If you want to be successful, work hard, be nice and be charming. The degree part means nothing unless you’re an engineer.
Those were the words said to me by popular radio host Alex Jones when I called into his show one morning to ask his opinion about college. What Alex said to me may be arguable but to me, they were words of truth.
What is college about? What does it truly teach?
These are interesting questions asked by an intelligent yet unmotivated college student. Indeed, I would consider myself intelligent, as we all should, but not in a way that gets the highest grades in college. When students are not motivated, they have no drive to do the work in front of them. Sure, laziness or procrastination can be getting in the way, but even that will not deter someone who loves what they do.
Therefore the question has to be asked, “What do we love to do?”
Well, the thing is, a majority of college students (and others) don’t really know what they want to do. Some have a visually stimulating idea: wife, nice car, cool house, two cars and three kids. That might work if we all knew our futures and how to plan for them accordingly. But most college students can’t predict their futures, let alone what tomorrow will bring, or even what what the present moment brings!
It’s quite strange to me how college doesn’t seem to teach us the more valuable things in life, like how to become a better person, or how to help others through good action and right service. College doesn’t even teach us about the benefit of social networking.
Our social skills and ability to network help get us jobs and kick start our careers, in the end. Networking with the right people is so important, yet even that is not emphasized! Those are things we have to learn on our own through experience. Ultimately, however, the fruit of life lies in our knowledge of self.
College students should know themselves before making any long-term plans.
Understand this: young people are forced to make long-term decisions about their lives at a young age. Starting in high school, we are drilled with questions from our family, peers and even ourselves about what we want to do and become when we get older. How can one possibly know what one wants at the ripe age of 18? Even in our 20’s and 30’s we haven’t evolved to the fullest extent of our being. Yet in high school we are asked to choose our next steps even though we don’t know anything about how to acquire self-knowledge and understanding.
Self-knowledge is out of focus because we are taught that education is power and that we must compete in order to succeed.
This mentality doesn’t encourage personal growth; this is more mental stimulation to turn us all into thinkers and take us out of our feeling and intuition. Intuitively, our heart wants to experience happiness, peace and unity. And it is well we should, for those qualities are what lead us to true success, wealth and prosperity.
We must not get fooled into following the well-paved road to success, yet we should harness the natural qualities that lie within us—then we will experience all that our heart desires. Why is this not emphasized when it comes to education?
Finding what we really want to do may not come from a college education; rather it will come from the understanding of self.
Let us all focus on personal development and what we want will follow. Unless, for a select few, the degree part did teach you about your innermost profound qualities that can get you anything you desire. In that case, life is yours so please show others how you got to that path!
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Apprentice Editor: Kathryn Rutz / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: elephant journal archives