to music. Andrew Abbott (2003) in his welcoming speech to University of Chicago students noted that the experience from looking at a painting is “much richer when you know the many traditions of imagining the visual world, … when your immediate knowledge of the painting’s social and cultural context makes you literally see dozens of things that aren’t there if you don’t know those context”. He concludes therefore that education “expands the range of your experience, temporally and spatially” (Abbott, 2003).
Thus, going to university leads to a number of consequences for youngsters who make this choice. They develop understanding of their chosen profession, and in many cases education helps make or finalize this choice. A university experience also produces the effect of improving social skills and increasing cross-cultural competence, especially for those working and living in diverse environments. Last but not least, going to university helps a person develop world outlook, which results in a better understanding of cultural achievements. Summing up all these consequences, it is possible to conclude that university has a highly positive effect on the development of personality.
Abbott, Andrew. “The Zen of Education”. The University of Chicago Magazine (October 2003). http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0310/features/zen.shtml (accessed August 17, 2006)
Spanier, Graham. “Education in a Diverse World: Annual Lycoming County Brotherhood Banquet”. (April 29, 2002). http://magazine.uchicago.edu/0310/features/zen.shtml (accessed August 17, 2006)
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